#MSBuild2019: Microsoft launches new products to secure elections and political campaigns

2 min read

It seems big tech giants are getting pretty serious about protecting election integrity and adopting data protection measures. At the ongoing Microsoft Build 2019 developer conference, CEO Satya Nadella announced ElectionGuard, a free open-source software development kit (SDK) as an extension of Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program.

ElectionGuard SDK

It is an open-source SDK and voting system reference implementation that was developed in partnership with Galois. This SDK will provide voting system vendors with the ability to enable end-to-end verifiability and improved risk-limiting audit capabilities for elections in their systems. It will be offered free to voting system vendors either to integrate into their existing systems or to use to build all-new election systems.

“One of the things we want to ensure is real transparency and verifiability in election systems. And so this is an open source project that will be alive on GitHub by the end of this month, which will even bring some new technology from Microsoft Research around homomorphic encryption, so that you can have the software stack that can modernize all of the election infrastructure everywhere in the world,” CEO Satya Nadella said onstage today at Microsoft’s annual Build developer conference in Seattle.

The ElectionGuard SDK and reference implementation will be available on GitHub in June, just ahead of the EU elections.

Microsoft 365 for Campaigns

Micrsoft365 for Campaigns provides security capabilities of Microsoft 365 Business to political parties and individual candidates. M365 for Campaigns will be rolled out to customers this summer for $5 per user per month. Any campaign using M365 for Campaigns will have free access to Microsoft’s AccountGuard service. Microsoft claims it’ll be affordable, naturally, and “preconfigured to optimize for the unique operating environments campaigns face.”

Starting next month, M365 for Campaigns will be available for all federal election campaign candidates, federal candidate committees, and national party committees in the United States

Microsoft Build is in its 6th year and will continue till 8th May. The conference hosts over 6,000 attendees with early 500 student-age developers and over 2,600 customers and partners in attendance. Watch this space for more coverage of Microsoft Build 2019.

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