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posted by Dopefish on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the true-journalism-at-stake dept.

nobbis writes "In an article entitled 'How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations' Glenn Greenwald publishes training material from the Snowden archive that illustrates how GCHQ uses "cyber-offensive techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats", for example against "Hacktivism".

These techniques include disseminating deception on-line and harming the reputations of their targets with a honey trap , a blog from a purported victim of the target, or 'changing their photos on social media sites'. Similarly companies are discredited by leaking of confidential information, or posting negative information on appropriate forums. The covert agents' play book includes infiltration, false flag, disruption and sting operations.

When questioned GCHQ replied "It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters""

Related Stories

GCHQ Has Developed More Hacking Capabilities than Expected 7 comments

GCHQ are a bunch of over-achievers, save for one achievement: reporting the security flaws they discover in order to get them fixed. Instead, their hacking capabilities have substantially increased:

The UK has substantially increased its hacking capabilities in recent years, an official report says. This includes the ability to attack other country's communications, weapons systems and even infrastructure. The details were revealed in the annual report of the Intelligence and Security Committee, which oversees the work of intelligence agencies. It said GCHQ had "over-achieved", creating double the number of new offensive cyber-capabilities expected.

The report said GCHQ's allocation of effort to develop hacks had increased "very substantially" from 2014. The programme of developing the capabilities is divided into three tranches and GCHQ said that it had just finished the first. "We... actually over-achieved and delivered [almost double the number of] capabilities [we were aiming for," an official from the agency told the committee. The details of the successes are classified in the public version of the report.

GCHQ is also upgrading its supercomputers, an effort referred to as Project Golf:

Project GOLF (£***m over ten years) is a project to enhance the supercomputing capacity that supports much of GCHQ's work. GCHQ has told us that this project is particularly critical, as it predicts that "projected mission needs will exceed existing data centre capacity limits in ***". GCHQ noted that its relationship with the US brought significant benefits ***. GCHQ has reported that this project *** is on track to be fully operational in early 2018.

Here are the annual reports (2016-2017 PDF).

Related: How GCHQ Manipulates Online Opinion
UKs Cyber Emergency Response Unit to Launch
Court Rules UK-US Surveillance Data Sharing was Illegal
GCHQ Tried to Track Web Visits of "Every Visible User on Internet"
GCHQ Tells CEOs They Won't Rat Out Data Breaches


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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by RobotMonster on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:08PM

    by RobotMonster (130) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:08PM (#6887) Journal

    GCHQ's mom is a crack-whore. She's even on this week's cover of Crack-Whore Magazine.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by everdred on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:19PM

      by everdred (110) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:19PM (#6898) Homepage Journal

      Nice try, GCHQ.

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by RobotMonster on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:27PM

        by RobotMonster (130) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:27PM (#6904) Journal

        If I were GCHQ I would have written 'mum' instead of 'mom'.
        I'm clearly NSA. Oops. Damnit!

    • (Score: 1, Troll) by RobotMonster on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:30PM

      by RobotMonster (130) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:30PM (#6908) Journal

      Flamebait? Who gave GCHQ mod points??!

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:48PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:48PM (#6929)

        SN is one big honey pot!

        AC, even gchq can't simultaneously moderate and comment, thus is the way of Slashcode

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by maxwell demon on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:38PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:38PM (#6959) Journal

          AC, even gchq can't simultaneously moderate and comment, thus is the way of Slashcode

          There's special code in Slashcode which prevents to open two different accounts if both come from GCHQ members?

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:58AM

      by c0lo (156) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:58AM (#7120) Journal

      GCHQ's mom is a crack-whore. She's even on this week's cover of Crack-Whore Magazine.

      Didn't your parents teach you that's not nice to blame the mother for the shortcomings of her progeny? It's not like one can choose their children.

      (or... was it the other way around!?)

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by lhsi on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:15PM

    by lhsi (711) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:15PM (#6892) Journal

    When questioned GCHQ replied "It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters"

    I wonder if the statement is still correct if you ignore everything after the word "policy"...

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:19PM

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:19PM (#6896)

    Similarly companies are discredited by leaking of confidential information...

    It's too bad these intel agencies don't use their powers to do more good. I can think of a bunch of companies off the top of my head that deserve to be discredited and destroyed, for the good of society: Microsoft, Best Buy, Comcast, Verizon, BP, etc.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by etherscythe on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:29PM

      by etherscythe (937) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:29PM (#6906) Journal

      and let us never forget Monsanto

      --
      "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
      • (Score: 1) by isostatic on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:56AM

        by isostatic (365) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:56AM (#7162) Journal

        We're whalers on the moon / we carry an harpoon / but there ain't no w hales / so we tell tall tales / and sing our whaling tune

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bd on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:40PM

      by bd (2773) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:40PM (#6916)


      Similarly companies are discredited by leaking of confidential information...

      It's too bad these intel agencies don't use their powers to do more good.

      At least one employee from a certain intel agency recently applied his training in "confidential information leaking" quite successfully, I guess.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by maxwell demon on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:40PM

      by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:40PM (#6917) Journal

      Discredited by leaking confidential information?

      Ah, now I understand: Snowden was hired by the GCHQ to discredit their NSA competition. The NSA found out but it was already too late to stop him, so as retaliation they just made sure he also got a good amount of material on the GHCQ ... ;-)

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by omoc on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:26AM

      by omoc (39) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:26AM (#7149)

      actually this could get very nasty for them if there is only one hint at a foreign company that was discredited in favor of a US based company. We should not forget their spying is not about terrorism but about industrial espionage and I would not be surprised if they have a more aggressive approach to destroy overseas competition.

      • (Score: 1) by jalopezp on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:31AM

        by jalopezp (2996) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:31AM (#7225)

        Foreign... Like the UK? For whom GCHQ works? I guess it might be even worse for them if it turns out that at some point they discredited a US based company.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:51PM

      by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:51PM (#7348) Journal

      At least in the United States everything in and about government does what companies want. If the government goes after any one company, it's because their competitors outbid them in the influence game. They either spent more, or spent more on the right Senators and Congressmen who occupy key positions on the key committees. Often the Senators and Congressmen themselves have no idea why a particular lobbyist starts throwing money at them, they simply shut off their questioning circuitry, take the money, and vote how the lobbyist tells them to vote. It's the same for all parties and branches of government. All the Republican and Democrat stuff is kabuki theater to keep the public quiescent or at each other's throats instead of asking uncomfortable questions.

      What I am saying is not simple cynicism. I used to run digital for Bill Clinton's foundation, and it didn't take too many cycles of watching Bob Dylan's son Jesse walk through the door one day, then Rupert Murdoch the next, then Rachel Ray the next, then Chris Ruddy (the guy who started and funded the conspiracy that the Clintons murdered Vince Foster in the Whitehouse) the next, for me to understand that all the rest of us are being had. And through that same lens I had intimate insight into the rest of government and even most of the largest NGOs. My purpose in saying such here is not to discourage any of us from seeking change. Rather I mean to paint a clear picture of the reality of government in the United States, so we can all shake off lethargy and false hope engendered by the system as it is and take concrete, productive steps to build a better society.

      So of course no part of the government would work to discredit the people and companies that put fat envelopes of untraceable money into their pockets, so they can build 20,000 sq. ft. homes in the tonier suburbs in Virginia and drive Mercedes to work every day. That job falls to us citizens of America, and other allied people around the world who can see benefit in working together on this. It is for us to compel change. To do that, we need to build more mechanisms, inspired by open source, that circumvent the traditional means the powers-that-be use to disrupt mass action like agents provocateurs and arresting key protest leaders and agitators. If we can build those, then we will certainly achieve our goals. There are way, way more of us than there are of them, or even those who worship state power for its own sake.

      --
      Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by keplr on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:36PM

    by keplr (2104) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:36PM (#6912) Journal

    In Daniel Suarez's novel Kill Decision, the government uses bots to post procedurally generated comments that support the government's stance on issues. Actually, iirc, they outsourced the job to a private company.

    Places like 4chan, HN, Soylent News, probably aren't targeted. They go where the normal, middle-America (or the British equivalent) go. Sites like Fox News, Yahoo, and CNN. Fill up the first few dozen comments with pro-government messages and you're well on your way to manufacturing consent for whatever you want to do.

    And they would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for that meddling Snowden!

    --
    I don't respond to ACs.
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Khyber on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:41PM

      by Khyber (54) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:41PM (#6919) Journal

      4chan is DEFINITELY targeted, /pol/ mods have caught several Gov't IP addresses posting pro-gov't comments from multiple countries.

      --
      Destroying Semiconductors With Style Since 2008, and scaring you ill-educated fools since 2013.
      • (Score: 5, Funny) by bd on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:58PM

        by bd (2773) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:58PM (#6935)

        Oh no, not 4chan! One of the last reputable sources for news and education is in peril...

        Asides, one could also guess that people with Gov't IP addresses are just more likely to support the actions of their government. I mean, no competent intelligence service would use their own IP address range to launch a coordinated attack, would they? Well... now that I think about it...

        • (Score: 1) by jalopezp on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:40AM

          by jalopezp (2996) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:40AM (#7227)

          I would think that 4chan.org is blocked on any government office's network, as it's blocked at my office. Whoever was posting there with a gov IP address must have at some point got a netowrk admin to unblock 4chan for them. At this point, would an intelligence agency not realise what they were doing was idiotic? Or maybe it was the admins themselves who were posting?

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by keplr on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:22PM

        by keplr (2104) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:22PM (#6950) Journal

        It wouldn't surprise me if there were some true believers/trolls working for the government who just like to browse 4chan while at work. If the government really is targeting 4chan for PSYOPS, they're just pissing in the ocean...made of piss.

        --
        I don't respond to ACs.
        • (Score: 3, Funny) by Khyber on Wednesday February 26 2014, @01:39AM

          by Khyber (54) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @01:39AM (#7042) Journal

          Piss is sterile, at first. Add some government piss into it, it becomes toxic.

          --
          Destroying Semiconductors With Style Since 2008, and scaring you ill-educated fools since 2013.
          • (Score: 1) by similar_name on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:07AM

            by similar_name (71) on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:07AM (#7815)
            And if I'm elected I'll form a committee to address this toxicity. Is this sterility to toxicity a religious thing?
        • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:16AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:16AM (#7057)

          I'm an American and I fully support all of our government's activities. You may deride me as a "true believer" or a "shill", but that's one of the reasons I only post anonymously on stories like this. It's just too dangerous to post contrarian opinions on this topic on Slashdot or this site non-anonymously, as I've lost too much karma trying to post thought out reasoning for my position and opinion. For whatever reason the moderator group think has become gospel, and anything going against the group think is savagely modded down to -1 troll. The sad part is this opinion is a minority opinion in the USA. I'm sure I'll get marked down troll for this--hence the anonymous post--but again it's just pissing in the ocean that is the widespread popular support for our government's action.

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:06AM

            by c0lo (156) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:06AM (#7122) Journal

            I fully support all of our government's activities

            Would you care to give us a reason of why your unconditional and full support?

            (I'd mod the above +"Interesting" if I wouldn't have already posted).

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
            • (Score: 2, Insightful) by drgibbon on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:44AM

              by drgibbon (74) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:44AM (#7135) Journal

              I don't see too much interesting about it. All the post says is that he/she supports the government and that it's a daring position to take. And then comes "I've lost too much karma trying to post thought out reasoning for my position and opinion [...] hence the anonymous post". Ok, it's being posted anonymously, so where's the thought out reasoning?

              --
              Certified Soylent Fresh!
          • (Score: 1) by Darth Turbogeek on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:46AM

            by Darth Turbogeek (1073) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:46AM (#7180)

            Your country's activities are utterly without defence, that's why you get modded down.

            My country is part of Five Eyes, but you sure as fuck wont find me defending that shitstorm. They aint protecting me with that stupidity.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:46AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:46AM (#7075)

        [citation seriously needed]

        Also, /pol/? /pol/?? the site that believes everything is part of some world-wide zionist conspiracy?
        If that's the quality of sites SN is relying on, then we might as well all haul ass back to /.

    • (Score: -1) by Cactus on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:56PM

      by Cactus (32) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:56PM (#6933) Journal

      4chan is targeted by govt institutions and astroturfers for private companies. They've been caught and outed a few times.

      • (Score: 1) by keplr on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:24PM

        by keplr (2104) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:24PM (#6951) Journal

        "astroturfers for private companies"

        That I absolutely believe.

        --
        I don't respond to ACs.
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by VLM on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:57PM

      by VLM (445) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:57PM (#6934)

      My dumpy local newspaper website comments section is near 100% propaganda.

      The funniest comments are not the .gov people but the hopelessly incompetent .com people, like local real estate agents trying to talk up some slum of crack dens into the next Beverly Hills, or apparently high school dropout employees of companies covered in a negative light obviously ordered by the boss to post something in support. Also comments from relatives of criminals are often beyond hilarious, although that's getting pretty far away from the .gov control theme.

      Its worst around elections when the comments become exclusively paid political astroturfers from each side. Obviously paid piecework per post.

      I don't think you need to bother to manufacture consent anymore if .com and .gov have merged and everything you see on TV comes from like 5 megacorps. So what GE wants, both NBC and .gov are going to agree with, for example.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by keplr on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:30PM

        by keplr (2104) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:30PM (#6956) Journal

        My local (Southern California) newspaper website is full of comments by bigoted baby-boomers who hate taxes, Mexicans, young people, and especially young Mexicans using up their taxes.

        --
        I don't respond to ACs.
    • (Score: 1) by metamonkey on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:22PM

      by metamonkey (3174) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:22PM (#7288)

      I have occasionally looked at comments on cnn.com and completely agree with you. Note, I do recommend reading them yourself. That way lies madness.

      --
      Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by frojack on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:46PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:46PM (#6927) Journal

    I remember one occasion several years ago when commenting on something to do with events in Iraq on /. that the subject of IEDs came up. I mentioned local cell jammers, due to the favorite tactic at the time of using cell phones as trigger devices.

    Some guy, pretending to German totally discounted the possibility, demanding proof of how that could be done, wanting me to post links.

    I told him Google works for him as well as for me. Not playing his game.

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 1) by ikanreed on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:39PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:39PM (#6961) Journal

      I'm not sure how you expect your story to bear out your hypothesis. It just sounds like a person didn't agree with you about a thing. "I told that guy to use Google". I mean, you sure showed them, alright. Your post just makes you sound paranoid that every single discussion you have on the internet is with a federal plant, even when US intelligence is completely irrelevant to the discussion.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by frojack on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:17PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:17PM (#6975) Journal

        This was at the height of the invasion of Iraq, and there had been several stories about cell phones used for remote detonation of such IEDs in the war zone, as well as a couple small bombings in the EU.

        The over the course of several posts back and forth, it was obvious he was trying to bait me into showing him where he could find the information on line on how to do this. It was not credible that he didn't believe it to be possible to do this (since it was happening in the real world).

        The whole chain of messages was just hinky. How could someone technical enough to read /. not know this was going on or that it was possible? Yet he was quite insistent that I post links on how to do it.

        Seemed silly for me to publish such a link at precisely that time.

        (Regardless of what you think of the invasion of Iraq, they were still our guys over there, I knew many who were in the area because I live in a town close to several military bases. If he didn't know how to do this, but wanted to learn, I wasn't about to tell him how. But it seemed like he just wanted to bait me into posting it. Paranoid? Guilty as charged your honor! And hindsight suggests I had reason to be).

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 1) by zim on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:21AM

          by zim (1251) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:21AM (#7148)
          So your 'proof' is that you can't believe someone could be so stupid...
          Man... Have i got news for YOU...

          Yes. There really are people that stupid. And beyond. So much beyond. It's mindblowing.
          And they have access to cars and computers and flammable/explosive items and guns and have JOBS with responsibilites.

          And if all that wasn't scary enough. They all get to vote. AND their vote counts as much as yours does.

          Sleep tight. ;)
          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:05PM

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:05PM (#7357) Journal

            Never said anything about proof. I have no idea to this day what exactly was going on.

            Its just one example of someone sniffing around a forum that stands out in my mind
            as a potential example of the type of activity this article mentions.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Barrabas on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:35AM

      by Barrabas (22) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:35AM (#7067) Journal
      SoylentNews will have problems with these people going forward.

       
      Is there any effective way to deal with this?

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by SockPuppet on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:13AM

        by SockPuppet (157) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:13AM (#7169)

        This is an easy one:

        +----------+
        |  PLEASE  |
        |  DO NOT  |
        | FEED THE |
        |  TROLLS  |
        +----------+
            |  |
            |  |
          .\|.||/..

      • (Score: 1) by nsa on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:08AM

        by nsa (206) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:08AM (#7192)

        SoylentNews will have problems with these people going forward.

        Is there any effective way to deal with this?

        It may or may not ultimately be effective, but you could always try filing a lawsuit against us. If you go commercial, you could sue for damages, otherwise, perhaps for interference with free speech rights. If you could get some big names to get together for a class action, it may still effect social change even if ultimately losing in court. If the Snowden or other documents ever expose any sympathetic victims, they could sue under the eighth ammendment [wikipedia.org].

        "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

        "
        Claims that government agencies are infiltrating online communities and engaging in 'false flag operations' to discredit targets are often dismissed as conspiracy theories, but these documents leave no doubt they are doing precisely that. [firstlook.org] Whatever else is true, no government should be able to engage in these tactics: what justification is there for having government agencies target people - who have been charged with no crime - for reputation-destruction, infiltrate online political communities, and develop techniques for manipulating online discourse? But to allow those actions with no public knowledge or accountability is particularly unjustifiable.
        "

        The NSA Never Says Anything. The NSA Never Lies [washingtonpost.com]

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by combatserver on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:04PM

    by combatserver (38) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:04PM (#6938)

    Two words.

    Cold Fjord.

    --
    I hope I can change this later...
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Sir Garlon on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:18PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:18PM (#6948)

      It's like we need a new variant of Poe's Law [wikipedia.org]: "It is impossible to tell the difference between an NSA/GCHQ sock puppet trying to insidiously manipulate an online discussion, and a bona fide lunatic."

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:45PM (#6962)

      Yep. I posted the same thing on Slashdot. If the poster's name starts with 'c' and ends with "fjord" you have a shill post coming.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by keplr on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:09PM

        by keplr (2104) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:09PM (#6970) Journal

        The government wouldn't use the same account all the time. They want to build a false consensus around their preferred interpretation of some issue. You need lots of legitimate looking accounts to do that. He was just your typical Neocon useful idiot.

        --
        I don't respond to ACs.
        • (Score: 1) by Geotti on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:33AM

          by Geotti (1146) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:33AM (#7130) Journal

          The government wouldn't use the same account all the time.

          Oh, thank the universe! And there I was thinking this AC-guy I see around these parts could be a shill...

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:36AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:36AM (#7131)

            He sure posts a lot.

            Wait...

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:04AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:04AM (#7088)

      I don't know why people get their panties in a knot over this guy. He provides counter-points and argues his points, which is a hell of a lot more than most people over on that site. Most of the "arguments" against him are people slinging names like "shill." I spend more time over here than on Slashdot, not because of some stupid issue like an imposed facelift for that site, but because most threads are taken over by people who don't provide arguments. They attack one's character, moral conviction, and integrity because they have a different view than them.

      It is either a strong hive mind over there, and/or argumentative bullying and browbeating that goes on by the people who claim to own the moral high ground. Believe it or not, but a number of people think Assange is a self-serving prick who only looks out for himself, Snowden committed treason and the ends don't justify the means, bitcoins are for fools who want to throw their money after stupid, etc., etc., and believe it or not, a lot of people also see that these points can have nuanced stances and aren't so cut-and-dried. But express any of those views (or try to question a number of other sacred cows) and expect to be down-modded and spat on.

      I'm still clinging to the hope that some real discussion, arguments, etc. can happen over here, but it is obvious that a number of the ones that came over here are bringing a part of their hive with them. I would love to have more people like Cold Fjord over here because it would mean getting to consider that maybe, just maybe, the world is a bit more grey than the black-and-white view of the hive. Maybe he believes everything he posts, maybe he is a clever troll who likes to rattle the cage, but at least one can ignore him or engage him, but my hope is that those who are predisposed to fire off their one sentence insult would just STFU.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Pav on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:01AM

        by Pav (114) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:01AM (#7121)

        I second this - he's valuable. There most certainly are shades of grey, and he backs up his points well even though I usually disagree. An echo chamber isn't in anyones interest. We're certainly valuable to him, and perhaps more than we realise if eg. if he's somehow involved in politics. Regardless, society benefits from arguments over facts, even disputes over the veracity of facts/figures. These days most of the world spins its emotional wheels over a media landscape not particularly attached to a solid base in reality (which should terrify anyone who believes in democracy), but more should be expected from a nerd site.

    • (Score: -1) by Cold Fjord on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:59AM

      by Cold Fjord (129) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:59AM (#7102)

      Did someone say my name?

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by unitron on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:49AM

        by unitron (70) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:49AM (#7137) Journal

        "Did someone say my name?"

        No, no one ever says your name.

        In fact, when the NSA told me that no one ever says your name, they were very careful not to say your name.

        GCHQ, on the other hand, merely refer to you by their code name for you, Voldemort.

        I see where certain people on "the other site" have a few alternate names for you as well, although many of them, when they post them, can't seem to remember their own.

        --
        something something Slashcott something something Beta something something
  • (Score: 5, Funny) by maxwell demon on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:58PM

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:58PM (#6965) Journal

    See the positive side of this: From now on, you'll be able to deny responsibility for every bad post you wrote by simply claiming the NSA wrote it to discredit you. ;-)

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by moo kuh on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:34PM

    by moo kuh (2044) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:34PM (#6982) Journal

    This sounds a lot like the ministry of truth. I'd be willing to bet that other organizations are doing it too. Not just government organizations, but businesses too. 1984 is becoming a documentary.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:20PM (#7000)

    Behavior like this - government agents astroturfing in internet comments - is dishonest and immoral no matter who does it.

    Having said that, I've heard that this is regularly practiced by the Chinese government as well.

    Reading internet comments on articles about China, in influential / respectable organs like The Economist, leads me to believe that the accusation against China is true. Most if not all articles on sensitive issues related to China elicit numerous pro-CCP policy comments. Perhaps it's the language barrier, but the tone and logic in the comments leads me to believe they don't represent individual opinions; they read like the words of someone who's job it is to argue a point.

    None of the above excuses GCHQ's behavior. If anything, the similarity makes GCHQ look worse: a western government agency should not be behaving like the thought police of a undemocratic country.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Katastic on Wednesday February 26 2014, @12:20AM

    by Katastic (3340) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @12:20AM (#7019)

    Turn your website into a Church and sue the NSA under separation of Church and State.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by isostatic on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:14AM

      by isostatic (365) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:14AM (#7145) Journal

      Contrary to popular belief GCHQ is not a division of the NSA. At least legally.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Pav on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:36AM

    by Pav (114) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:36AM (#7110)

    What if splitting/crippling Slashdot, and moving Greenwald, Poitras and Scahill to an unknown new publication is part of splitting away informed readers from astroturfing efforts in more mainstream forums. A beneficial side effect is making important/damaging news seem less trustworthy coming from new/unknown sources. Sorry, but conspiracy bacon tastes too good... couldn't resist. ;)

    • (Score: 1) by Pav on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:43AM

      by Pav (114) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:43AM (#7134)

      *blink* my tinfoil-hat markup tags were stripped out. Conspiracy!!! ;)

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by unitron on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:59AM

      by unitron (70) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:59AM (#7139) Journal

      Here's another rasher.

      Over at "the other site", if you don't log in, and you look at the beta version of this story and click the thingie to get the threshold down to -1, you can see all the comments, but if you load it in classic view you can play with the sliders all you want to, but you won't see anything lower than a 2, which leaves you wondering who this cold fjord guy is and why so many people are bad-mouthing him.

      It's kinda like they sabotaged the rating system for the version of /. that the smart people use, but it never occurred to them that anyone who'd willingly look at the beta version would also think to lower the threshold to see all of the comments.

      --
      something something Slashcott something something Beta something something
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:07AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:07AM (#7191)

    They hold the process patent for online trolling/harassment. GCHQ owes them royalties.