Thursday, May 23, 2024

This is how the EU will prevent interference in the election

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On June 6-9, Europe will go to the polls for a new EU parliament. Photo: AP / NTB

Of NTB | 30.04.2024 06:04:05

Economy and business: Fake news and “deepfakes”, cyber attacks and disinformation.

This is taken very seriously by the EU Parliament just over 40 days before the EU elections take place on the 6th-9th. June. A total of 720 parliamentarians from the EU’s 27 member states will be elected.

– We know that there are different players out there. We also know that there is a big campaign going on to get people not to vote, says spokeswoman for the EU Parliament Delphine Colard to NTB.

Stories that the election is rigged. Stories about the ballot boxes being tampered with. Stories about polling stations being equipped with pens with disappearing ink.

This is what worries the most. Because when it comes to threats such as cyber attacks, the EU is well equipped.

– We feel very safe here. All authorities connected to the election have been working on this for years. But the second scenario, that someone spreads stories that make people doubt the system in order to dissuade them from voting, particularly through “deepfakes”, is more worrying, says Colard.

Deepfakes are a way of using artificial intelligence to alter video and audio material. Voices and faces look like familiar people, but are manipulated and can be difficult to detect.

In any case, the EU has its counter tactics ready. Among other things, information must be disseminated about how fake news is spread. In addition, an army of fact-checkers is ready to pick apart false facts.

– We must be at the forefront, says Collard.

On Monday, it became known that the EU will start an investigation of Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, following suspicions that the company is not stopping the spread of political advertising that has been manipulated by foreign actors.

The EU Parliament will also provide broad information about all the more than 450 decisions the EU Parliament has made in the past five years, and how they affect people’s everyday lives.

Now it’s about getting people to actually do it. If the polls are correct, the election could be the biggest in the EU’s history.

Now buses and trams in European cities will be wallpapered with election posters. Parliaments, town halls and historic buildings such as the Colosseum will be lit up in blue and yellow with the message “Use your vote”. Own film material has been produced, which will be broadcast on TV and cinemas.

On 23 May there will be a debate between the various leadership candidates.

On June 6, the first country, the Netherlands, goes to the polls. Ireland will follow on 7 June and Latvia, Malta, the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 8 June.

9 June will be the big election day. Then the citizens of the remaining 21 EU countries will vote.

In particular, what Colard refers to as “false narratives” circulates in social media and online:

It does not make matters easier that the latest scandal about how Russia allegedly paid several EU parliamentarians to spread Russian propaganda – the so-called “Russia-gate” – recently came to the surface.

370 million EU citizens are entitled to vote in the election, 26 million of them for the first time. In a recent poll by Eurobarometer, 72 percent say they intend to use their right to vote.

(© NTB)

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