South Korean Spy Agency Allegedly Tried To Influence Presidential Vote - By Posting 1.2 Million Tweets

from the vote-vote-vote dept

Twitter is still a young medium, and it's interesting to see yet more uses being found for it. Here's a rather dubious one from South Korea:

Agents from the National Intelligence Service of South Korea posted more than 1.2 million Twitter messages last year to try to sway public opinion in favor of Park Geun-hye, then a presidential candidate, and her party ahead of elections in 2012, state prosecutors said on Thursday.
As the New York Times post quoted above goes on to explain, the whole story is rather murky and complicated. One of the curious claims being made by the Korean spy agency accused of interfering with the election process is the following:
The intelligence service said its online messages were posted as part of normal psychological warfare operations against North Korea, which it said used the Internet to criticize South Korean government policies, forcing its agents to defend them online. In a statement on Thursday, it also accused the prosecutors of citing as their evidence online postings that had nothing to do with its agents.
Even if that's true, other departments may have gone beyond simply defending the government of South Korea to attack its political rivals:
In a separate inquiry, military investigators are looking into South Korea's Cyberwarfare Command after it was revealed last month in Parliament that some of its officials had conducted a similar online campaign against opposition candidates. The Cyberwarfare Command was created in 2010 to guard South Korea against hacking threats from North Korea.
That raises a very real problem with these kinds of online operations: they can easily be misused for purely political purposes, and oversight is easy to evade, since it's all about moving bits around. Of course, exactly the same could be said about the blanket surveillance being carried out by the NSA and GCHQ....

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Reader Comments (rss)

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    Ninja (profile), Dec 9th, 2013 @ 2:01am

    Any resemblance?

    Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Stasi... Did we not learn?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2013 @ 3:53am

      Re: Any resemblance?

      You're asking that People who go into politics for the sole purpose of fucking with people have the public's interests at heart.

      This is naive in the extreme in the modern age.

       

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

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2013 @ 4:01am

      Re: Any resemblance?

      What we have not learnt is that many people who seek power, be it in politicians, as managers or as senior bureaucrats are people that should be put in a cage rather than let into positions of power.

       

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

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2013 @ 4:42am

    Not being a follower of Korean politics, I am unaware of the outcome. Did the attempt succeed?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2013 @ 6:42am

    [i]That raises a very real problem with these kinds of online operations: they can easily be misused for purely political purposes, and oversight is easy to evade, since it's all about moving bits around. Of course, exactly the same could be said about the blanket surveillance being carried out by the NSA and GCHQ.... [/i]

    In what way? They both tell their governments what they are doing in the least untruthful way possible. And, Congress and Parliament could always just defund them. Therefore, perfect oversight.

     

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    Nick (profile), Dec 9th, 2013 @ 8:13am

    But! But! Terrorism!

    *Dusts off hands*

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    and this sort of thing hasn't happened anywhere else then? yeah, right!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2013 @ 9:58am

    US too

    The US military also has a very large covert online propaganda operation. I wonder how much they're steering US politics.

     

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


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