back to article UK elections are unaffected by China's cyber-interference, says deputy PM

The UK's deputy prime minister, Oliver Dowden, says China has been unsuccessful in its attempts to undermine UK elections. It comes as the UK and US today formally called out China's aggression in cyberspace, pinning its state-sponsored attackers to incidents at the Electoral Commission in 2021 and attempts to target 43 …

  1. wolfetone Silver badge

    It's difficult to know if I'm watching an episode of The Thick of It, Black Mirror, or listening to Alan Partridge's show idea tape after Monkey Tennis when I read shit like this. Who knows, it might be an AI amalgamation of all three.

    Every election we've had in the last 14 years has had an undercurrent of Russian interference. Russia are hacking this. Russia are hacking that. Now it's China doing it? Have Russia gotten bored of us is that it?

    The absolute pig faced cheek of Cameron to say that China have tried to interfere with how democracy works in the UK when he sits in parliament as an unelected member of the house who doesn't have to stand in the commons and answer MPs directly. He can do what the fuck he likes, and doesn't have to sit there and undergo questions from actual elected MPs. His party too have gone out of their way to disenfranchise the electorate of the UK by not only demanding photo ID to exercise our right to vote, but have created a double standard in where an Oyster card is an acceptable form of ID for over 65's but not for those under that age. Why do all of this? Under the pretense of "voter fraud". There have been more cases of Tory politicians committing sexual offences than there have been of voter fraud in the last 20 years.

    And let us not forget how Cambridge Analytica were so influential in the run up to the Brexshit vote, where there has been zero investigations in to their manipulation of the democratic process and that's even before we get to the point of how we have known Russians of interest in positions of relative power who remain free to do what the hell they like.

    The bullshit elected MPs have subjected us all to, the total inability for the opposition to oppose them, are both feeding in to a narrative worse than apathy. That is leading us down a path where parties like Reform are going to get a foothold and they are going to get elected. That isn't the better solution at all, but that is the reaction this country will endure and that is the reaction is far more of a threat to the country on a whole than some mythical threat repeated threat from COUNTRY_NAME.

    1. m4r35n357 Bronze badge

      "We have always been at war with COUNTRY_NAME.”

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Are our enemies (Russia, North Korea) attempting to subvert our democracy to their own ends - absolutely

      Are "neutral" countries (China, India, etc.) attempting to subvert our democracy to their own ends - be a surprise if they aren't

      Are our "friends" (USA, Israel, etc.) attempting to subvert our democracy to their own ends - certainly

      Are we trying to subvert democracy in other countries to our own ends - more than likely

      Not sure how practical any measures are in the social media age, but probably the only way is to stop all donations or "expenses paid" trips for politicians and political candidates and hold social media to the same "neutrality principles" as traditional media in the election periods.

    3. Dr Fidget

      Just means that they haven't had their back-hander from China yet.

    4. Bonzo_red

      Cambridge Analytica

      Zero investigations? I would call the Information Commissioner's report an investigation even if it came to the conclusion they were not involved.

    5. martinusher Silver badge

      Its the old "Axis of Evil" business -- in fact I'm surprised that they haven't managed to roll Iran into there somewhere.

      It really is rather far fetched and I'd suggest that any threat to democracy is from a supine media that won't ask the obvious questions, its as if they reckon that its "More than their jobs' worth". You don't get to keep your job, get promoted etc. by going against editorial policy.

    6. egrep

      Both are Advanced Persistent Threats

      > Every election we've had in the last 14 years has had an undercurrent of Russian interference. Russia are hacking this. Russia are hacking that. Now it's China doing it? Have Russia gotten bored of us is that it?

      Both have been active for years, and are called Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) . The article is about APT31 aka Zirconium, funded by the government of China, which has been active since 2017.

      Here is 2020 Microsoft article about this group :

      "Zirconium, operating from China, has attempted to gain intelligence on organizations associated with the upcoming U.S. presidential election. We’ve detected thousands of attacks from Zirconium between March 2020 and September 2020 resulting in nearly 150 compromises. Its targets have included individuals in two categories.

      "First, the group is targeting people closely associated with U.S. presidential campaigns and candidates. For example, it appears to have indirectly and unsuccessfully targeted the Joe Biden for President campaign through non-campaign email accounts belonging to people affiliated with the campaign. The group has also targeted at least one prominent individual formerly associated with the Trump Administration.

      "Second, the group is targeting prominent individuals in the international affairs community, academics in international affairs from more than 15 universities, and accounts tied to 18 international affairs and policy organizations including the Atlantic Council and the Stimson Center."

      A news report on APT31/Zirconium does not imply that Russian or other APTs stopped activity.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Such bad actors

    The politicians AND the COUNTRY_NAME perps.

  3. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Pot, Kettle

    Given their reforms to the electoral system (boundary changes, voter ID rules that disproportionately affect younger voters, etc), I'd say that the Conservative & Unionist Party is a far bigger threat to democracy than the CCP.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    I'[m just waiting for the claims of...

    Ballot stuffing

    Machines transferring votes from candidate X to candidate Y

    Boxes of ballots going missing

    Drop boxes being set on fire.

    Oh wait... that's the USA.

    We still use paper ballots, manual counting and still get the results out before states like Arizona. Something does not compute.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: I'[m just waiting for the claims of...

      The machines that are used in many (US) states, the ones that were criticized in 2016, don't tabulate the vote. They just print ballot forms with the choices voters make filled out (and pre-checked for over/under votes etc.). Because we hold so many elections simultaneously in the US we end up with a lot of different ballot types, over 180 in our county alone. This was less important when most balloting was done in person at a specified polling place but with a lot of voting being done by mail now the polling places were centralized so it was just impossible to carry all the different forms needed.

      The forms are counted at a central location. They're actually photographed first ad any questionable forms -- illegible, damaged etc -- forms are pulled out and handed to verifiers. These are small groups of people who include representatives of all the candidates who, if the all agree, can copy damaged ballots so they can be counted. (The number of these rejects is statistically insignificant, but 'its the right thing'.)

      No one person is left in charge of ballots at any time so even if it was statistically feasible to stuff ballot boxes its actually impractical.

      Voter ID is handled by signature verification, BTW. Every mailed in ballot form and every in-person voter has their signature checked before their vote is counted or cast.

      So -- the conclusion is that if you're going to fiddle the election do it before the balloting, not after.....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'[m just waiting for the claims of...

        All well and good.

        That has not and will not stop Donald '30,000 lies during his term as POTUS' Trump from saying that the election is rigged even though zero votes have been cast.

        Watch out for Kari Lake and friends to try to mess up the AZ election.

        She'll file suit saying that it was rigged BEFORE the vote (as she did in 2022).

        All the rest of the world (apart from Russia, China and Norks) can hope is that the DJT stock has crashed to zero and he's a convicted Felon.

  5. DJV Silver badge

    UK elections are unaffected by China's cyber-interference, says deputy PM

    Well, that's...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK elections are unaffected by China's cyber-interference, says deputy PM

      Not quite up to Putin standards ( other dictators are available) but we all know who’s going to lose … Chinese interference or not

  6. Trigun

    China may well have done what is claimed (be surprised if they didn't), but that would simply put them on the same level as the elite establishment (which includes most Conservative and Labour politicians) with regards undermining faith in democracy in the UK. Both parties act in concert, ignoring the promises that they make and that has been the case in a very obvious way for at least 20 years. How can you have a democracy when both main parties look and sound the same? What a joke (and yes, I am remarkably black pilled with regards our politicians).

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Muppets wheeling out effectively brain dead puppets into future action just creates killing fields

    It is no wonder at all that AI in so many of its rapidly emerging and disruptively developed and divergent phorms is creating such an almighty fuss and dynamic buzz in concerned humans whenever the likes of a systems administration entertaining and taking instruction and listening to opinionated direction from politically subversive and easily corruptible Parliamentary type democracy leaderships/memberships is the apparent sum prime total of the fundamental base competition and opposition arraigned against it.

    Or is there a way beyond top secret weapon of mass destruction available to them for vital practical physical and virulent virtual defence which no one is yet to be permitted to know anything about?

    Methinks that be one of those forlorn hopes though that sore and deserved losers are always ready to cling to, but which simply prolongs their agony.

    1. MonkeyJuice

      Please don't upvote the LLM, when it hits the gold commentard badge thereg will probably cease publishing because what is the point anymore?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK deputy prime minister spouts cyberBS

    The only people attacking democracy is the Washington deepstate and its pet-poodle «Air Strip One»

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