Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Digital attacks on democracy could grow stronger as the United States faces the COVID-19 pandemic during a presidential election year.
In addition to the cybersecurity threats surrounding vote casting and counting, disinformation campaigns could target voters who are tuned in to social media.
Defending democracy from those problems is the goal of a virtual workshop on Thursday, April 30, at 1:30 p.m., hosted by the University of South Carolina College of Arts and Sciences. The workshop is free and open to the public. Election officials, political campaign staff members, and students are especially encouraged to attend.
The workshop will cover cybersafety, crisis communications, misinformation and disinformation. It includes a thought leadership panel with South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson; Bruce Smalley, executive director of the S.C. Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Program; and Marci Andino, executive director of the South Carolina Election Commission.
1:30 p.m. - Opening Remarks by UofSC President Bob Caslen
1:40 p.m. Session One: Cybersafety
2:05 p.m. Session Two: Crisis Communications
2:30 p.m. Thought Leadership Panel
2:50 p.m. Session Three: Disinformation
The event is part of the University of Southern California Election Cybersecurity Initiative, which is conducting one workshop in all 50 states with support from Google.
Registration is required at uscSoCarolina.eventbrite.com. After registering, attendees will receive instructions for viewing the workshop through the Zoom app.
The College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Carolina is coordinating the workshop to highlight interdisciplinary approaches toward solving a modern problem facing democracy. “I am thrilled that this national Election Cybersecurity Initiative is hosted by the College of Arts & Sciences,” said Lacy K. Ford, dean of the college. “An open, secure ballot box and fair elections are the cornerstones of our democracy. Their protection is of utmost importance to all who believe in democracy and the rule of law.”
South Carolina leaders in cybersecurity and elections will share their perspectives on meeting the challenges for cybersecurity in elections.
Alan Wilson, attorney general
Marci Andino, Election Commission executive director
Bruce Smalley, Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Program executive director
Scott Farmer, political consultant
Phil Noble, political strategist