This Documentary Will Show You Just How Fragile Our Democracy Really Is

In advance of the 2020 Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tion, Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elec­tions takes a deep dive into the weak­ness­es of today’s elec­tion tech­nol­o­gy, an issue that is lit­tle under­stood by the pub­lic or even lawmakers.

From direc­tors Simon Ardiz­zone, Rus­sell Michaels and Sarah Teale, the team behind HBO’s 2006 Emmy-nom­i­nat­ed doc­u­men­tary Hack­ing Democ­ra­cy, Kill Chain again fol­lows Finnish hack­er and cyber secu­ri­ty expert Har­ri Hursti as he trav­els across the U.S. and around the world to show how our elec­tion sys­tems remain unpro­tect­ed, with very lit­tle account­abil­i­ty or trans­paren­cy. Hursti’s eye-open­ing jour­ney is sup­ple­ment­ed by can­did inter­views with key fig­ures in the elec­tion secu­ri­ty com­mu­ni­ty, as well as cyber experts and U.S. sen­a­tors from both par­ties who are fight­ing to secure the integri­ty of the vote before Novem­ber 2020.

As the film shows, indi­vid­u­als, for­eign states and oth­er bad actors can employ a myr­i­ad of tech­niques to gain access to vot­ing sys­tems at any stage – from vot­er reg­is­tra­tion data­bas­es to actu­al elec­tion results.

Through this lens, seem­ing­ly unre­lat­ed or unco­or­di­nat­ed secu­ri­ty breach­es of the recent past can be seen as part of a “kill chain” – a mil­i­tary doc­trine to plot metic­u­lous, long-game attacks, under­stand­ing that break­ing down trust in vot­ing results is the surest way to under­mine democ­ra­cy. As enlight­en­ing as it is dis­turb­ing, Kill Chain under­scores the fragili­ty of our elec­tion process and points to the clear solu­tions avail­able to pro­tect us against sabotage.

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