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Spies - a Sunday morning rant


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Recently I saw a link to a US Air Force advertisement for trolls - people paid to inhabit discussion forums for the purpose of disinformation. The idea that the USAF has a requirement for this is plainly ridiculous; more likely they were deliberately bringing into the light a practise they see going on in other arms of the US security apparatus. Meh, it makes no difference: apparently people can't find jobs as engineers or teachers or canine manicurists, but can find jobs as domestic spies. I thought I'd take a look at why this makes me so uncomfortable.

The informant, the domestic spy, is universally loathed. He usually gives the game away by being dumb enough to believe that no-one can figure out what it is he does: he doesn't understand that the awkwardness he generates (by way of being incapable of taking part in an honest relationship) is felt by everyone else in the group, that someone with true ability in melding for the purpose of deception is being paid a much higher rate to perform in higher priority circumstances. As it is, he isn't bright enough to understand the reason for his being shunned and resents it: he becomes the perfect subject for a positive feedback cycle of corruption and power abuse. The domestic spy unit, when overfunded and thus represented by these bottom dwellers, has to protect itself from the populace it surveils: it does this by denouncing anyone brave enough to speak their minds, it chokes the channels of communication within the community, thus necessitating the establishment and maintenance of "approved" channels. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera... economic decline... fear... apathy... violence... despair...

Do us all a favour: quit your jobs. Thanks.

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The informant, the domestic spy, is universally loathed. He usually gives the game away by being dumb enough to believe that no-one can figure out what it is he does: he doesn't understand that the awkwardness he generates (by way of being incapable of taking part in an honest relationship) is felt by everyone else in the group...

It's Sheldon! I just knew he was a traitor!

Michael

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Costard, it seems to be the ultimate in paranoia...that said, however, I have heard it said that "sometimes the voices are right, and they really are out to get you.." I cannot imagine a US Service Branch seriously running an ad for this, as generally the idea would be, if it even existed, a classified project. That said, however, out of ALL of our service branches, the Air Force would be the one I would most think to be interested in this.

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A long time ago I told my voices to organise themselves into a committee and report any stuff I might be interested in. Works a treat - they're so busy I hardly ever get bothered any more.

linky

Solicitation Number:

RTB220610

Notice Type:

Sources Sought

Synopsis:

Added: Jun 22, 2010 1:42 pm Modified: Jun 22, 2010 2:07 pmTrack Changes

0001- Online Persona Management Service. 50 User Licenses, 10 Personas per user.

Software will allow 10 personas per user, replete with background , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographacilly consistent. Individual applications will enable an operator to exercise a number of different online persons from the same workstation and without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries. Personas must be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world and can interact through conventional online services and social media platforms. The service includes a user friendly application environment to maximize the user's situational awareness by displaying real-time local information.

0002- Secure Virtual Private Network (VPN). 1 each

VPN provides the ability for users to daily and automatically obtain randomly selected

IP addresses through which they can access the internet. The daily rotation of

the user s IP address prevents compromise during observation of likely or

targeted web sites or services, while hiding the existence of the operation. In

addition, may provide traffic mixing, blending the user s traffic with traffic from

multitudes of users from outside the organization. This traffic blending provides

excellent cover and powerful deniability. Anonymizer Enterprise Chameleon or equal

0003- Static IP Address Management. 50 each

Licence protects the identity of government agencies and enterprise

organizations. Enables organizations to manage their persistent online personas

by assigning static IP addresses to each persona. Individuals can perform

static impersonations, which allow them to look like the same person over time.

Also allows organizations that frequent same site/service often to easily switch IP

addresses to look like ordinary users as opposed to one organization. Anonymizer IP Mapper License or equal

0004- Virtual Private Servers, CONUS. 1 each

Provides CONUS or OCONUS points of presence locations that are setup for

each customer based on the geographic area of operations the customer is

operating within and which allow a customer?s online persona(s) to appear to

originate from. Ability to provide virtual private servers that are procured using

commercial hosting centers around the world and which are established

anonymously. Once procured, the geosite is incorporated into the network and

integrated within the customers environment and ready for use by the customer.

Unless specifically designated as shared, locations are dedicated for use by

each customer and never shared among other customers. Anonymizer Annual Dedicated CONUS Light Geosite or equal

0005- Virtual Private Servers, OCONUS. 8 Each

Provides CONUS or OCONUS points of presence locations that are setup for

each customer based on the geographic area of operations the customer is

operating within and which allow a customer?s online persona(s) to appear to

originate from. Ability to provide virtual private servers that are procured using

commercial hosting centers around the world and which are established

anonymously. Once procured, the geosite is incorporated into the network and

integrated within the customers environment and ready for use by the customer.

Unless specifically designated as shared, locations are dedicated for use by

each customer and never shared among other customers. Anonymizer Annual Dedicated OCONUS Light Geosite or equal

0006- Remote Access Secure Virtual Private Network. 1 each

Secure Operating Environment provides a reliable and protected computing

environment from which to stage and conduct operations. Every session uses a

clean Virtual Machine (VM) image. The solution is accessed through sets of

Virtual Private Network (VPN) devices located at each Customer facility. The

fully-managed VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) is an environment that allows

users remote access from their desktop into a VM. Upon session termination,

the VM is deleted and any virus, worm, or malicious software that the user inadvertently downloaded is destroyed. Anonymizer Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Solution or equal.

Contracting Office Address:

2606 Brown Pelican Ave.

MacDill AFB, Florida 33621-5000

United States

Place of Performance:

Performance will be at MacDIll AFB, Kabul, Afghanistan and Baghdad, Iraq.

MacDill AFB , Florida 33679

United States

Primary Point of Contact.:

Russell Beasley,

Contracting Officer

russell.beasley-02@macdill.af.mil

Phone: (813) 828-4729

Fax: (813) 828-5111

https://www.fbo.gov/index?_cview=1&id=d88e9d660336be91552fe8c1a51bacb2&mode=form&s=opportunity&tab=core

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2011/feb/23/need-to-protect-internet-from-astroturfing

Every month more evidence piles up, suggesting that online comment threads and forums are being hijacked by people who aren't what they seem.

The anonymity of the web gives companies and governments golden opportunities to run astroturf operations: fake grassroots campaigns that create the impression that large numbers of people are demanding or opposing particular policies. This deception is most likely to occur where the interests of companies or governments come into conflict with the interests of the public. For example, there's a long history of tobacco companies creating astroturf groups to fight attempts to regulate them.

After I wrote about online astroturfing in December, I was contacted by a whistleblower. He was part of a commercial team employed to infest internet forums and comment threads on behalf of corporate clients, promoting their causes and arguing with anyone who opposed them.

Like the other members of the team, he posed as a disinterested member of the public. Or, to be more accurate, as a crowd of disinterested members of the public: he used 70 personas, both to avoid detection and to create the impression there was widespread support for his pro-corporate arguments. I'll reveal more about what he told me when I've finished the investigation I'm working on.

Oh the joys of an unfettered state and a healthy democracy.

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Well, that would go a long way toward explaining a large number of otherwise inexplicably stupid and stubbornly wrong counter arguments I've received over the years. Next time I get one of those, I will assume it's from a paid trouble maker.

Michael

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I read an academic paper somewhere about the veracity of online reviews. The kind of stuff that gets posted on Amazon and the like. Lots of ulterior motives from authors and publishing companies there.

And then of course there are the large number of Wiki edits that get tracked back to the offices of the politicians the articles cover....

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I read an academic paper somewhere about the veracity of online reviews. The kind of stuff that gets posted on Amazon and the like. Lots of ulterior motives from authors and publishing companies there.

And then of course there are the large number of Wiki edits that get tracked back to the offices of the politicians the articles cover....

I would not doubt that at all, the primary reason I prefer to see many sources, because who knows what bias is in the one, if that is all you see. I have watched review of a book, on, I believe, Amazon.com, become a real fight between two authors, the one of the book in question, and the other of a competing book on the same subject, where both began calling the other's work drivel, etc....amusingly, it DID convince me to purchase both :)

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Yes, just because someone disagrees with your point of view, it does not mean they are being paid by the opposition.

I have no problem with people disagreeing with me. They might even be closer to the truth than I am and able to teach me something I didn't know before. It's when they have the gall to say something that is merely a rhetorical trick to try to throw the argument out of gear that something is not right. Whether they are being paid by someone or are simply protecting their own agenda is not especially germane to what I am talking about here. Sorry not to have made that clear earlier. But I do agree that to do it simply because they've been hired to do it is especially disgraceful.

Michael

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