MPS HAVE been accused of scaremongering following comments made surrounding the online voter registration service which crashed in the run-up to last year's crucial Brexit vote.
The service went down on 7 June, just two weeks before the referendum, and the government took the controversial decision to extend the deadline for voter registration. There was criticism at the time, but now MPs have suggested that there could have been foreign interference, that is to say, hacking, at the heart of the outage.
Except no-one has actually said that. What they actually told Vice is that there is no evidence pointing to a hack, but that it can't be ruled out.
That's a pretty spectacular non-claim. If we thought it was OK to publish everything we didn't have evidence for, but couldn't rule out, it would defeat the object of being a trusted news provider.
Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of web security firm, High-Tech Bridge said "This is a very serious allegation, and it should be thoroughly investigated by all appropriate means. However, I doubt that a serious actor, such as a nation-state, for example, can be behind this particular DDoS attack.
"Governments have enough technical and financial resources to create smart botnets, simulating human behaviour that would be hardly distinguishable from legitimate website visitors. Running a classic DDoS attack is too coarse, and would rather attract unnecessary attention to the external interference, trigger investigations and all other outcomes that smart attackers would avoid at any price."
Yes, it might turn out to be true, but the allegations made by a committee as part of their inquiry 'Lessons learned from the EU Referendum' are pure, unsubstantiated claims.
Tech played a pretty major part in the controversies around Brexit and the repercussions are still ongoing with "exchange rate realignment" price rises and questions over how the vote will affect the next generation of tech workers.
Also of note were the number of bots allowed to sign petitions and the sudden disappearance of the 'leave' campaigns website after it emerged that it wasn't going to keep its battle-bus promises.
Even the Cabinet Office has said: "We have been very clear about the cause of the website outage in June 2016. It was due to a spike in users just before the registration deadline. There is no evidence to suggest malign intervention."
All of this doesn't mean that there aren't foreign agents interfering with the political world - we know that there are - and further cases are being investigated, but let us not speak of them here. Instead, here are five things we don't have evidence for but can't rule out.
- We don't have evidence that Jeremy Kyle will be the new host of Robot Wars. But we can't rule it out.
- We don't have evidence that Donald Trump's hair really is made of wire wool. But we can't rule it out.
- We don't have evidence that ‘Blackberry' will rebrand as ‘Blueberry' in the UK after we leave the EU. But we can't rule it out.
- We don't have evidence that Harry Styles' new single was actually sung by Matt Cardle. But we can't rule it out.
- We don't have evidence that mice prefer Miles Davis to Skrillex. But we can't rule it out. Though we suspect they take exception to DeadMau5.
See? It's easy to be an MP! Tweet more ideas to @INQ with the hashtag #butwecantruleitout. µ
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