U.K. to Accuse China of Cyberattacks Targeting Voter Data and Lawmakers

The British government is expected to publicly link China to cyberattacks that compromised the voting records of tens of millions of people, another notable hardening of Britain’s stance toward China since its leaders heralded a “golden era” in British-Chinese relations nearly a decade ago.

The deputy prime minister, Oliver Dowden, will make a statement about the matter in Parliament on Monday afternoon, and is expected to announce sanctions against state-affiliated individuals and entities implicated in the attacks.

The government disclosed the attack on the Electoral Commission last year but did not identify those behind it. It is believed to have begun in 2021 and lasted several months, with the personal details of 40 million voters being hacked.

The Electoral Commission, which oversees elections in the United Kingdom, said that the names and addresses of anyone registered to vote in Britain and Northern Ireland between 2014 and 2022 had been accessed, as well as those of overseas voters.

The commission previously said that the data contained in the electoral registers was limited and noted that much of it was already in the public domain. However, it added that it was possible the data “could be combined with other data in the public domain, such as that which individuals choose to share themselves, to infer patterns of behavior or to identify and profile individuals.”

In addition to the infiltration of the Electoral Commission, Mr. Dowden is expected to confirm that the Chinese targeted several members of Parliament with a record of hawkish statements about China. They include Iain Duncan-Smith, a former leader of the Conservative Party; Tim Loughton, a former Conservative education minister; and Stewart McDonald, a member of the Scottish National Party.

Back to top button