Doxing democracy: influencing elections via cyber voter interference

Isabella Hansen, Darren Lim

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    There is a recent surge in the use of state-sponsored cyber operations by states against foreign political institutions, including efforts to sway electoral outcomes by influencing voters. Yet cyber statecraft research has focused more on operations designed to yield a direct military advantage or reward, rather than as a subtle tool of influence. We seek to address this gap in the literature, first by conceptualising a typology of state-sponsored operations constituting ‘cyber voter interference’ (CVI), second by theorising a causal mechanism through which CVI can influence the cognition and behaviour of voters contingent on specific local conditions within a target state, and third by testing the plausibility of our theoretical model via two case studies of recent elections in the United States and France, both of which saw credible accusations of cyber interference by hostile foreign actors. We find that the evidence supports the plausibility of the theorised model, and our argument that the success of CVI is mediated by specific conditions within the state being targeted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)150-171
    JournalContemporary Politics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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