I feel such a failure
I couldn't answer any of the questions. There must be something wrong with me. Maybe some kind politician can fill it out for me. I've heard that Home Secretary lady is very good with words. Should I ask her?
UK eavesdropping nerve center GCHQ has developed tools to manipulate online polls, ramp up page views for articles, and obtain private photos on Facebook. That's according to Glenn Greenwald's latest trawling of documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The surveillance agency can also, we're told, arrange calls between two selected …
You are being naive
Governments have been doing this since that day 60k years ago when the weaker, less hairy, but more devious progenitor took over the territories controlled by the neandertals. PR is one of the 3 oldest professions (though in those days it was usually a part time profession of the priests).
As far as the current government, all you need to know about it, is its choice of PR advisor after coming to power: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Coulson
Actuially, it would make little or no difference, for at least two reasons.
First, the accuracy of any poll in which respondents select themselves is quite low to begin with, and any intervention by the various agencies is very unlikely to affect meaningful opinion measurements, as such polls usually do not produce any.
Second, polls - well-done or not - mostly reflect opinion. Evidence that the announced results drive opinion is somewhere between nonexistent and weak. There probably is a small effect at the margins, but not enough to matter much.
The most productive use for poll-fiddling might be to bend them toward results that show (a) a need for more agency funding and (b) that most of the people are not all that uncomfortable with agency activities. My guess, notwithstanding all the furor, is that (b) is not far from the truth anyhow.
A humorous article with a joke poll but with a very serious point.
You are the enemy as far as the security services are concerned, we all are. It's just the way that the people drawn to this sort of organisation think.
Unfortunately James Bond is a fictional character so what he does does not matter. What GCHQ does, does matter and it matters a lot. They are for real and the peculiar mind-set means that whatever they can think up to subvert the security of your most personal and private conversations and other things you might want to keep private is acceptable. At least it is to them and their masters in Whitehall.
Sadly the vast majority of users of the internet have no interest in what is being done with their personal data, how else would the likes of Google and Facebook flourish otherwise? For those who do care, take all the steps you can to protect yourself. It may not be much but we must try and hang on to any vestiges of privacy that we have left.
Well, yes, but then we do love the fictional idea of our security services being all powerful and protecting us from all the bad guys. It's just the difference between reality and fiction we don't seem to cope with, in reality we seem to be much more comfortable with all powerful bad guys who can do what they like without the fear of being caught, just so long as the security services can't look at me. Just remember if the security services can do it, so can the bad guys, and just because you saw it on Spooks, doesn't mean it's real, ditto CSI, NCIS and other TV series.
Actually, I haven't been comfortable with the plotlines where Bond breaks the law for several years now. I am always annoyed that there isn't a scene at the end of those stories where he is disciplined and/or handed over to the police, with a lecture that being right doesn't justify illegality for an officer of the Crown.
[I know this sounds a sarcastic, but it isn't - I mean what I say.]
Have you seen the names of some of these capabilities?
Code names are in British parlance supposed to be randomly generated and unrelated to the subject matter to make guessing the content of an operation/program from the title totally impossible, unlike the American practice of coming up with a descriptive name it so that if you discover (or overhear) the name of a program you can make a reasonably accurate guess as to it's purpose.
Some of those programs (eg forging SMTP headers under program CHANGLING) seem a little Americanised which makes one wonder where they came from originally. On the other hand, dealing with users frequently I wouldn't want to overlook the simplest explanation that GHCQ can't get staff to follow simple (and very well known) naming guidelines that have been around since WW2.
Which doesn't fill one with the greatest of confidence when we are told those people are supervised against unauthorised activity.
Re: "Communications cannot be viewed or examined by an analyst other than in strictly controlled circumstances."
Controlled by who?
We are so used to senseless BS from these people it all just fades into noise.
We need to stop negotiating the terms of our servitude and demand liberty. These guys sure do not represent me. As far as I am concerned, the perpetrators of all this nonsense belong in prison.
How wrong I was...
"UK eavesdropping nerve center GCHQ has developed tools to manipulate online polls, ramp up page views for articles, and obtain private photos on Facebook. That's according to Glenn Greenwald's latest trawling of documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The surveillance agency can also, we're told, arrange calls between two selected phones, sorta like a Chatroulette for spies, and find web videos deemed to be extremist so they can be taken down. User accounts on computers can be nuked at will, and comments favored by the Establishment can be made more prominent on pages....".
some of the comments on polls and articles around what passes for mass media defy reason and common skepticism. Some of the phone polls I had inflicted on my shell pink lughole when I had a landline were like this ElReg effort. One could only choose a "correct" response, anything else was categorised as undecided.
"As would ramping up page views on articles..."
Pushing irrelevant stories (or waiting till something diverting appears before you realse bad news) to divert interest from your own misdeeds is as old as the hills. For the last 18 months or so, the BBCs "most popular stories" sidebar has been very wobbly, dredging up stories from the depths of the past, often funny or interesting, which then push other contemporary stories out of the list for a few days. I've often wondered if it was mischief (a bunch of Turks famously manipulated a "greatest figure of the 20th century" poll in favour of Attaturk) or perhaps malice, but always assumed it would be something pushed by commercial interests to get rid of bad news from the front pages - Trafigura springs to mind.
Now I have to wonder who exactly is pressing the buttons, and how they're doing it. At one level it looks trivial enough, at another its little different to selling your soul to Rupe to get the story about the Tory Minister, the sheep and the honey. Polling, either public or private, very often drives the news agenda, and the commentary generated by a controversial one can occupy the prime spots for days, dominating the public discourse. Pushing stories out of sight is even easier, and the most insidious thing about either method is that it becomes self perpetuating once it gets rolling.
People are easily enough influenced, as recognised by tyrants throughout history, and though a single case may look trivial in isolation, in total its a subversion of democracy and freedom of thought by denying access to a full spread of the information available. How anyone can see it as a misdemeanour that can be dealt with by 'transparency' is beyond me. It is functionally no better that what was practiced by any number of supposed 'regimes' routinely condemned by our greedy self serving political class.
If there's one thing I object to above all, its being told (or being nudged into) what to think; 'more relevant advertising', '...just hard working families...', 'lack of patriotism', 'keeping the public safe', and '75% of people believe' are fundamentally equally wrong if the intent is to manipulate. It makes a mockery of the idea of a free society, and its high time those of us who value freedom of thought start making a good deal more noise, and stop taking 'no' for an answer.
Facebook's "trending" is as bad. When the Costa Concordia was righted all the new stories kept mentioning that it was actually bigger than the Titanic. So Facebook decided that the Titanic was a trending story.
Companies buy likes and pay for positive comments for their stuff and some pay for negative comments on rival products.
Going from that sort of stuff GCHQ "manipulating" stuff like that isn't exactly unexpected.
Now I have to wonder who exactly is pressing the buttons, and how they're doing it.
WHO EXACTLY IS PRESSING THE BUTTONS (here's some of the uk agencies involved as a matter of public/parliamentary record)
HOW THEY'RE DOING IT
21/02/2011 10:25 FBO.GOV [US Government solicitations & tendering process] Persona Management Software. Solicitation Number: RTB220610 Agency: Department of the Air Force Office: Air Mobility Command Location: 6th Contracting Squadron
6 tenders from
1) GLOBAL BUSINESS SOLUTION AND ASSOCIATES LLC, GRAND RAPIDS
2) Uk Plus Logistics Services Ltd Kabul Afghanistan
3) NevinTelecom, CA 96391
4) BUNKERCOMMUNICATIONS, TX
5) HBGARY FEDERAL, 3604 FAIR OAKS BLVD SACRAMENTO, CA [famous!]
6) PLANMATRIX LLC, CASTLE ROCK, CO
Synopsis: Added: Jun 22, 2010 1:42 pm Modified: Jun 22, 2010 2:07 pm 0001- Online Persona Management Service. 50 User [Workstation] Licenses, 10 Personas per user [Workstation]. Software will allow 10 personas per user [Workstation], replete with background , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographacilly consistent. Individual applications will enable an operator to exercise a number of different online persons from the same workstation and without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries. Personas must be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world and can interact through conventional online services and social media platforms. The service includes a user friendly application environment to maximize the user's situational awareness by displaying real-time local information.
[ten plausible identities per workstation, many thousand workstations]
Hmm i looked at their list and wasnt overly impressed:
CONCRETE DONKEY -> robodialer, presumably rented out in spare time to PPI and solar panel companys
BUMPERCAR -> clicking on the report this video button
CLUMSY BEEKEEPER -> IRC bot
BADGER -> spam
BOMB BAY -> link farming
BURLESQUE -> SMS spam
GAMBIT -> Wifi pineapple
GLITTERBALL -> excuse to play sadville in work time
IMPERIAL BARGE -> standard level of service from BT
PITBULL -> IM spam
GATEWAY -> too small a botnet to actually DDOS
SERPENTS TONGUE -> who the fuck uses fax anymore, do they also have attacks on telex??
SKYSCRAPER -> uploading videos to youtube
SWAMP DONKEY -> repackaged cryptolocker virus
OUTWARD -> GNU inetutils, nmap dig etc
SLAMMER -> probably an internal wiki give how unimpressive the rest is
HAVOK -> ettercap
WURLITZER -> multiupload.biz
There was me thinking I had my own El Reg stalker - one downvote on rather a lot of posts - and it turns out it was just a GCHQ bot all the time.
Still, things have improved. When a close relative was being positively vetted, I had a girlfriend from a naughty country. My phone was tapped for several weeks, and the signal degradation was really annoying. At least nowadays you don't notice when they are bugging you.
Two weeks ago they blast out for a umph period about 12 billion in the next 10 years on silicon round about...
Then they report actually there is issues with bandwith/broadband in the silicon round about :
+ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/online/does-not-compute-uks-silicon-roundabout-hit-by-lack-of-brain-power-7900012.html skills shortage..
Hmm skills shortage - due to education standards at all ?
12 billion and yet no internet hahaha
Like having a ferrari but no driving license
hey ho all the money in the world to spend on third party gizmos kits to spy on the civilians
That Big Marketing Hype thing in London?
Oh well then, the lack of decent Internet connectivity is merely an oversight caused by stupidity.
The fashionable set probably thought setting up trendy offices with a nice cafe culture would be enough to bring in business.
The Techy Businesses would bring the internet with them, wouldn't they?
"UK eavesdropping nerve center GCHQ has developed tools to manipulate online polls, ramp up page views for articles,"
So are they planning on offering their Services as a Marketing Firm.?
With tools like that, they should. Might actually make an addition to the UK Government Income...
"GCHQ-M Helped us generate a positive public image for our latest product."
"GCHQ-M Services helped us overcome negative press over our proposed urban meat processing plant, sewage farm and dyers works."
- A.n.y weird Conglomerate
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022