Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How British spies are ruining the Internet

UFO spotted at Toronto  
Conspiracy theorists hold an interesting place in political discourse. On one hand, it’s easy enough to push them aside as basement-dwelling wackos pointing their Dorito-stained fingers at blurry photos of WTC 7 or “The Umbrella Man.” On the other hand, if you had said just a year ago that the U.S. government was conducting mass surveillance of all online activitieswith the full cooperation of companies like Facebook and Verizonyou likely would have been grouped with such paranoia-driven sludge.

But what if intelligence agencies the world over are hoping you’d think this way? 

According to more leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, that is precisely what the U.K. spy agency Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) has made common practice. In slides given to Snowden trustee Glenn Greenwald, the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) has been trained in psychological, sociological, and even biological methods of destroying the online reputations of “targets,” a broad term that includes terrorists, foreign spy agencies, private corporations, and perhaps most concerning, the vaguely labeled “hacktivists.”

As Greenwald put it himself, the goals of JTRIG are “to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targetsand to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable.”

While tactics offered in the program to accomplish these goals range from writing fake blog posts about the target to creating “honey traps” (wherein a person is lured into a compromising sexual situation), the weirdest details may come in the form of three shoddy pictures of flying saucers.

Contained in a presentation labeled “The Art of Deception: Training For A New Generation Of Online Covert Operations,” the photos look exactly like the types of flying saucers we’ve seen in grainy photographs and shaky camera angles since the 1950s. But what are they doing in a top secret training material for British spies?

For the rest of the story: http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/uk-spies-jtrig-conspiracy-theories/

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