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DHS, FBI Hold Joint Briefing for Election Officials with Facebook and Microsoft

Release Date: 
August 24, 2018

DHS, FBI, Facebook, and Microsoft Update State and Local Election Officials on Recent Actions Taken to Counter Foreign Threats

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was joined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Facebook, and Microsoft to host a briefing for the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) on recent actions taken by both companies to combat foreign threats. This is the second call in recent weeks DHS has hosted with Facebook and the nation’s lead election security officials to share information on actions being taken to combat malicious interference operations. The call provided a unique opportunity to connect private and public officials to share information and actions being taken to combat threats to our elections and to our democracy.

“DHS works with a broad range of partners to understand and stop malicious cyber actors, whether they are attempting to interfere with elections, infiltrate critical infrastructure, or simply collect intelligence from policy makers, these actions reinforce the need for government and industry to work together to secure the homeland and protect our democracy,” said Christopher C. Krebs, Under Secretary for the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate. “Facebook’s and Microsoft’s announcements continue to underscore the important role the private sector has in combating this threat. Like cybersecurity, countering foreign influence is a shared responsibility, and these calls are an important indicator of the level of cooperation between our public and private partners to share information and take action.”  

“Strong relationships with the private sector are a pillar of the FBI’s operational strategy to combat foreign influence operations,” said Michael McGarrity, Acting Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch. “Companies have a key role in taking action to secure their networks and platforms. Working together with our partners, the FBI shares actionable intelligence to better enable these companies to address any abuse of their systems by foreign actors.  We look forward to continuing this two-way communication between government and the private sector, which is vital in protecting our democratic institutions and values."

“Effectively combating coordinated information operations requires many parts of society working together, which is why Facebook believes so strongly in the need for collaboration between law enforcement, government agencies, security experts and other companies to confront these growing threats. We are grateful for the opportunity to brief state election officials on a recent call convened by DHS and again today as part of our continued effort to develop collaborative relationships between government and private industry,” said Kevin Martin, Facebook VP of Public Policy.

“No one organization, department or individual can solve this issue alone, that’s why information sharing is so important. To really be successful in defending democracy, technology companies, government, civil society, the academic community and researchers need to come together and partner in new and meaningful ways,” said Tom Burt, Microsoft CVP Customer Security and Trust

“With the 2018 midterms just around the corner everyone in the election and cybersecurity community must remain vigilant. I commend the efforts made by DHS and FBI to foster communication through today’s call with Facebook and Microsoft. It is clear that Secretaries of State, state election officials, federal agencies and private sector partners are working diligently together to defend against foreign threats in order to protect our democracy,” said Jim Condos, President of the National Association of Secretaries of State and Vermont Secretary of State.

“We appreciate the work done by DHS and FBI to make sure that we in the election community have a full picture of the efforts to interfere in our democracy. Cybersecurity preparedness and resilience is a group effort, requiring collaboration across all levels of government and the private sector. NASED values the opportunity to hear from companies like Facebook and Microsoft about the steps they’ve taken to curtail malfeasance on their platforms. We are encouraged by their partnership, and that of our other private sector partners, as we approach the November general election,” said Keith Ingram, Director of Elections from Texas and President Elect, National Association of State Election Directors.

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Last Published Date: August 25, 2018
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