Cybersecurity threats risk the democratic process in Cambridge

By  | April 3, 2018 | 13 Comments | Filed under: uncategorized
News07:39 AMCambridge Times

At the Tuesday, March 27, City of Cambridge council meeting, Aleksander Essex, an expert in cybersecurity and assistant professor at Western University appeared before council to address the risks of online voting.

Since this item was not on the agenda and therefore Essex would not be able to speak on this topic, a motion had to be made, it had to be seconded, and council had to vote to allow him to speak. Some discussion was done prior to the vote and the chair, Mayor Doug Craig, then asked for a recorded vote. The recorded vote turned out 7-2 in favour of letting Essex come to the podium and speak to council on this issue. At 2:19:40 of the streamed council meeting on YouTube, the mayor states, “I can’t believe it.”

What can’t Mayor Craig believe? That members of council would actually want to hear what this expert has to say on this issue? That council members are free thinkers and voted to hear what they, as well as members of the public who were in the gallery, need to hear?

The two members that voted against Essex speaking were Mayor Craig and Ward 1 Coun. Donna Reid.

What I find significant in the voting that took place prior to Aleksander Essex coming forward is the fact that during the course of a casual conversation where we crossed paths while I was at city hall a few days prior to the council meeting, Mayor Craig stated to me that he prefers using paper ballots.

Essex did approach the podium and spoke about the ‘hack’ that occurred on Feb. 11, when the City of Cambridge website fell victim to a cyberattack. He went on to mention that in a statement issued by chief information officer George Georgiadis, which was also in local newspapers, no information was stolen from the visitors devices, but more importantly, this was still a security breach.

Now Cambridge wasn’t the only victim of the breach, and yes, there were many other cities that fell victim to the hack.

Essex made the point that the attack occurred just 253 days before municipal elections.


Online voting security is a major concern to many cities and municipalities across Canada.

The City of Guelph were contemplating the use of online voting for the 2018 municipal election, but after studying the issue, they have declined, citing, their main concern being cybersecurity.


I believe the City of Cambridge wants to protect our democratic process, and I am certain all residents who take the time to exercise their democratic right want to be assured that this process is secure and trustworthy.

After listening to the presentation by Aleksander Essex, I am convinced the only way to vote on Oct. 22 is the tried and true way. Go to the polls and do not use the online system.


To hear the presentation at the March 27, Cambridge city council meeting, go to, search “Cambridge Council March 27, 2018” and forward to the 2.14 mark.


Rande Keffer



13 Responses to Cybersecurity threats risk the democratic process in Cambridge

    Randy Toner April 3, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Looks like the mayor has a forked tongue. Nothing wrong with paper ballots before so is there a hidden goal for the mayor? Sure looks like it.
    Time to remove this man.

  2. Concerned April 4, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Sounds like the person that wrote this was at that Council Meeting.Wonder if things like this happen there all the time?
    if so maybe it’s time for residents of the City to think about who to vote for in October.
    Way to go there…we need more people like you to let us know exactly what goes on at Council Meetings.

    R. Muise April 4, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    The mayor just shot himself in the foot.

  4. Terry Muholland April 4, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    Listened to the whole presentation…did anyone hear after that fellow was finished and Craig dismissed him he said ‘next item before I hit the roof?’ Why would our Mayor say something like that…that is just deplorable.
    Sounds like he needs some anger management courses.

    Wasthere April 5, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Terry – too bad they didn’t show the break time when there were shenanigans going on. This should have been taped & recorded. Was definitely a very improper move on a certain person’s part – who wasn’t getting his own way as usual. Was definitely a very low action on his part.
    Wish everyone could have heard it & seen it just to prove that certain people must have their way or no way – but – ha ha – it didn’t work this time.

  6. Terry McAllister April 6, 2018 at 7:25 am

    Oh really? What happened at the break time? Maybe that also needs to be streamed in the future if something underhanded is going on…
    So did others actually see this gong on? If so maybe the residents of Cambridge need to hear about that too..
    It sure is interesting watching a Council Meeting and I plan on watching more of them and maybe one day actually going to a Council Meeting to see firsthand what goes on

    Tom Vann April 7, 2018 at 7:36 am

    Bring your personal security.

  8. Terry McAllister April 7, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    Personal Security? Why would I have to do that? Just what goes on in these meetings?

    Tom Vann April 8, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    The city is bullying people with verbal jabs and in your face comments.

  10. Getty McAllister April 9, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Gee sounds like maybe the public is not welcome at Council Meetings?

    Maggie April 10, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    The public is welcome – just don’t have a difference of opinion re the Mayor!!
    It is his way or no way. But one should go just to watch how he operates – or controls is the word. There is only about 3 thinkers on Council.
    But definitely do not go by yourself. One must have a witness to events, such as after the March 27th meeting. Ridiculous.
    A friend, who spoke at Council, angered one of the Councillors, who proceeded to follow us out after the meeting – so is hard to say what would have happened had we not been with this person. So that is the reason security is mentioned.

  12. Exasperating April 13, 2018 at 8:20 am

    the Council Meeting this Tuesday will have the Chief Information Officer filling the minds of Council and Staff and anyone in the gallery with the idea that the Internet is Secure…Who are they trying to kid…Come on now..Quit trying to Blindside the public for your own agenda!!!
    We all know that this is being done to make the public think that Online and Internet Voting is safe!!!
    At the March Council Meeting a Professional came to the podium to reason with City Council and once again a line was drawn in the sand on this one!!
    So Sad…
    Drain the Swamp…Get rid of the Corruption!!
    Make your Vote Count … Go to the Polls… Do not I repeat Do not vote Online or by Internet no matter what they say!!!

    Fred Radky October 31, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    One has to wonder why the people operating the machines had problems with the machines and were not told of the new modifications. The last minute changes to programmes seems to have been done as a panic move that could show the fix was in, so a return to normal seems to have been done. Strange how this all took place in Cambridge when city hall was informed a group was calling Dominion. Things could have turned ugly. No complaints from the defeated candidates.

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