U.K. Accuses China of Cyberattacks Targeting Voter Data and Lawmakers

By John Mercury March 27, 2024

The British government on Monday accused China of cyberattacks that compromised the voting records of tens of millions of people, a sharp rebuke that underlined the hardening of Britain’s stance toward China since its leaders heralded a “golden era” in British-Chinese relations nearly a decade ago.

The deputy prime minister, Oliver Dowden announced sanctions against two individuals and one company linked to a state-affiliated group implicated in the attacks, which he said targeted both an elections watchdog and lawmakers. The Foreign Office summoned China’s ambassador to Britain for a formal diplomatic dressing down.

“This is the latest in a clear pattern of hostile activity originating in China,” Mr. Dowden said in Parliament. “Part of our defense is calling out this behavior.”

The government disclosed the attack on the Electoral Commission, which oversees elections in the United Kingdom, last year but did not identify those behind it. It is believed to have begun in 2021 and lasted several months, with the personal details of 40 million voters being hacked.

The Electoral Commission said that the names and addresses of anyone registered to vote in Britain and Northern Ireland between 2014 and 2022 had been accessed, as well as those of overseas voters.

The commission previously said that the data contained in the electoral registers was limited and noted that much of it was already in the public domain. However, it added that it was possible the data could be combined with other publicly available information, “such as that which individuals choose to share themselves, to infer patterns of behavior or to identify and profile individuals.”


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *