Bots hit online Olympic polls - 660 CITYNEWS
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Bots hit online Olympic polls

Last Updated Nov 8, 2018 at 7:51 am MST

A young girl learns to skate on the ice at the 1988 Calgary Olympic Plaza in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014. International Olympic Committee executives were in Calgary on Wednesday encouraging the city to bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Summary

There have been some issues with misinformation with the Olympic plebiscite campaign.

A cyber-security expert said the bots which caused some grief for the Calgary 2026 Olympic plebiscite through the city's

bots are always a problem whenever you engage with the public through an online portal.

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – More than 50,000 people have taken advantage of advance and mail-in polling in the Olympic plebiscite ahead of the vote on Tuesday, but there have been some issues with misinformation with the campaign.

A cyber-security expert said the bots which caused some grief for the Calgary 2026 Olympic plebiscite through the city’s online portal were relatively simple in nature.

“It can be easy or hard to tell that there are bots. If a whole bunch of things are coming from the same IP address, the same internet address, that makes it pretty easy. The more sophisticated ones, certainly state actors like Russia or North Korea they have ways of using techniques to camouflage their IP addresses to make them look like they are from all over the world,” noted Tom Keenan with the University of Calgary.

He said despite these ones being simple they could still have had an effect on the plebiscite if they had not been caught.

“I think they absolutely could influence the result because if they hadn’t caught these bots, it would have distorted the outcome. So when they reported the numbers it would have been skewed in one way or the other. This way at least we have more confidence in the results. It’s not the definitive answer, that is going to come in the plebiscite, but at least it’s an indication of what people think.”

Keenan said bots are always a problem whenever you engage with the public through an online portal.