Our Takes

Warsaw’s probable new government will face challenges reinforcing Polish democracy. But its recent electoral victory may pave a path for Poland’s return to liberal democratic norms and realignment with EU standards, Head of Europe Vassilis Ntousas and Research Assistant Krystyna Sikora write in Euractiv.

Indeed, Polish voters rebuffed an illiberal tide that is still present elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe, where democracy and support for Ukraine remain contested, GMF Senior Vice President Laura Thornton and Co-Managing Director David Salvo write for ASD.

News and Commentary

Chinese hackers target Canadian officials with online information campaign: Canada’s government said it uncovered a Chinese-linked “spamouflage” campaign—a tactic that uses both new and hijacked social media accounts to amplify disinformation or propaganda—targeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, government officials, and dozens of members of parliament. Co-Managing Director David Salvo said, “China has been increasing its malign influence operations in Canada over the past several years. This most recent ‘spamouflage’ information operation is slightly different in scope than most previous campaigns. China has usually targeted individual Canadian politicians perceived to be hostile to Beijing who were running for election, and much of their messaging was directed at the Chinese Canadian diaspora to influence voting behavior. This operation seems much broader, tearing down MPs from both major parties and even attacking them personally. In that regard, Beijing appears to have borrowed from the Russian playbook.”

High turnover of election workers could threaten US elections: Experts warn that the 2024 US presidential elections could suffer from chaos and confusion as a result of the high turnover of election workers, a problem that has plagued local election offices since 2020. Senior Fellow David Levine told the Dispatch, “During the 2022 general election in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, printing problems in the county’s ballot-on-demand system disrupted voting processes, consumed election officials’ precious time and energy on Election Day, and even temporarily stopped voting at a few polling locations. A subsequent report from the county’s district attorney tied these problems to ‘the constant turnover in supervisors and workers’ and a ‘lack of institutional knowledge’ in the election department, noting that the county’s acting elections director had been in her position for less than four months. Unfortunately, many voters see these kinds of problems, falsely, as evidence of rigged elections. Restoring confidence in the election process and avoiding similar future election administration problems is likely to hinge on Luzerne County and other jurisdictions’ ability to develop robust talent pipelines that can maintain a high level of election institutional knowledge regardless of their turnover rates.”

In Case You Missed It

  • The Biden administration proposed labeling a “crypto mixing” practice that anonymizes cryptocurrency transactions to crack down on illicit financing tactics used by Hamas.
  • AI-generated falsified information, including from chatbots like ChatGPT, could disrupt next year’s European Parliament elections and others, according to the EU’s top cybersecurity agency in their 2023 threat landscape report.
  • ChatGPT can write phishing emails that are almost as effective as human-written ones, according to an IBM report.
  • US intelligence found that Russian information campaigns spread doubt about election integrity in at least nine countries, including the United States, between 2020 and 2022.
  • Finland’s government blamed a Chinese ship for causing damage to a gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia, but did not say if they suspected the damage was purposeful or accidental.
  • Russian state energy company Gazprom announced that Hungary will make increased purchases of Russian oil this winter, a week after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing.

ASD in the News

The prospects for Joe Biden’s package of aid for allies. Senior Fellow Josh Rudolph quoted in The Economist

EU asks Meta, TikTok to account for their response to Israel-Hamas disinformation. Research Analyst Joseph Bodnar quoted in The Record

Capitalising on crisis: Russia, China and Iran use X to exploit Israel-Hamas information chaos. Hamilton 2.0 Dashboard quoted in Institute for Strategic Dialogue

Quote of the Week

“American support for Ukraine is broad and deep, and it will endure.”

—US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan wrote in Foreign Affairs on October 24.

The views expressed in GMF publications and commentary are the views of the author alone.