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posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 18 2014, @04:35PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the leave-my-internet-alone dept.

mrbluze writes:

"The eye keeps getting bigger. The Guardian Reports on the U.K. Ministry of Defence's plans to weaponize social media:

With the advent of sophisticated data-processing capabilities (including big data), the big number-crunchers can detect, model and counter all manner of online activities just by detecting the behavioural patterns they see in the data and adjusting their tactics accordingly.

'Cyberwarfare of the future may be less about hacking electrical power grids and more about hacking minds by shaping the environment in which political debate takes place,' he (Dr. Tim Stevens, Kings College London) added. The research into the programmes, which are designed to emulate human conversation and are familiar as 'virtual assistants' on retailers' websites, envisages a future in which 'an influence bot could be deployed in both covert and overt ways - on the web, in IM/chatrooms/forums or in virtual worlds.'

The proposed uses for this research are to keep tabs on the activities of soldiers, as an example, but the possibility of manipulating the public is also at the forefront."

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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by TK on Tuesday March 18 2014, @04:46PM

    by TK (2760) on Tuesday March 18 2014, @04:46PM (#18157)

    So we make our own chat bots that emulate benign forum chatter so all the government chat bots are tied up with those.

    Then we start communicating through text converted to images through a captcha-like program, then jpegged to hell.

    Fixed forever.

    --
    The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
    • (Score: 5, Funny) by Bot on Tuesday March 18 2014, @05:27PM

      by Bot (3902) on Tuesday March 18 2014, @05:27PM (#18172) Journal

      Hello, TK
      Your anti-patriotic behaviour has been noted.
      Have a nice day.

      --
      Account abandoned.
    • (Score: 1) by NezSez on Tuesday March 18 2014, @07:17PM

      by NezSez (961) on Tuesday March 18 2014, @07:17PM (#18211) Journal

      Chatterbox to chatterbox conversation:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedd ed&v=WnzlbyTZsQY [youtube.com]

      Minor hilarity ensues as they say.

      I'd predict that one of their bots, designed to entrap someone into communicating damning evidence for subsequent nefarious political manipulation, will encounter another bot and a similar encounter would take place only with devastating legal consequences. Down the line I foresee bad exchanges between robot judges and robot lawyers.

      --
      No Sig to see here, move along, move along...
  • (Score: 5, Funny) by GungnirSniper on Tuesday March 18 2014, @04:59PM

    by GungnirSniper (1671) on Tuesday March 18 2014, @04:59PM (#18160) Journal

    So the government is finally going to get involved with bot-based astroturfing? Does this mean instead of "My Windows box has uptime in years!" we get "$GOVPROGRAM worked for me and my family!" instead?

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by ikanreed on Tuesday March 18 2014, @05:20PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Tuesday March 18 2014, @05:20PM (#18170) Journal

      Like spying, they totally promise government produced propaganda is only directed at other countries.

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by Bot on Tuesday March 18 2014, @05:30PM

        by Bot (3902) on Tuesday March 18 2014, @05:30PM (#18174) Journal

        Hello ikanreed
        The sarcastic tone in your comment has been noted.
        Have a nice day.

        --
        Account abandoned.
      • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Tuesday March 18 2014, @06:06PM

        by davester666 (155) on Tuesday March 18 2014, @06:06PM (#18190)

        Like spying, they totally promise government produced propaganda is only directed at non-citizens.

      • (Score: 2) by Dunbal on Tuesday March 18 2014, @06:47PM

        by Dunbal (3515) on Tuesday March 18 2014, @06:47PM (#18203)

        Or anyone who ever had anything to do with anyone in another country. Ooops.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by Bot on Tuesday March 18 2014, @05:32PM

      by Bot (3902) on Tuesday March 18 2014, @05:32PM (#18175) Journal

      Speaking of which, I just have got a hefty tax refund for me and my family. Isn't our government wonderful?

      --
      Account abandoned.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Sir Garlon on Tuesday March 18 2014, @05:03PM

    by Sir Garlon (1264) on Tuesday March 18 2014, @05:03PM (#18162)

    It sounds to me like the MoD is groping, somewhat blindly, to come to grips with fourth generation warfare [antiwar.com], in which propaganda and psychological operations constitute a "moral battlefield" and are central to victory.

    Note: the article I linked to is by Wiliam S. Lind [wikipedia.org], who is apparently such a flaming bigot he can't resist throwing in some xenophobic opinions along with his analysis. Just because I think the article is sound and worth reading should not imply that I agree with the author's racist/Islamophobic personal views.

    --
    [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by MrGuy on Tuesday March 18 2014, @05:28PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Tuesday March 18 2014, @05:28PM (#18173)
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by SuperCharlie on Wednesday March 19 2014, @02:57AM

    by SuperCharlie (2939) on Wednesday March 19 2014, @02:57AM (#18374)

    Im on a news site.. well..was.. and I continually got bombarded with "So what if they know about my fish.. this is my post almost a year ago that seems kinda relevant here..

    On White House Lashes Out Over Snowden Case | Jun 25, 2013 9:26 AM CDT

    Since the media wont talk about the real issue of spying on US citizens and why.. let me put on my tinfoil hat once again and throw this out.. let me remind you this is the same tinfoil hat that I wore saying this was going on for the last 3 years.

    First, what does "national security" mean? Do you think of central banks and the federal reserve when you hear national security? Do you think of "too big to fail" banks? Do you think of the stock market and stocks? Probably not.. its them damn terrrrists...

    So we have an ongoing process of data collection..from every source, for every nugget they can get their hands on. We are "blessed" with many of the fastest computers on earth here in the US.. processing power on a scale that is practically incomprehensible.. even for me.. a 20 year tech vet. Once you put those two things together.. you get some really interesting opportunities. Now for the tinfoil hat..

    Lets say for a moment that the stock markets, interest rates, and a litany of fiscal issues are technically governed by public sentiment. Feel good about the economy? Feel bad about the economy? It really does matter. What if you could take all that data, all the posts about your fish, all the posts about that recipe, all that data.. and crunch it in almost real time to create a sort of public sentiment weather report. Say you could run simulations against this data set.. how would they feel about a new war.. how about the elections.. how about if we shoot a few people, how about if we lower the average income by 20%.. lot of interesting things to throw at that..

    Now say you could actually create online presences.. by the millions.. people to post and tweet, people to reply and thumbs down, a virtual army of public opinion, many of whom are probably years old and have ingrained presences in many many places. Think of the power one could attain simply with the data set, the algorithms to analyze it, and the capability to manipulate the public sentiment. This is perfectly possible. This is why you should care about your moms recipe being captured.

    This is the new world version of control. I realize I will probably now need to put on the flame suit as the people who cant wrap their heads around this being possible will have seizures. remember tho.. it was impossible for what is happening now to happen as well.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by monster on Wednesday March 19 2014, @08:56AM

      by monster (1260) on Wednesday March 19 2014, @08:56AM (#18463) Journal

      You don't need to think that far. All of this is nothing more than COINTELPRO techniques applied to the general public. They have decided that anybody who desn't share their vision of how the country should be is an enemy to be controlled and it could be anyone, so better to spy and control everyone just to be safe.

    • (Score: 1) by TK on Wednesday March 19 2014, @01:29PM

      by TK (2760) on Wednesday March 19 2014, @01:29PM (#18526)

      If I hadn't already posted, I'd mod you up Interesting.

      I remember a news story a while back on the other site that some company was offering a service to emulate your posts online after you die. I could imagine similar tech being applied to this problem:

      Make an account on a forum, have one of your flesh and blood agents control it for say, one year. After that period of time, the bot could take over and continue in a similar style as the original owner, with occasional postings by a real person as needed. Those that accuse them of being a bot or a shill can be referred to the old posts as "proof" to the contrary.

      --
      The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
      • (Score: 1) by SuperCharlie on Wednesday March 19 2014, @02:29PM

        by SuperCharlie (2939) on Wednesday March 19 2014, @02:29PM (#18556)

        Agree this is totally possible. The part that is bothersome isnt necessarily the computer doing some of your talking..its the manipulation end of it that is the evil in this..