Hacked Email Elections -- UK And Scotland Next?

Email hogged the limelight in the US Presidential election last year and very nearly did in yesterday's French Presidential election. Could Britain be next, and then Germany?

it's a question worth asking because experts appear agreed that the US and French successful hacks of politicians' email communications appear very similar. The reaction by authorities was, of course, very dissimilar. The French immediately put a lid on the episode warning the media not to publish stolen messages. The Americans opened up an investigation which many believe may have kept Hillary Clinton out of The White House.

To me, the timing is everything here. The US leaks were made well in advance, allowing the furore to influence the result and impact the frontrunner. With the French example the leaks were made on the eve of the vote, too late to allow a media organisation, or judge, to go through the gigabytes of data to look for anything awry.

So was the US attack timed to keep the front runner out of the hot seat while the French attack is more about ensuring a new President has a cloud hanging over his office? It was widely accepted that Macron would win comfortably, so if you were looking to destabilise his administration it might be best to wait until he is elected and then give opponents the email ammunition to criticise. 

The truth is that we will probably never know the motives. It may have been a case of hackers not getting into the French servers until just before the election, and so the timing was not of their choice.

The lesson for Europe is that it would appear Russian hackers are just as interested in our politics as those the other side of the Atlantic. The suggestion in The Telegraph from a Conservative politician is that the Russians might want to damage Prime Minster Theresa May's campaign to win more votes for the Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The reason given is that Corbyn is considered weak on defence.

I'm not so sure. If we have to watch out for anything here, it's Russia wanting to drive a wedge through disagreements so the EU is further divided. That would mean trying to embarrass Corbyn or the Liberal Democrats so Theresa May has a stronger mandate for a Brexit that is as hard as she likes. However, at the same time, it would suit the Russians to play up divisions between the Scottish National Party -- which wants full independence -- and the parties that will standing against it in constituencies. Scotland, don't forget, is where the UK's nuclear submarines are built and based.

For me, this is the division to watch out for most. It would take an amazing turnaround in the polls for May to lose the election, but it wouldn't be out of the question for the SNP to be kept in power in Scotland through an embarrassing revelation in leaked emails from any of the other mainstream parties standing against the party.

So it has happened in the US, it just took place in France, and it would be folly to imagine Russian hackers aren't seeking to embarrass UK politicians through email hacking and leaking ahead of June. Then, next stop, Germany.

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