13 Items

A staff member in the Kweisi Mfume campaign uses gloves while holding a cell phone during an election night news conference at his campaign headquarters after Mfume, a Democrat, won Maryland’s 7th Congressional District special election, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Baltimore.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Report

The Election Influence Operations Playbook, Part 1

| September 2020

Influence Operations (IO), also known as Information Operations, are a series of warfare tactics historically used to collect information, influence, or disrupt the decision making of an adversary. IO strategies intentionally disseminate information to manipulate public opinion and/or influence behavior. IO can involve a number of tactics, including spreading false information intentionally. This is known as “disinformation.”   

Skilled influence operations often deliberately spread disinformation in highly public places like social media. This is done in the hope that people who have no connection to the operation will mistakenly share this disinformation. Inaccurate information spread in error without malicious intent is known as “misinformation.” 

This playbook explores mis- and disinformation incidents that specifically focus on elections operations and infrastructure. Election officials may not often see or know what the motivation is behind the incidents encountered or whether they are mis- or disinformation. Throughout these guides we refer to mis/disinformation incidents together, as the strategies for countering or responding to them are the same.  

Voters wait in a line outside Broad Ripple High School to vote in the Indiana primary in Indianapolis, Tuesday, June 2, 2020 after coronavirus concerns prompted officials to delay the primary from its original May 5 date.

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Report

The Election Influence Operations Playbook, Part 2

| September 2020

This section of the Playbook includes recommendations and materials focused on the response process. It will help election officials respond to election-related mis and disinformation incidents quickly and in a coordinated fashion. 

In this playbook, we refer to mis/disinformation throughout as one concept. Instances of both misinformation and disinformation in the elections process provide incorrect information to voters. Incorrect information can be conveyed intentionally or unintentionally. For election officials, any incorrect information, regardless of source or intention, presented to voters can pose a threat to elections, because it can undermine voters’ understanding of and trust in the election.

A child waits for her mother to finish voting in a polling booth at the Nativity School on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Analysis & Opinions - Financial Times

America vs. the Hackers: a Cyber-Security Bootcamp

    Author:
  • Hannah Kuchler
| Apr. 26, 2018

It is a war game with a twist. Instead of army officers, election officials are in charge. Instead of battling against an enemy armed with missiles, defences are choreographed against hackers hidden behind foreign computers. With the US midterm elections fast approaching, more than 160 election officials from across the country have just months to learn how to defend democracy.

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Building Cyber Defenses For U.S. Elections

| Spring 2018

Undaunted, a group of young civil servants is working directly with political operatives and state and local officials to fortify campaigns and elections against cyberattacks and information operations: Harvard Kennedy School students affiliated with the Belfer Center’s Defending Digital Democracy Project (D3P).

Voting machines in Miami Shores, Fla., Nov. 8, 2016.

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The State and Local Election Cybersecurity Playbook

| February 2018

This Playbook is intended for leaders at every level who play a role in running elections. While the future threats elections face are multifaceted, one principle stands clear: defending democracy depends on proactive leadership. This Playbook focuses on the U.S. experience, but it is also relevant to election officials around the world facing similar threats. We have designed it to identify risks and offer actionable solutions that will empower state and local election officials to protect democracy from those who seek to do it harm.

A view of the podiums during a news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House, Monday, April 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Election Cyber Incident Communications Coordination Guide

| February 2018

This Guide is primarily intended for use by the EI-GCC to coordinate multiple voices (and multiple facts) in an election cyber incident that crosses traditional jurisdictions. We are releasing the Guide publicly, because a range of officials may be interested in learning more about how state and local leaders can, and should, coordinate their communications in the event of this type of cyber incident. We hope this Guide becomes a starting point for the EI-GCC to establish its role as a central communications node in the event of an election cyber incident.

Microphones sit on a podium following Vice President Mike Pence’s speech at an event at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga., Friday, June 9, 2017.

AP Photo/David Goldman

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Election Cyber Incident Communications Plan Template

| February 2018

This Plan Template document is primarily intended for use by state and local election officials as a basis for developing their own communications response plans, which include best practices for use in an election cyber incident. We are releasing the Plan Template publicly, because election officials are among those best prepared and always looking for industry best practices, as well as practical checklists. This plan will aid in that effort.

The room in Bethesda, Md., is prepared Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, for state election officials from all 50 states to attend classified briefings being held to raise awareness of foreign meddling in state election systems. (Brian Murphy/Office of the Director of National Intelligence via AP)

Brian Murphy/Office of the Director of National Intelligence via AP

Analysis & Opinions - The Guardian

Encryption Keeps Us Safe. It Must Not be Compromised With ‘Backdoors’

| Feb. 12, 2018

When the stolen information was exploited to generate news coverage or concoct “fake news” – such as that Democratic operatives were running a sex ring out of a pizza parlour – we learned some hard lessons in why privacy really matters. I worry the current rhetoric around encryption is ignoring that lesson.

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Welcome, New Senior Fellows

The Belfer Center is pleased to welcome a number of high-ranking former officials who have joined the Center as Senior Fellows in the past few months. Each brings valuable experience and expertise in critical issues of concern to the Center that they share with students, faculty, and the larger community through their research, seminars, presentations, and various events.