Google is rolling out new tools to ensure Europeans receive the information they need for next year’s Parliamentary elections in the European Union (EU).
Up to 350 million voters across the EU are expected to take to the polls in May 2019, to elect 705 Members of European Parliament (MEPs). With threat actors already meddling in the elections process in various countries, including in the United States, interference is expected in next year’s European process as well.
Google has released tools for previous elections in various countries around the world, in an attempt to help people understand and participate in those elections. Last year, the company launched a set of tools to help organizations defend against election-related cyber-attacks.
The Internet search giant now wants Europeans to have access to useful and relevant information in the build-up to the Parliamentary elections, and is working with data from Election Commissions across the member states to ensure that.
For the election ads displayed across Google’s ad networks, the company will require that voters are informed on who’s paying for ads that mention a political party, candidate or current officeholder. Furthermore, Google plans a tighter verification process for EU election advertisers.
Additional tools the search company wants to implement include an EU-specific Election Ads Transparency Report and searchable ad library, where users could access information on who is purchasing election ads, whom they’re targeted to, and how much money is being spent.
“Our goal is to make this information as accessible and useful as possible to citizens, practitioners, and researchers,” the company says.
Additionally, Google is working with campaigns, elections officials, journalists, human rights organizations and other entities in the EU, to secure their online platforms.
The Internet giant also plans on offering in-person security training to those who face increased risks of phishing attacks. Google’s Advanced Protection Program and Project Shield are two services that provide account security and protection from DDoS (and other forms of) attacks, respectively.
On top of that, Google plans on working with news organizations across all 27 countries in the EU to support online fact checking. Google News Lab will offer free verification workshops to inform journalists on the tools and technology that can help tackle disinformation and support their coverage of the elections.
“Like others, we’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes around the world, including by bringing more transparency to political advertising online, by helping connect people to useful and relevant election-related information, and by working to protect election information online,” Google says.
Related: Symantec Launches Free Election Security Service
Related: US Election Integrity Depends on Security-Challenged Firms