California Bans ‘Secret’ Election Bots

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation which bans the use of undeclared bots during elections. The new rule also applies at all times to bots used for sales purposes unless they are very clear about their identity. The new bill will come into force on 1 July 2019:

“This bill would, with certain exceptions, make it unlawful for any person to use a bot to communicate or interact with another person in California online with the intent to mislead the other person about its artificial identity for the purpose of knowingly deceiving the person about the content of the communication in order to incentivise a purchase or sale of goods or services in a commercial transaction or to influence a vote in an election.”

Ameya Talwalkar, co-founder and chief product officer at Silicon Valley-based Stealth Security issued the following statement.

Ameya Talwalkar, Co-Founder And Chief Product Officer at Stealth Security:

“We applaud Gov. Brown for this important action.  While many bots, such as those leveraged within Google’s search engine, perform useful and valuable functions, malicious bot activity has emerged as the primary attack threat facing consumers, business, and government organizations.  These new tight restrictions, and the security tools to enforce them, are now an essential requirement in the age of automated fake news. The last thing we want is a repeat of the 2016 election.”