Project Vigilant: One Nearly Homeless Guy Talking Big?

from the vigilant-indeed dept

So there was a lot of attention paid last week to a newly unveiled "Project Vigilant," which supposedly had a bunch of security experts secretly monitoring internet traffic privately for the US government. However, the more people looked at the details, the more sketchy the whole thing became, and some of us started wondering if the whole thing was a hoax to prove how gullible the media is on security issues (a popular pasttime at Defcon, where this all went down).

Now, Declan McCullough, who has apparently known the guy supposedly "running" the operation, Chet Uber, for years, has an article suggesting that, while it might not be a hoax, it sure sounds like one guy making very little sound like it's a lot. And, not just one guy, but a nearly homeless guy, who couldn't afford a razor until his disability check came in the mail, the day that McCullough spoke to him.

Basically, it sounds like Uber talks big, but there's little, if anything, to back any of it up -- and, at times, doesn't much sense at all:
Uber has a habit of making pronouncements that manage to be both grand and incomprehensible. Two months ago, he sent me an e-mail about Project Vigilant that said, in part: "We do not look at attribution ever as a 100 percent solution. We do see offering a high level of confidence determined by showing correlation that are consistent with perceived events in this time-space model--causality is a bitch--and then based on how that correlation was done and our view of the reliability of the sources and methods used we have a confidence interval."

In conversations over the last week, Uber dropped phrases like "we have dozens and dozens of things that are ready to go to patent pending," "we're running hundreds and hundreds of different experiments," "we've developed steganography and compression algorithms and the use of noise," and "we have the capability to monitor up to 250 million IP addresses per day."
As for the claims of various well-known folks involved with the project? Well, that seems to again be blown out of proportion. One of the "big names" involved is Mark Rasch, who apparently gave Uber free legal advice at some point. When asked about the project, Rasch told McCullough: "I don't know if he's done this or it's something he's looking to do."

Of course, now we can get the conspiracy theories going about how this story is also a hoax to lessen the concerns about this group's supposed monitoring of the internet (yes, please?). But, seriously, this sounds like one guy talking really big without much to back it up. Not quite a hoax, but not quite anything serious either.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 4:20pm

    If Chet Uber is telling the truth, then we are very close to having a Big Brother type society. I find that rather scary. If he's really exaggerating that much, then the media really are very gullible and easy to deceive. That would mean we can't really trust anything they tell us. That is also rather disturbing, but not as disturbing as if the surveillance is really happening. How can we know which is the case though?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 4:25pm

    Someone should reenact that as a 3d animation.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBvakgglAPM

    In Asia news is so much funnier.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 7:01pm

    Gets more interesting the less is certain.

    Here's the little that seems nailed down:

    1) Uber.

    2) Adrian Lamo is a member of Project Vigilant.

    3) Lamo ratted out Manning of Wikileaks documents and helicopter video.

    4) Mark Rasch is general counsel of PV.

    5) PV has $40,000 income from unknown sources for unknown expenses.

    6) Uber traveled to Las Vegas for "recruiting".

    7) The story is being "rolled back", especially by the lawyer, Rasch. -- And it's done without actually disproving or denying anything, just mostly adding vagueness and noise.

    Don't know if I previously made clear that one goal might simply be to accustom people to omnipresent spying. According to the "Top Secret America" report, there are 850,000 spooks and semi-spooks on gov't payroll, so it may be time to put out stories about "the spy next door".

    We definitely have a group of *three* people, one having a direct link to whatever Wikileaks is, so there *is* a conspiracy of some sort.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 7:08pm

    Re:

    Yes, because I want to hear "causality is a bitch" in mandarin.

    I love the shirtless hug near the end.

    Ready to go patent pending???? Once you submit your application you can go patent pending.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 7:09pm

    Re:

    Yes, because I want to hear "causality is a bitch" in mandarin.

    I love the shirtless hug near the end.

    Ready to go patent pending???? Once you submit your application you can go patent pending.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Aug 11th, 2010 @ 4:52am

    "We do not look at attribution ever as a 100 percent solution. We do see offering a high level of confidence determined by showing correlation that are consistent with perceived events in this time-space model--causality is a bitch--and then based on how that correlation was done and our view of the reliability of the sources and methods used we have a confidence interval."

    Sounds like BS

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2010 @ 6:27am

    Re: Re:

    Ready to go patent pending???? Once you submit your application you can go patent pending.

    I think that's the point. He has things he'd apply for, but he can't afford the application fees.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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