In our latest episode of Ars Technica Live, we talk about election security. My guest was Alex Stamos, a researcher at Stanford who just happened to be the CSO at Facebook when the company discovered Russian operatives meddling in the US presidential election. He told us about that experience and what’s worrying him about the future of US democracy.
It was odd for technical experts like Stamos and his team at Facebook to find themselves at ground zero of a political propaganda war. Stamos explained that infosec researchers are not typically trained to deal with things like weaponized memes. “We had ignored that the vast majority of human harm caused online has no interesting technical component,” he said wryly. “It’s a technically correct use of the products we build.”