Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity
The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity
The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TCEI) seeks to fill a critical gap by fostering a global and collective approach to curb the ongoing wave of election interference and raises awareness of public and governments about the risks of interference. It helps sharing best practices between decision-makers, public and private institutions and actors across the globe and applies on the ground new models of cooperation and technologies to empower civil society and governments to defend democracy against malign interference. Since its launch in 2018, the TCEI has established itself as an important global voice and player on the risks and solutions to combat foreign election meddling. The TCEI brings together more than a dozen eminent persons from backgrounds in politics, media and the private sector chaired by former NATO Chief and Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and former US Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff.
Interviews with members of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity
Mission Statement of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity
The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity helps advance solutions to protect integrity of democratic elections.
Election interference is a major threat to the universal right of people to take part in democratic elections. Still, democratic governments and technology companies around the world are scrambling to meet the challenges of the latest election meddling tactics and technologies.
This is a global phenomenon, with instances of election interference seen in countries from Mexico to North-Macedonia, Ukraine to Kenya, Taiwan to Turkey.
Yet attacks and coordinated manipulations are no longer coming from foreign malign powers alone: increasingly, the cross-border disinformation playbook is used by domestic actors trying to sow divisions and polarisation in both authoritarian and democratic contexts.
The TCEI brings together eminent persons from different backgrounds with one shared goal: to ensure people decide freely, based on independent information, who should represent them.
Our priorities for 2021
- Advocate for the Pledge for Election Integrity as a golden standard for parliamentarians in democracies around the world. In 2021, we will launch the Pledge amongst others for the national elections in Germany in September 2021.
- Continue to provide a global platform for the debate on election interference and disinformation with our #DefendDemocracy webinar series.
- We are in the process of building up a global coalition beyond the transatlantic hemisphere which ensures a constant exchange of threat perceptions, common patterns as well as successful counter strategies and best practice examples across the globe.
- Highlight the importance of media literacy initiatives in the fight against mis- and disinformation, e.g. with our online game „The Disinformation Diaries“.
- Monitor technological innovation and promote policy solutions to address the challenge of foreign election meddling and malign synthetic media like Deepfakes.
The Commission brings together around a dozen prominent public figures from both the U.S. and Europe with government as well as private sector and media backgrounds.
The Alliance of Democracies Foundation and its Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TCEI) have now released a condensed summary of the most important foreign and domestic interference activities in the context of the recent Bundestag's election: the “Election Risk Monitor – Germany 2021”.
Based on the key findings from the German election, we want to look ahead and discuss how the EU and its member states can further shape our digital societies in the coming years while at the same time protecting them against attacks from the outside as well from the inside. With a heavy European digital agenda in place for the upcoming year, ranging from the DSA, the recent draft on transparency for political advertising, and the strengthened EU Code of Practice on Disinformation, we want to put our findings in the larger context of how the EU and its Member States can improve the protection of election integrity in the digital age.
Read the full report here.
For our German speaking audience, we launched our mini-podcast series, the „W.I.P.-Talks“ covering the integrity of the German 2021 federal election.
Episode #1:"Neuland: die Pandemie, Wahlintegrität, und Deutschland vor der Bundestagswahl".
Episode #2: Das Desinformationsnetz: Trends, Akteure und Bedrohungen vor der #BTW2021
Follow us on Spotify here.
New edition of the Disinformation Diaries
In the lead up to parliamentary elections in Albania on April 25th, the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, in cooperation with Facebook, has launched a joint media literacy campaign, featuring our online political game “The Disinformation Diaries”.
The game was localized for Albania and will be promoted among Albanian Facebook users to raise awareness about the potential destructive effect of disinformation and deepfakes on democratic elections.
Election meddling: US Sanctions welcomed by transatlantic body co-founded by Biden
Press Release: April 15, 2021
The Co-Chairs of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TCEI) welcome US sanctions against Russia for its meddling in the 2020 U.S. election.
Michael Chertoff and Anders Fogh Rasmussen believe the Biden administration is making good on its promise and delivering a clear message that meddling and hacking comes with costs.
The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TCEI) was co-founded by Biden, Chertoff and Rasmussen in 2018 to unite transatlantic efforts in the fight against foreign election meddling.
Before announcing his candidacy for President, Joe Biden worked with the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity to develop a pledge for all candidates to sign, committing not to aid and abet foreign malign powers. Candidate Biden launched the pledge in 2019 and signed it himself after announcing his presidential run.
Next stop, Germany: TCEI to engage with policymakers and civil society ahead of September’s election
Germans take to the polls in September 2021, and given that the nation will elect a new head of government some 16 years after Chancellor Angela Merkel first entered office, the election poses an opportunity for foreign and domestic election meddling.
In early March 2021, media reports revealed that hackers, operating mostly from abroad, orchestrated a series of attacks during her party’s leadership convention. Meanwhile, the European External Action Service recently published a comprehensive report detailing over 700 recorded cases of disinformation targeting Germany since 2015, providing solid evidence of systematic Russian disinformation campaigns against Germany at the hands of pro-Kremlin media outlets, as well as formal and political actors. Russian-backed media outlets are pouring money into their German-language offerings, and new studies indicate that the average German voter has difficulties differentiating between journalism, commentary, political advertisements and misinformation online.
German society is resilient, and the country’s authorities are well prepared for such challenges, but there is still much that can be done to increase awareness among political parties, their candidates and the general public about these multifaceted threats to election integrity. That's why the Alliance of Democracies Foundation and its Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity will be launching a slate of localized initiatives and tools in the coming weeks and months to engage with Germany’s citizens and its policy community. We aim to draw attention to these issues, amplify trustworthy research and analysis, increase media literacy, and provide concrete support and recommendations for preserving election integrity and defending democracy.
Follow us on social media, or sign up for our newsletter, to stay up to date on our activities in Germany ahead of September's election, which will include localized German versions of our flagship "Pledge for Election Integrity” and our online political game "The Disinformation Diaries." You can also learn more from our founder Anders Fogh Rasmussen's interview in this week's edition of German news magazine Der Spiegel.
#DefendDemocracy Virtual Series
Building an Alliance of Democracies
On February 3rd, the Alliance of Democracies held a discussion on "Building an Alliance of Democracies".
President Biden’s election has given the free world hope of renewed unity. The Biden administration has promised a Summit of Democracy which could galvanise the Free World.
The United Kingdom as President of the Group of Seven (G7) intends to expand its meeting this summer to include Australia, South Korea and India, strengthening cooperation among the world’s major democracies.
The Alliance of Democracies Foundation was founded for this purpose: to unite the world’s democratic forces to counter rising authoritarianism. China is picking off democratic states with strategic investments and trying to mould the rules-based order in its image of state subsidies and authoritarian tech. Russia is sparking disorder around the free world with disinformation campaigns, election meddling and corrupt money flows. If the free world does not show unity, we will continue to dissemble and multilateralism will fail.
- Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Chairman, Alliance of Democracies Foundation and former NATO Secretary General and Prime Minister of Denmark
- Lord Mark Sedwill, G7 Envoy for Economic Resilience and former Cabinet Secretary and National Security Advisor to Boris Johnson
- Michael Carpenter, Managing Director, Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy & Global Engagement
- Remarks: Colombe Cahen-Salvador, Co-founder of NOW!, A grassroot movement campaigning for a league of democracies and for #FridaysforFreedom
- Moderation: Vivian Salama, National Security Correspondent, CNN
Online Course: Disinformation and Deepfakes
It is becoming increasingly difficult to tell facts from fiction and technological advances are making it harder to trust even what we see with our own eyes. Election interference is by no means a new phenomenon, and the use of disinformation to change opinions of voters or sway the outcome of elections is a strategy as old as democracy itself. But recent years have seen an exponential increase of attention directed towards foreign disinformation campaigns, primarily spurred on by the Russian intervention in the 2016 US presidential election. A form of artificial intelligence and synthetic media – so-called “Deepfakes” – might take this global threat to election integrity to a dangerous new level.
We are pleased to announce that we have partnered with CanopyLAB to create a FREE online course about disinformation and deepfakes.
What will you learn?
☑️ Why politicians are increasingly concerned about the impact of dis- and misinformation
☑️ What deepfakes are and how they can be identified
☑️ How and why deepfakes are so dangerous
☑️ What is being done to curb its negative effects
How do I take the course?
- Head over to CanopyLAB and create your FREE account
- Once you have your account all set up, go to the search bar and type 'Alliance of Democracies' and follow us - so you can stay up to date with all the news!
- Then, find our course titled "The global threat of disinformation to democracy and how AI might make it even worse." Then go ahead, explore it, learn from it, and let us know what you think
The Social Media Dilemma - who is in control and who is to blame
On January 28th, the Alliance of Democracies Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen hosted a virtual session on "The Social Media Dilemma - who is in control and who is to blame?"
In the fight against election interference, social media platforms play a crucial role as more and more people rely on social media instead of classical news outlets for information. Consequently, the siege at the U.S. Capitol on the 6th of January added more heat to the debate on who defines the role and responsibility of social media platforms and freedom of speech in the global information space. These days we see a lot of debate on the necessity of platform reuglations, from reform of Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act in the U.S. to the Digital Services Act in the EU, and the Online Harms White Paper in the UK. From the platform side, representatives of big platforms themselves have called upon legislators to be regulated for some years now. So, 2021 seems to be the year when the political debate finally have caught up with this request.
However, due to different legal frameworks and traditions the approaches to regulation and accountability of the platforms still differ. Thus, the need for cooperation, consolidation and standardization between lawmakers worldwide is essential to avert election interference and securing citizens access to transparent and accurate information ahead of democratic elections. This virtual discussion brought together perspectives from both sides of the Atlantic to address how the U.S., the EU and the UK can work together on solving this ongoing challenge.
- Damian Collins, British Member of Parliament and co-chair of the International Grand Committee on Disinformation
- Eileen Donahoe, Member of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TCEI) and Executive Director of the Global Digital Policy Incubator at Stanford University
- Morten Løkkegaard, Danish Member of the European Parliament, Vice-chair of the INGE Special Committee (Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation)
- Marietje Schaake, Member of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TCEI), International Policy Director at Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center and Former Member of the European Parliament (2010-2020)
- Moderation: Olaf Boehnke, Senior Advisor to the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TCEI) and the Alliance of Democracies Foundation
The Alliance of Democracies Foundation launches its Election Risk Monitor addressing the 2020 parliamentary elections in Georgia (Europe). The report examines Georgia’s persisting vulnerabilities against foreign election meddling through the lens of four key aspects: disinformation in social media, the level of media literacy of Georgian citizens, the state of election related cyber security and foreign links into party funding.
Even the report concludes that these elections have not seen a major overt interference operation, it clearly discloses the system of subliminal infiltration established by pro-Kremlin proxies which impacted this pivotal elections.
With this report, the TCEI evaluates its engagement in Georgia as the facilitator of the Pledge for Election Integrity, the gold standard of ethical and transparent election campaigning in the digital age. Assessment of the parties’ adherence to the decent and transparent campaign principles is one of the objectives of the report.
- Secure the “guardian role” of the Georgian parliament
- Strengthen the system of oversight and prosecution on illegal and foreign funding of party finances
- Enhance state cyber defense capacities
- Improve the level of digital media literacy on election interference and disinformation
- Continue and expand civil resilience against election interference
- Ensure more transparency through the cooperation with Social Media platforms
Read the full report here.
#DefendDemocracy Virtual Series
How to put the disinformation genie back in the bottle - lessons learned from the 2020 elections in Taiwan, Georgia and the USA
On November 30th, the Alliance of Democracies Foundation in partnership with the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, DoublethinkLab and the US Embassy in Denmark hosted an event.
2020 has seen millions of voters headed to the polls in democracies around the globe. What new patterns of election interference and disinformation were discernable and have new foreign meddlers being spotted on the scene?
In Asia, China has demonstrated its increasing capabilities and willingness to interfere in its neighborhood, starting with Taiwan’s Presidential elections in January 2020. In Europe, Russia’s influence in the Georgian elections in October was permanently present, but so was civil society responses to curb both foreign and domestic disinformation. US authorities and watchdog institutions have identified plenty of foreign state-actors like Russia, China or Iran trying to manipulate the public discourse in the run-up to the Presidential elections.
The Alliance of Democracies Foundation has been actively engaged in all three elections in Taiwan, Georgia and the United States this year. We are delighted to have a group of experts discuss these questions from their regional perspectives and provide a learning space on best practices from Asia, Europe and North America on curbing disinformation around elections.
- Poyu Tseng, Researchers, Doublethink Lab (DTL)
- Min Hsuan Wu “Ttcat”, Co-founder and CEO, Doublethink Lab (DTL)
- Michael Chertoff, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, The Chertoff Group, Co-Chair, Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2005 – 2009)
- Ketty W. Chen, Vice-President, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy
- Nino Rizhamadze, Head of Social Media Monitoring Project, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)
- Moderator: Jonas Parello-Plesner, Executive Director, Alliance of Democracies Foundation
#DefendDemocracy Virtual Series
Resilience against Election Interference- Parliamentary Elections in Georgia 2020
On October 28th, the Alliance of Democracies Foundation and Microsoft's Defending Democracy Program hosted an event discussing the resilience against election interference ahead of the Parliamentary elections in Georgia. Over recent years, foreign interference – including from Russian state and non-state actors - in democratic elections and political processes of other countries has become a concern for democracies worldwide. In Russia’s immediate neighborhood, however, this phenomenon is not new. In Georgia, in addition to military action, the Kremlin has been waging information warfare, targeting democratic processes and the citizens that participate in them.
Disinformation Diaries Relaunch
On October 31, Georgians will go to the polls to determine their future. These Parliamentary elections will happen at a pivotal moment. To disrupt Georgia’s democratic development and the process of European and NATO integration, also foreign powers are targeting the upcoming elections.
The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TCEI) initiated the Pledge for Election Integrity to encourage political parties and candidates to commit to their voters that they will not aid and abet those who seek to undermine democracy. Ahead of the elections, we translated and adapted the Disinformation Diaries into Georgian to help improve the media literacy of political candidates and their staff especially as it pertains to election integrity by helping them develop practical skills for navigating disinformation.
Pledge for Election Integrity
Support from Members of the European Parliament Anna Fotyga and Marina Kaljura
One month prior to the parliamentary elections in Georgia, The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TCEI) initiates the Pledge for Election Integrity to encourage political parties and candidates to commit to their voters that they will not aid and abet those who seek to undermine democracy. See the pledge at electionpledge.org
The chairman of the Commission, former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, joined by other members of the TCEI together with the chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, Archil Talakvadze, officially launched the initiative and invited all political candidates presenting themselves for the parliamentary elections to take the Pledge.
The virtual event featured the following high-level speakers:
- Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Chairman of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, Chair of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, Secretary General of NATO (2009-2014), Prime Minister of Denmark (2001-2009)
- Mr. Archil Talakvadze, Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia
- Mr. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Member of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, President of Estonia (2006-2016)
- Ms. Natalie Jaresko, Member of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, Executive Director of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto, Minister of Finance of Ukraine (2014-2016)
Watch the full event here
Statement by the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity on US Presidential Elections
Test your media literacy skills
The Disinformation Diaries is a game-based media literacy tool players can use to understand how disinformation and deepfakes can interfere with democratic elections.
The goal of the project is to increase the media literacy of political candidates and their staff especially as it pertains to election integrity by helping them develop practical skills for navigating disinformation.
The Disinformation Diaries was designed and developed by Ora D. Tanner, an Election Integrity fellow with the Alliance of Democracies Foundation and the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity. This unique mini-course was part of her research on ways new media can be used for disinformation education and to increase media literacy as it relates to elections interference by deepfakes.
Test your skills here.
Pushing back against disinformation is more needed than ever
In early March, the Alliance of Democracies Foundation- led by Co-chairs of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TCEI), Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Michael Chertoff- visited Silicon Valley together with commission members, Eileen Donahoe and Marietje Schaake. The delegation met with tech companies to discuss the preparedness prior to the 2020 elections. One thing is clear from the visit - pushing back against disinformation is more needed than ever.
Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity goes global
In the beginning of the new year, the TCEI participated in the Raisina Dialogue in Delhi, India. Co-chair Anders Fogh Rasmussen and TCEI-member Marietje Schaake attended South Asia’s most important international conference to raise awareness towards election interference and to engage with stakeholders from around the world.
How Taiwan's successful democracy deals with election interference
Executive Director, Jonas Parello-Plesner, led a Danish ‘Freedom and Democracy’ delegation to the Taiwanese elections in early January by invitation of the Taiwanese government. They met with the government, civil society, and social media platforms with a special focus on election interference during the days leading up to the elections.
The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity taps Aspen Tech Policy Hub fellows to fight deepfakes and disinformation
We are pleased to welcome Erica Greene & Ora D. Tanner as nonresident Election Integrity fellows who will boost our efforts to counter election interference!
Conference about foreign election interference
How can democracies protect their elections from external interference?
On December 2nd, the Alliance of Democracies Foundation hosted an event in the Danish Parliament about election interference. We welcomed the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jeppe Kofod, and many other Danish and international speakers for speeches and interesting roundtable discussions. Watch and read our live coverage on facebook, youtube and twitter.
The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity hosts conferences in Kyiv
On September 23rd and 24th, the TCEI organised two conferences in Kyiv, Ukraine, engaging journalists, NGOs, and women organisations, sharing the evidence found and discussing ways to improve their resilience to outsider interference. Since April 2019, the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity has engaged in real-time monitoring of social media, assessing and flagging interference as it is happening around Ukraine’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
The picture is from the roundtable discussion with Ukraine’s National Institute of Strategic Studies.
John Kerry joins transatlantic fight against elections meddling
68th US Secretary of State John Kerry has joined the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, a body created to counter the next wave of election interference.
The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity launches Pledge for Election Integrity
The Pledge for Election Integrity calls on candidates for the upcoming European elections in May 2019 to take a stand against election interference by increasing transparency and fight the use of disinformation in campaigns.
For election hackers, a new and more dangerous tool
Commissioners for the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity Michael Chertoff and Eileen Donahoe write for Reuters about the threat deepfake technology poses to our democracies.
The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity's work to fight deepfake technology
How does deepfake technology affect our democracies? The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity is examining this crucial question and coming up with solutions to fight disinformation and foreign election meddling.
We must defend our democracy as robustly as we would defend our borders
Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaking at a European Commission conference on preventing election interference.
Macedonia referendum: Twitter bots up their activity
Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks about election interference at YES Conference 2018
Co-chair of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, Anders Fogh Rasmussen explains the challenge of election meddling by foreign actors, and how it is likely to evolve in the coming years. Introducing the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, he describes just a few ways in which we plan to raise awareness of the challenge and develop tech tools to monitor and inoculate against foreign meddling in the future.
Transatlantic legislators unite to step up efforts against election meddling
Despite the recent bizarre election meddling double-denial from Presidents Trump and Putin, lawmakers from both sides of the Atlantic joined forces to demand stronger action against meddling and foul play. Governments, legislatures, social media companies, and civil society are all called upon to step up their efforts.
Election interference to be sniffed out by early-alert system
An early warning system to spot attempts to subvert elections is being developed by the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, which was created to combat efforts to skew election debate. Its software scours social media and other parts of the net to hunt out attempts to seed subversive content. But experts warn nation states may answer with more sophisticated tactics. "We're trying to create high reliability and easy-to-use tools for civil organisations to use and see what's happening in real time so they can counter it," said Fabrice Pothier, a spokesman for the commission.
Elections still face risk of foreign interference on both sides of the Atlantic, high-level commission warns
A transatlantic, bi-partisan group of political, tech, business and media leaders are warning that neither side of the Atlantic is adequately prepared for the next wave of election meddling coming their way in 20+ major elections before 2020. The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TCEI) includes a former NATO Chief, US Homeland Security Secretary, US Vice-President, heads of state and senior political, media and tech figures.
The West Still Isn’t Prepared to Stop Russia Meddling in Our Elections
It’s not just the United States—European countries aren’t ready, either.
In POLITICO Magazine, Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Michael Chertoff, the two co-chairs of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, makes the case for transatlantic cooperation to ensure the protection of the 20 elections in the next two years, and the integrity of our institutions as such. Looking at recent cases of election meddling in both the U.S. and Europe, and the patchy responses from our democratic institutions, there is every reason to believe that these elections provide 20 ripe new targets for Russia and others to interfere.
Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity
The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity will seek to fill a critical gap by fostering a more transatlantic and collective approach to prevent the next wave of election interference. It will raise awareness of public and governments on what foreign powers, especially Russia, are doing to undermine liberal democracies. The Commission will recommend concrete actions to governments, traditional and new media actors, private sector and non-governmental organizations. Transatlantic and bipartisan in nature, the Commission will seek to share lessons learned between decision-makers and institutions on both sides of the Atlantic.
Statement of Support
Senator Angus King
“Democracies rely on an informed citizenry – but successful information warfare undermines that foundation by heightening national divisions and shattering the people’s faith that governments truly represent them. Foreign interference in free elections is a grave and ongoing challenge that threatens all Western democracies, which is why the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity is so vital. By raising awareness of outside involvement, sharing knowledge on how to combat the dangers and pursuing technological approaches to block and deter bad actors, this organization can play a major part in defending the integrity of the elections that allow our governments to function.”
Statement of Support
Senator Chris Van Hollen
"This is an important step in defending our elections at home and abroad. I’m calling for the same kind of coordination in the DETER Act, and Congress should pass it without delay. We must work with our European allies to protect our democracies and deter Russian aggression."