Wed | Sep 20, 2017

French watchdog: Macron data mixed in with fake news in leak

Published:Sunday | May 7, 2017 | 5:00 AM
A municipal police officer walks near election campaign posters for French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron (left) and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, in Saint Jean Pied de Port, southwestern France, last Friday.

PARIS (AP):

France's election campaign commission said yesterday "a significant amount of data" has been leaked on social networks following a hacking attack on centrist Emmanuel Macron's presidential campaign.

The attack came 36 hours before the nation votes today in a crucial presidential run-off between Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. Voting already began yesterday in France's overseas territories and embassies abroad.

The election commission met early yesterday after reports of the hacking attack emerged just before midnight last Friday, when a mandatory pause in campaigning is required.

The commission said the leaked data apparently came from Macron's "information systems and mail accounts from some of his campaign managers". It said the leaked data had been "fraudulently" obtained and that fake news has probably been mingled in with it.

The commission urged French media and citizens "not to relay" on the leaked documents "in order not to alter the sincerity of the vote".

French electoral laws impose a news blackout yesterday and most of today on any campaigning and media coverage seen as swaying the election.

The perpetrators of the hacking attack remain unknown and it's unclear whether the document dump would dent Macron's large poll lead over Le Pen going into the vote.

Fears of hacking and campaign interference have simmered throughout France's high-stakes, closely watched campaign and boiled over last Friday night as Macron's team said it had been the victim of a "massive and coordinated" hack.