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Sunak urged to protect UK elections from foreign interference

Sunak urged to protect UK elections from foreign interference

Sunak urged to protect UK elections from foreign interference

Sunak urged to protect UK elections from foreign interference

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  • Parliament’s security committee warns UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak about potential foreign interference in the election campaign.
  • The committee urges the government to educate the public on disinformation and ensure the safety of elected politicians.
  • Beckett urges Sunak to identify collective actions before the current parliament dissolves.
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On Friday, parliament’s security committee warned that UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak “must be prepared for the possibility of foreign interference” in the election campaign ahead of the July 4 vote.

In a letter to Sunak, Margaret Beckett, chair of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy (JCNSS), noted a “pattern of attempted foreign interference from countries such as China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea” in recent years.

The letter highlighted findings from security officials that indicated it was “almost certain” Russian actors sought to interfere in the UK’s 2019 vote, and that China was seeking to influence democratic processes overseas.

“It is our view that the UK must be prepared for the possibility of foreign interference” during the July 4 general election, it added.

That interference could include cyberattacks, blackmailing of lawmakers, spreading of disinformation online — including AI “deep fakes” — and sowing division on controversial topics, advised the committee. The government should help educate the public to identify disinformation and ensure the safety of elected politicians.

Beckett, a former foreign secretary in Tony Blair’s Labour government, urged Sunak “to identify any last actions that can be taken collectively in the national interest” before the current parliament is dissolved next week. Advancements in AI and the deepening of hostilities between the West and nations such as Russia have led experts to warn of an unprecedented threat ahead of the key elections in the UK and the United States this year.

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