Facebooks former chief security officer said Thursday its too late to protect the U.S. midterm elections from foreign hacking and information warfare and called for regulation of the tech industry to address future threats.
Alex Stamos, who left the social network earlier this month, mentioned the disclosures this week from Facebook and Microsoft of hacking and foreign influence campaigns.
“The revelations are evidence that Russia has not been deterred and that Iran is following in its footsteps,” Stamos wrote in the Lawfare blog. “This underlines a sobering reality: Americas adversaries believe that it is still both safe and effective to attack U.S. democracy using American technologies and the freedoms we cherish.
“In some ways, the United States has broadcast to the world that it doesnt take these issues seriously and that any perpetrators of information warfare against the West will get, at most, a slap on the wrist,” he went on. “While this failure has left the U.S. unprepared to protect the 2018 elections, there is still a chance to defend American democracy in 2020.”
Stamos said Congress should set rules around how to handle online disinformation, noting that while some tech companies have taken action, theyve “undertaken this work voluntarily and could reverse it in the future.”
He cited the Honest Ads Act, S. 1989 (115), as a good start but said it would need tweaking to be fully effective. Stamos also suggested that the government reassess who is in charge of cybersecurity defense and that states bolster their election protection capabilities.