Google had promised to tighten security and increase election ad transparency last year, and to follow up on its promises; it has now put in place new policies to make political ads more transparent than ever before.
To purchase an election ad on Google, customers will now need to provide additional verifications to prove their identity, which means that they shall have to produce governments issued id’s which prove that they are permanent US citizens by birth or by law. They shall also have to disclose the name of the person or organization that is paying for the ad to make them more transparent.
Yesterday, we announced improvements to one such product. Google’s Advanced Protection Program, our strongest level of account security for those who face increased risk of sophisticated phishing attacks sent to their email address, now supports Apple’s native applications on iOS devices, including Apple Mail, Calendar and Contacts. We expect this will help more campaigns and officials who are often the targets of sophisticated phishing attacks. – Kent Walker, Senior Vice President at Google
Google intends to release a Transparency Report this summer that shall outline in detail who is buying election-related ads on their platforms and how much money is being spent for the purpose. Google ad transparency is also working on building a searchable ad library to allow users to easily search for an election ad and see who is paying for it.
To make the election campaigns more secure for everyone involved, Google is also working with campaigns, elections officials, journalists, and others to help ensure the security of the online platforms they depend on. This involves developing a range of ‘Protect Your Election’ tools, in partnership with Alphabet’s Jigsaw, that has been specifically tailored for people at particularly high risk of online attacks.
Furthermore, Google has partnered with National Cyber Security Alliance and Digital Democracy Project at the Belfer Center at Harvard Kennedy School to invest in funding security training programs for elected officials, campaigns, and staff members; and they have not left behind journalists by partnering with Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein’s Center, “Disinfo Lab”, who shall be employing said, journalists, to leverage computational tools to monitor misinformation in the run-up to and during elections.