Schiff: US 'not ready' to battle foreign election interference in 2020

Schiff: US 'not ready' to battle foreign election interference in 2020
© Greg Nash

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTop intelligence community lawyer leaving position Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump MORE (D-Calif.) said tech companies and government entities are “not ready” to combat election interference in 2020 on Vox’s podcast “Recode Decode with Kara Swisher,” that aired Monday.

“The tech companies aren’t ready,” Schiff said. “They don’t have, I think, their policies fully thought out yet. The government isn’t ready. We don’t have the technologies yet to be able to detect more sophisticated fakes.”


Schiff said that lack of familiarity with terminology also posed an obstacle to preventing interference as well.

“The public, by and large, when you bring up ‘deepfake,’ they don’t know what you’re referring to,” he said, in reference to technology that superimposes new images onto existing videos.

“And so we don’t have much time. It’s eight months until the primaries begin to try to prepare the public, prepare ourselves, determine what other steps need to be taken to protect ourselves from this kind of disinformation,” Schiff added.

Schiff has instructed tech companies to be prepared early for the spread of disinformation relating to the 2020 presidential election and said the government must figure out the appropriate level of state involvement in such matters sooner rather than later.

“This is a difficult space for the government to operate in because we’re not going to censor people, but we can use the bully pulpit to try to encourage good behavior,” he told the podcast.

The 2016 election, he added, was a missed opportunity when it came to coordination between the government and tech companies. “We need to make sure that those problems are ironed out before the next one,” he said.