5. Google extends free election protection to Europe
On Tuesday, Google and its altruism-focused corporate sibling, Jigsaw, announced it would extend free protections against a costly type of cyberattack to European candidates and campaigns in the 2019 EU Parliament elections.
The big picture: The program, dubbed Project Shield, blocks distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks — attacks that generate so much traffic to a target server that the server collapses. Those attacks can only be blocked through dedicated internet infrastructure, which many campaigns don't know or can't afford to invest in.
Project Shield already covers global charitable groups and U.S. elections. But Scott Carpenter, Jigsaw’s managing director of international policy, said legal complications make offering a free service to campaigns a complicated endeavor.
- "Part of the reason we can't offer Project Shield to campaigns worldwide is working out legal and policy. In certain jurisdictions, you aren’t able to provide a free service to campaigns, and our legal team has to clear that country by country," he told Codebook.
Despite the availability of free services like Project Shield, not everyone who can be protected is protected.
"In an ideal world, you would not read any stories where an important electoral institution would go down from DDoS," said Carpenter. "There’s no reason if we offer a free service to go unprotected."