New Snowden Doc Reveals How GCHQ/NSA Use The Internet To 'Manipulate, Deceive And Destroy Reputations'

from the and-not-just-terrorists dept

A few weeks ago, Glenn Greenwald, while working with NBC News, revealed some details of a GCHQ presentation concerning how the surveillance organization had a "dirty tricks" group known as JTRIG -- the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group. Now, over at The Intercept, he's revealed the entire presentation and highlighted more details about how JTRIG would seek to infiltrate different groups online and destroy people's reputations -- going way, way, way beyond just targeting terrorist groups and threats to national security.
Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums.
For years, people have said that the purpose of groups like the NSA and GCHQ were merely "signals intelligence," which were about understanding and decoding signals, not about taking any sort of offensive standpoint. However, as the Snowden docs have repeatedly revealed, the mandate of these organizations has long been much more offensively based, and they seem to have little problem with using questionable tactics to destroy people's lives. As Greenwald notes, is this really a power you trust a totally secretive government agency with almost no real oversight to use without it being abused?

There's a lot more in Greenwald's writeup, which you should read, but just a few of the key slides are worth reading to get a sense of what's going on here. This isn't just about infiltrating terrorist organizations. They seem to be using these kinds of techniques on just about anyone they dislike, which harkens back to the Hoover-era FBI infiltrating and seeking to discredit anti-war groups. It also raises very serious questions about whether these efforts are being used to stifle political expression.










The full presentation is embedded below. The cover slide is really something...

Filed Under: gchq, glenn greenwald, jtrig, nsa


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2014 @ 6:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    When you analyze their role, administrative systems function as a means of passing requests from a person making the request to the person that can respond to the request, and are needed when communication capabilities are limited to one to one, letter, phone etc, and one to many, newspapers, radio and television. The Internet brings many to many communications systems to society, with many potential cross posts between different groups. This allows society to self organize on an ad-hoc basis to solve problems, eliminating the need for much of the existing administrative systems. Remove much of the fixed administrative system and the main lever used by tyrants to gain control over society is also removed. The Internet is providing the one thing required to enable a libertarian government to exist, unfettered many to many communications without having to use a representative to a talking shop, or gatekeeper to a broadcast medium.
    Interestingly, such ad-hoc systems often end up with more knowledge available to the system, as messages are seen by many watchers who can join the conversation if they have anything relevant to say.

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