The federal government is concerned about the risk of voter coercion and election interference through popular messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
The concerns were written down in a briefing note sent to the President of the Privy Council Dominic LeBlanc, which was obtained by the CBC.
“As the platforms move towards private/encrypted conversations as the foundation of how they work, concerns have been raised about the capacity of the tools used for private communications to potentially undermine [Canada Elections Act] provisions, or to facilitate the potential for voter coercion or foreign interference,” the briefing note reads.
It also touches on how this would likely introduce difficult situations, such as trade-offs between respecting the privacy of private communications and protecting the electoral system. These concerns could essentially pit the right of citizens’ privacy against the country’s election laws.
A spokesperson for LeBlanc told the CBC that the government is working with social media platforms and Elections Canada to ensure the integrity of the country’s democratic processes.
This isn’t a new concern since. For instance, during the 2019 election campaign, government officials said that they found attempts to spread misinformation, but that it wasn’t severe enough to issue a public warning.
Source: CBC News