Tech

True diplomacy is a principle, but the United States needs to make Putin pay

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Whatever the red line has been raised, the fact remains that interference in previous U.S. elections has been incredibly low for the Russian government. The State-sponsored Internet Research Agency, to give you a picture, expense a mere $ 46,000 on the pre-2016 election day Facebook announcements that arrived 126 million Americans. Its general balance sheet through September 2016, for the United States Department of Justice documents, was more than $ 1.25 million a month — not much for a billionaire oligarch and Putin’s hand trying to sow chaos in American elections, especially compared to the hundreds of millions expense by the candidates. Such tactics follow a long history of Russian security agencies and various frontline organizations that use “active measures” to engage in covert conflict activities, minimizing armed conflict to ignite division and promote the objectives of the leaders. The internet has made today’s version even cheaper to run.

Washington did relatively little in response. Many U.S. diplomats, law enforcement officials, and intelligence officials have publicly raised the issue of electoral interference under the Trump administration, though more often than not, Trump would contradict and attack them. I SU has implemented very much sanctions on the Russian government — including recent additions by the Biden administration — that many he argued at least communicate to the Kremlin that electoral interference will get a response from the United States. But the sign of regret is not the same which makes that activity substantially more expensive or harder to perform.

U.S. technology platforms have not fundamentally changed their business models and website structures to prevent (built on bargain) Russian “troll factories” from spreading misinformation. While these companies focus on the money spent in the fight against influenza operations, they are still, in many ways, struggling with their own systems designed for maximum engagement and microtargeting. Let us remember, for example, how Russian operators essentially are used Facebook’s advertising function is in 2016 and 2018. And these players are still on the move, adapting their techniques for always operating on the same platforms

On the other hand, the gains have been great for Moscow: information campaigns deployed without serious resistance, extensive US media coverage of Russian electoral interference, and narrative fuel for Putin’s powerful images. Not to mention that the Kremlin is already seen in an information conflict with the West. Certainly, there is a propagandistic value in these types of comments – for example, suggesting that American social media platforms are tools of subversion – but they also reflect a true Kremlin belief about the United States and the global open internet. The Kremlin’s decisions on the benefit of costs remain in this context.

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Some things have improved; They could be American journalists menu prone to cover selectively pirated and leaked materials to the Democratic National Committee in 2016, now more deprived of the ways in which they are accustomed fabricate scandal. Biden has also engaged vocally in cybersecurity dialogues with Russian counterparts, an important part of contemporary diplomacy that has been degraded by the Trump administration.

Moving forward, strictly discovering attacks or infrastructure considered “out of bounds” will be a key part of these lower-level cybersecurity dialogues. Biden’s own trip, and related public statements against electoral interference, also underscored the White House’s priority in diplomacy for U.S. allies and partners – another benefit of the summit. Although Putin’s calculation of electoral interference will change going forward, the same old US responses are hardly enough.


Opinion WIRED publishes articles by external contributors representing a wide range of points of view. Read more reviews here, and see our submission guidelines here. Send an op-ed to [email protected].


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