During the day of the second, decisive election round for the French Presidency in 2017, where potentially the European Union’s future is at stake, the story of the hack of Emmanuel Macron’s team and a following leak (#MacronLeak) sweeps the WWW, the professional journalist media and the social media. These have been obviously strategically targeted to cause uncertainty, delegitimise the democratic process and potentially even to spread disinformation. It is interesting that preliminary critical evaluations of the leaked digital material and speculations about the way it has been disseminated throughout the social media involve aspects of digital forensic analysis. The thorough analysis of this incident and the materials will take much longer and it is at the moment unclear whether the whodunit-and-why question will be answered beyond a good guess.
The tendency that leaks of stolen born digital material are being used by anonymous parties to manipulate electoral campaigns might be worrying, but instead of calling out on digital arms (for a more balanced perspective, see also “Bots unter Generalverdacht“ by Gregor Weichbrodt), I am more interested in the long term research perspective for the humanities that opens up here.