A recently passed Assembly Bill has created a new office under Secretary of State: the Office of Elections Cybersecurity.
According to the bill, the office will work to “reduce the likelihood and severity of cyber incidents that could interfere with the security or integrity of elections in the state, and to monitor and counteract false or misleading information regarding the electoral process that is published online or on other platforms and that may suppress voter participation or cause confusion and disruption of the orderly and secure administration of elections.”
With Russian interference being a big issue in the previous election, Padilla is hoping to get the office on its feet ahead of the November midterms. Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies have begun working on a process for reporting and removing content that spreads disinformation.
Critics of the office are concerned that its goals are vague and that speech protected under the first amendment might be targeted. They also point to Padilla being a democrat, and to the concern that the office might censor speech based on political motivations.
So what will be the scope of this new office? What kind of information will it be targeting? We sit down with Secretary of State Alex Padilla and UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh to discuss.
Alex Padilla, Secretary of State of California