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Blake Dowling: Elections and tech

I voted by mail this week. Done.

Neither Russians nor Scientologists, nor Canadians were able to influence or meddle with my selections.

What did those groups behind the headlines do to our electoral process? They created discord and a lack of faith in some areas — certainly one of their goals.

The last administration told the Russians to “cut it out” which they did not, and right now we have a very mixed message from the White House — I say mixed as the President and his team doesn’t always seem to be on the same page.

After last month’s Helsinki talks, the President said: “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

However, right now, the White House (via intelligence director Dan Coats) is saying about Russia: “We acknowledge the threat, it is real, it is continuing, and we’re doing everything we can to have a legitimate election.”

Meanwhile, this week in cyberland: Facebook said it uncovered a brand-new coordinated political influence campaign, designed to mislead its users and sow dissension among American voters ahead of congressional elections.

More than 9,500 posts from now-removed pages — including “Mindful Being” and “Aztlan Warriors” — were among those accounts listed.

“We think it’s inevitable that we will find evidence, and we will find other actors, whether these are from Russia, from other countries, or domestic actors that are looking to try and abuse the platform,” said Nathan Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity.

The Russians are not going to cut it out, and they clearly are involved in meddling in some way. So, what do we do?

Stay calm. Get out and vote, trust the process.

There will always be attempts at shenanigans, and with the internet of things, it is expected.

Hackers and Cyber Clowns across the globe are trying to steal, delete, break, disrupt … everything. From power grids to elections to the Sports Book at the Rio. This is not new, this is to be expected. Fear is not needed.

Here in Florida, our government is beefing up security across the state to make sure we are battle-ready.

Handed out will be $10.3 million, but not to Duval or Dade. Sorry guys. Funds will go to training and cybersecurity solutions to make sure all is well come November.

Also, people need to remember it is not just social media and hacking attempts that these folks are into. They engage in targeted call campaigns, staging protests, hiring actors, sending bogus mailers, etc.

Don’t be afraid to report any wrongdoings to the authorities.

So, overcome your voter anguish, get out and vote. Our Democracy will once again set the bar for the world.

And to anyone that stands in our way — they’d better cut it out.


Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at

Written By

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at or at

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