Threats to voting at the Eurovision song contest in Liverpool from Russian agents or cyber attacks will be dealt with by the UK’s security experts, MPs have been assured.
MPs in the Commons flagged concerns to the government that Russia could seek to disrupt the voting during the contest, which is viewed globally by more than 160 million people.
This year’s contest will be held in Liverpool, after organisers deemed it unsafe to hold it in Ukraine, last year’s winners, which is currently at war with Russia.
Police in Italy last year claimed Russia had attempted to interfere with the voting during the first semi-final of the 2022 contest, but it was thwarted by its cyber-security teams.
Conservative MP for Lichfield, Michael Fabricant, asked in the House of Commons: “Last year during the Eurovision Song Contest, Russian agents attempted to interfere with the voting that was being made for Ukraine.
“This year, of course, we’re hosting the Eurovision Song Contest.
“What is [the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology] doing to ensure that the integrity of the voting will be maintained?”
Paul Scully, a minister for technology and the digital economy, replied: “The government is always aware there are a number of possible threats to our systems and our events.
“I’m not able to discuss the details but the National Cyber Security Centre are world experts at understanding attacks and providing incident response for the most serious of attacks.
“We want to make sure that all organisations are aware, so we can indeed keep that resilience in our voting process.”
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The contest kicks off on Tuesday 9 May, when the first semi-final gets under way at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena, with the grand final on Saturday 13 May.
Mae Muller is the UK’s entrant for 2023, with her catchy pop anthem I Wrote A Song, and will be hoping to beat the favourites of Sweden’s Loreen or Finland’s Kaarija to grab the trophy.