A California bill that will ban the use of undeclared bots during elections is set to take effect on July 1, 2019, after Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law Friday.
“This bill would, with certain exceptions, make it unlawful for any person to use a bot to communicate or interact with another person in California online with the intent to mislead the other person about its artificial identity for the purpose of knowingly deceiving the person about the content of the communication in order to incentivise a purchase or sale of goods or services in a commercial transaction or to influence a vote in an election,” according to the Senate Bill No. 1001.
Authorities and social media platforms have cracked down on bots since the 2016 presidential election when they were used by Russian operatives to influence voters.
“We applaud Gov. Brown for this important action. While many bots, such as those leveraged within Google’s search engine, perform useful and valuable functions, malicious bot activity has emerged as the primary attack threat facing consumers, business, and government organizations,” Ameya Talwalkar, co-founder and chief product officer at Stealth Security, said. “These new tight restrictions, and the security tools to enforce them, are now an essential requirement in the age of automated fake news. The last thing we want is a repeat of the 2016 election.”