Barrett Brown live interview - corporate spies, Anonymous, espionage exp0sed
audio is rly off, funny cuz the user channel is “HongPong” harharhar.
YOU RAFF! U RUSE!
Barrett Brown live interview - corporate spies, Anonymous, espionage exp0sed
audio is rly off, funny cuz the user channel is “HongPong” harharhar.
YOU RAFF! U RUSE!
The Federal Reserve wants to know what you are saying about it. In fact, the Federal Reserve has announced plans to identify “key bloggers” and to monitor “billions of conversations” about the Fed on Facebook, Twitter, forums and blogs.
This is yet another sign that the alternative media is having a dramatic impact.
As first reported on Zero Hedge, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has issued a “Request for Proposal" to suppliers who may be interested in participating in the development of a "Sentiment Analysis And Social Media Monitoring Solution". In other words, the Federal Reserve wants to develop a highly sophisticated system that will gather everything that you and I say about the Federal Reserve on the Internet and that will analyze what our feelings about the Fed are. Obviously, any "positive" feelings about the Fed would not be a problem. What they really want to do is to gather information on everyone that views the Federal Reserve negatively. It is unclear how they plan to use this information once they have it, but considering how many alternative media sources have been shut down lately, this is obviously a very troubling sign.
You can read this “Request for Proposal” right here. Posted below are some of the key quotes from the document (in bold) with some of my own commentary in between the quotes….
"The intent is to establish a fair and equitable partnership with a market leader who will who gather data from various social media outlets and news sources and provide applicable reporting to FRBNY. This Request for Proposal ("RFP") was created in an effort to support FRBNY’s Social Media Listening Platforms initiative."
A system like this is not cheap. Apparently the Federal Reserve Bank of New York believes that gathering all of this information is very important. In recent years, criticism of the Federal Reserve has become very intense, and most of this criticism has been coming from the Internet. It has gotten to the point where the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has decided that it had better listen to what is being said and find out who is saying it.
"Social media listening platforms are solutions that gather data from various social media outlets and news sources. They monitor billions of conversations and generate text analytics based on predefined criteria. They can also determine the sentiment of a speaker or writer with respect to some topic or document."
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York intends to listen in on “billions of conversations” and to actually determine the “sentiment” of those that are participating in those conversations.
Of course it will be those conversations that are “negative” about the Federal Reserve that will be setting off the alarm bells.
"Identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers"
Uh oh. So they plan to “identify” key bloggers and influencers?
What exactly do they plan to do once they “identify” them?
"The solution must be able to gather data from the primary social media platforms –Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums and YouTube."
Hopefully you understand this already, but nothing posted on the Internet is ever anonymous. Everything on the Internet is gathered by a vast host of organizations and is used for a wide variety of purposes. Data mining has become a billion dollar industry, and it is only going to keep growing.
You may think that you are “anonymous” when you criticize organizations like the Fed, but the truth is that if you are loud enough they will see it and they will make a record of it.
"The solution must provide real-time monitoring of relevant conversations. It should provide sentiment analysis (positive, negative or neutral) around key conversational topics."
Why do they need to perform “sentiment analysis”?
If someone is identified as being overly “negative” about the Fed, what will they do about it?
"The solution should provide an alerting mechanism that automatically sends out reports or notifications based a predefined trigger."
This sounds very much like the kind of “keyword” intelligence gathering systems that are currently in use by major governments around the globe.
Very, very creepy stuff.
Are you disturbed yet?
For those of us that write about the Federal Reserve a lot, this is very sobering news.
I wonder what the Fed will think about the following articles that I have posted on this site….
What is their “Social Media Monitoring Solution” going to think about those articles?
Unfortunately, this is all part of a very disturbing trend.
Recently, a very creepy website known as “Attack Watch" was launched to gather information on those saying "negative" things about Barack Obama.
Suddenly, everyone seems obsessed with what you and I are saying.
This just shows how the power of the alternative media is growing.
Not only that, but it seems as though the government also wants to gather as much information on all of us as possible.
For example, a new rule is being proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services that would force health insurance companies to submit detailed health care information about all of their customers to the federal government.
Every single day our privacy is being stripped away a little bit more.
But now it is often not just enough for them to know what we are doing and saying. Instead, the “authorities” are increasingly stepping in to silence important voices.
One of the most recent examples of this was when Activistpost was taken down by Google. We are still awaiting word on why this was done.
Sadly, the silencing of Activistpost is far from an isolated incident.
Hordes of YouTube accounts have been shut down for their political viewpoints.
Quite a few very prominent alternative media websites have been censored or attacked because of what they stand for.
So why is this happening? Well, it turns out that the power of the alternative media is growing. According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center for The People & The Press, 43 percent of Americans say that they get their news on national and international issues from the Internet. Back in 1999, that figure was sitting at just 6 percent.
The American people are sick and tired of getting “canned news”, and they are increasingly turning to the Internet in a search for the truth.
As I have written about previously, the mainstream media in this country is overwhelmingly dominated by just 6 very powerful corporations….
Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations. These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites. Sadly, most Americans don’t even stop to think about who is feeding them the endless hours of news and entertainment that they constantly ingest. Most Americans don’t really seem to care about who owns the media. But they should. The truth is that each of us is deeply influenced by the messages that are constantly being pounded into our heads by the mainstream media. The average American watches 153 hours of television a month. In fact, most Americans begin to feel physically uncomfortable if they go too long without watching or listening to something. Sadly, most Americans have become absolutely addicted to news and entertainment and the ownership of all that news and entertainment that we crave is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands each year.
The “news” that we get from various mainstream sources seems to always be so similar. It is as if nearly all mainstream news organizations are reading from the same script. The American people know that they are not getting the whole truth and they have been increasingly looking to alternative sources.
The monopoly over the news that the mainstream media once possessed has been broken. The alternative media is now creating some huge problems for organizations that were once very closely protected by the mainstream media.
The American people are starting to wake up and they are starting to get very upset about a lot of the corruption that has been going on in our society.
But it turns out that the “authorities” don’t like it too much when Americans try to actually exercise free speech in America today. For example, you can see recent video of female protesters in New York City being penned in by police and then brutally maced right here.
Are you sickened by that?
You should be.
What the “authorities” want is for us to shut up, sit in our homes and act as if nothing wrong is happening.
Meanwhile, they seem determined to watch us more closely than ever.
So are you going to be afraid to talk negatively about the Federal Reserve now that you know that they are going to be watching what you say on the Internet?
Earlier this year, ThinkProgress obtained 75,000 private emails from the defense contractor HBGary Federal via the hacktivist group called Anonymous. The emails led to two shocking revelations. First, that an assortment of private military firms collectively called “Team Themis” had been tapped by Bank of America to conduct a cyber war against reporters sympathetically covering the Wikileaks revelations. And second, that late in 2010, the same set of firms began work separately for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a Republican-aligned corporate lobbying group, to develop a similar campaign of sabotage against progressive organizations, including the SEIU and ThinkProgress.
In presentations obtained by ThinkProgress from the e-mail dump detailing the tactics potentially used against progressives, HBGary Federal floated the idea of using “fake insider personas” to infiltrate left-leaning groups critical of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s policies. As HBGary Federal executive Aaron Barr described in several emails, his firm could work with partner companies Palantir and Berico Technologies to manipulate fake online identities, using networks like Facebook, to gain access to private information from his targets. Other presentations are more specific and describe efforts to use social media to hack computers and find vulnerabilities among even the families of people who work at organizations critical of the Chamber.
In one email from the dump, Barr discusses a fake persona he created called “Holly Weber.” She would be born in Portland in 1984, attend Reynolds High School, and work for Lockheed Martin after a stint in the Air Force. Earlier this week, Twitter users actually identified the phony account. Before it was taken down, ThinkProgress snagged screen shots of the fake persona’s Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. (Barr also described his strategy for pretending to be teenagers online). View a screenshot of the fake account below:
Barr, who sold his illicit talents to the highest bidder, appears to be drawing on Maxim for inspiration. A Maxim covergirl named Holly Weber was also born in 1984. Unlike Barr’s creation, the Maxim one is real.
Hunton and Williams, the law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, had been immersed in talks with HBGary Federal, Palantir, and Berico to deliver on a $2 million deal to move forward with the hacking plot against the Chamber’s critics. However, after Anonymous leaked HBGary’s emails and a few reporters picked up on the story, the Chamber distanced itself from the deal. The emails show that HBGary Federal had also worked to sell “persona management” solutions to the U.S. government for cyber intelligence work.
[- edit: for more links / info check out @phracker -]
Just over a week ago the group America Atheists filed a lawsuit to prevent a cross from being erected at the World Trade Center Memorial site.
The cross in question is actually two broken girders from the original tower that were found in the rubble and roughly make the shape of the Christian cross.
Last week Blair Scott, the Communications Director for the American Atheists, appeared on Fox News show America Live to discuss the lawsuit. It went as you might imagine.
However, it’s the online aftermath that’s getting much of the attention. Following Scott’s appearance Fox News’ FaceBook page received more that 8,000 death threats against atheists.
8,000 death threats. Eight THOUSAND.
Source: Business Insider
Image credit: Leo Espinosa
One day last February, a Twitter user in California named Billy received a tweet from @JamesMTitus, identified in his profile as a “24 year old dude” from Christchurch, New Zealand, who had the avatar of a tabby cat. “If you could bring one character to life from your favorite book, who would it be?,” @JamesMTitus asked. Billy tweeted back, “Jesus,” to which @JamesMTitus replied: “honestly? no fracking way. ahahahhaa.” Their exchange continued, and Billy began following @JamesMTitus. It probably never occurred to him that the Kiwi dude with an apparent love of cats was, in fact, a robot.
JamesMTitus was manufactured by cyber-security specialists in New Zealand participating in a two-week social-engineering experiment organized by the Web Ecology Project. Based in Boston, the group had conducted demographic analyses of Chatroulette and studies of Twitter networks during the recent Middle East protests. It was now interested in a question of particular concern to social-media experts and marketers: Is it possible not only to infiltrate social networks, but also to influence them on a large scale?
The group invited three teams to program “social bots”—fake identities—that could mimic human conversation on Twitter, and then picked 500 real users on the social network, the core of whom shared a fondness for cats. The Kiwis armed JamesMTitus with a database of generic responses (“Oh, that’s very interesting, tell me more about that”) and designed it to systematically test parts of the network for what tweets generated the most responses, and then to talk to the most responsive people.
After the first week, the teams were allowed to tweak their bot’s code and to launch secondary identities designed to sabotage their competitors’ bots. One team unleashed @botcops, which alerted users, “You might want to be suspicious about JamesMTitus.” In one exchange, a British user confronted the alleged bot: “What do you say @JamesMTitus?” The robot replied obliquely, “Yeah, so true!” The Brit pressed: “Yeah so true! You mean I should be suspicious of you? Or that @botcops should be challenged?” JamesMTitus evaded detection with a vague tweet back—“Right on bro”—and acquired 109 followers over two weeks. Network graphs subsequently showed that the three teams’ bots had insinuated themselves into the center of the target network.
Can one person controlling an identity, or a group of identities, really shape social architecture? Actually, yes. The Web Ecology Project’s analysis of 2009’s post-election protests in Iran revealed that only a handful of people accounted for most of the Twitter activity there. The attempt to steer large social groups toward a particular behavior or cause has long been the province of lobbyists, whose “astroturfing” seeks to camouflage their campaigns as genuine grassroots efforts, and company employees who pose on Internet message boards as unbiased consumers to tout their products. But social bots introduce new scale: they run off a server at practically no cost, and can reach thousands of people. The details that people reveal about their lives, in freely searchable tweets and blogs, offer bots a trove of personal information to work with. “The data coming off social networks allows for more-targeted social ‘hacks’ than ever before,” says Tim Hwang, the director emeritus of the Web Ecology Project. And these hacks use “not just your interests, but your behavior.”
A week after Hwang’s experiment ended, Anonymous, a notorious hacker group, penetrated the e-mail accounts of the cyber-security firm HBGary Federal and revealed a solicitation of bids by the United States Air Force in June 2010 for “Persona Management Software”—a program that would enable the government to create multiple fake identities that trawl social-networking sites to collect data on real people and then use that data to gain credibility and to circulate propaganda.
“We hadn’t heard of anyone else doing this, but we assumed that it’s got to be happening in a big way,” says Hwang. His group has published the code for its experimental bots online, “to allow people to be aware of the problem and design countermeasures.”
The Web Ecology Project has started a spin-off group, called Pacific Social, to plan future experiments in social networking, like creating “connection-building” bots that bring together pro-democracy activists in a particular country, or ones that promote healthy habits. “There’s a lot of potential for a lot of evil here,” admits Hwang. “But there’s also a lot of potential for a lot of good.”Andy Isaacson, a writer and photographer, lives in Berkeley, Calif.
THREE anonymous teams have let loose software that pretends to be human, and used it to manipulate a group of Twitter users.
Over a two-week period, the three “socialbots” were able to integrate themselves into the group, and gained close to 250 followers between them. They received more than 240 responses to the tweets they sent.
This sinister-sounding effort was in fact part of Socialbots 2011, a competition designed to test whether bots can be used to alter the structure of a social network.
Each team had a Twitter account controlled by a socialbot. Like regular human users, the bot could follow other Twitter users and send messages. Bots were rewarded for the number of followers they amassed and the number of responses their tweets generated.
The socialbots looked at tweets sent by members of a network of Twitter users who shared a particular interest, and then generated a suitable response. In one exchange a bot asks a human user which character they would like to bring back to life from their favourite book. When the human replies “Jesus” it responds: “Honestly? no fracking way. ahahahhaa.”
Interactions like this were realistic enough to attract attention from members of the targeted community, who started to follow the bots and respond to their messages. The best-performing bot was able to gain more than 100 followers and generated almost 200 responses.
When the experiment ended last month, a before-and-after comparison of connections within the target community showed that the bots were “able to heavily shape and distort the structure of the network”, according to its organiser, Tim Hwang, founder of the startup company Robot, Robot and Hwang, based in San Francisco. Some members of the community who had not previously been directly connected were now linked, for example. Hwang has not revealed the identities of the entrants, or of the members of the 500-person Twitter network that the bots infiltrated.
The success suggests that socialbots could manipulate social networks on a larger scale, for good or ill. “We could use these bots in the future to encourage social participation or support for humanitarian causes,” Hwang claims. He also acknowledges that there is a flip side, if bots were also used to inhibit activism.
The military may already be onto the idea. Officials at US Central Command (Centcom), which oversees military activities in the Middle East and central Asia, issued a request last June for an “online persona management service”. The details of the request suggest that the military want to create and control 50 fictitious online identities who appear to be real people from Afghanistan and Iraq.
It is not clear, however, if any of the management of the fake identities would be delegated to software. A Centcom spokesperson told New Scientist that the contract supports “classified blogging activities on foreign language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US”.
Hwang has ambitious plans for the next stage of the socialbot project: “We’re going to survey and identify two sites of 5000-person unconnected Twitter communities, and over a six-to-12-month period use waves of bots to thread and rivet those clusters together into a directly connected social bridge between those two formerly independent groups,” he wrote in a blog post on 3 March. “The bot-driven social ‘scaffolding’ will then be dropped away, completing the bridge, with swarms of bots being launched to maintain the superstructure as needed,” he adds.
When this article was first posted, we gave an incorrect affiliation for Tim Hwang.