Last night, Emanuel Macron, the presidential candidate for the French election on Sunday, claims that he and his campaign are victims of a massive computer hack. This is happening to a strange point in time.
As Wikileaks correctly underlines: the leaks are coming to a point in time where they are unlikely going to have a large effect on the elections. Nevertheless, the leaks will have tough consequences for Russia, as Russia is thought to be the main actor and influence in this hack.
#MacronLeaks assessment update: This massive leak is too late to shift the election. The intent behind the timing is curious.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 5, 2017
What we can observe since several years is a remarkable shift of power. While the traditional holders of power lose their influence and power continuously, smaller parts of the society gain in power tremendously. This shift of power is visible in nearly every area; from business to politics.
A comparably small group of people in Arabian countries could change the political alignment during the Arab spring tremendously.
Like the French elections today – the presidential campaign in the United States has also been marked by hacker leaks. Hillary Clinton was suffering due to tough and uncomfortable documents. As a result, the people lost their trust in her. A small group of hackers has thus been able to influence the election outcome.
The power of small groups of hackers who use the internet to spread their leaks is huge. Even a single hacker can hack and gain access to crucial documents of crooked politicians, dishonest tax evaders, outlawed business leaders. In the case of hackers, tiny groups of people have the power to disclose dirty secrets of those who are currently in power. If this information is spread anonymously over the world-wide-web it leads to immediate changes in power structures – as it has been observable recently in the United States.
These political leaks remind us to David versus Goliath. An anonymous and tiny group of hackers is questioning the status quo which is traditionally distinctly more powerful. Today, hackers have the possibility to use the power of social networks and internet publishers to not only promote political change but they have the power to force change upon traditional governments by pointing on their corrupt and ethical unacceptable behaviors.
But who are these hackers? The #MacronLeaks have been published just about 1 ½ days prior to the final French elections. As Wikileaks pointed out, this is too late to have a dramatic effect on the election result. However, many politicians are already blaming Russia for being responsible for this leak. This is what happened in the United States as well – Hillary Clinton is indeed still blaming Russia for her defeat. But I don’t think it is that easy to answer.
If you are a hacker and you do your job right, it is tough to find out who you are. In the latest case of the Macron leaks, many groups may be interested in harming his election. Ukraine might want to isolate Russia even more, radical Le Pen supporters also have a great interest in a defeat of Macron. Of course, Russia itself also has an interest in a weaker European Union. Or these hackers are journalists who fight for the truth.
Wikileaks – who is this time not the publisher of these leaks – assessed the leaks and said that 9GB of data is economically not feasible to make up the whole thing. While some parts may be faked most the Macron leaks are likely to be valid documents.
However, today we are facing tiny groups of people. These consist of a single leader, a few hackers, and democratized and decentralized publishing platforms like Wikileaks. These players use the internet to shift the power from traditional power holders to tiny groups of people. We face a new world where power is not held by single monarchs anymore.