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NRT: GCHQ’s bag of dirty tricks

Written By: - Date published: 11:48 am, July 16th, 2014 - 11 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, democratic participation, internet, Politics, Spying, uk politics - Tags: , , ,

no-right-turn-256Reposted from No Right Turn.

The latest NSALeak: a look inside GCHQ’s bag of dirty tricks:

The UK intelligence agency GCHQ has developed sophisticated tools to manipulate online polls, spam targets with SMS messages, track people by impersonating spammers and monitor social media postings, according to newly-published documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The documents – which were published on First Look Media with accompanying analysis from Glenn Greenwald – disclose a range of GCHQ “effects” programs aimed at tracking targets, spreading information, and manipulating online debates and statistics.

[…]

Among the programs revealed in the document are:

  • GATEWAY: the “ability to artificially increase traffic to a website”.
  • CLEAN SWEEP which “masquerade[s] Facebook wall posts for individuals or entire countries”.
  • SCRAPHEAP CHALLENGE for “perfect spoofing of emails from BlackBerry targets”.
  • UNDERPASS to “change outcome of online polls”.
  • SPRING BISHOP to find “private photos of targets on Facebook”.

The document also details a range of programs designed to collect and store public postings from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, and to make automated postings on several of the social networks.

This isn’t just intelligence gathering – these are tools to allow GCHQ to manipulate society for the benefit of themselves and their political masters. Which raises the obvious question: are they already doing it?

With so much now done online, the idea that government spies are secretly intervening to shape our conversations and manipulate public opinion should be deeply troubling. These tools – or ones similar to them – could allow GCHQ to choose governments, topple uncooperative Ministers, and attack human rights groups who object to all this. This makes GCHQ a standing threat to the UK’s democracy – and one which needs to be eliminated.

11 comments on “NRT: GCHQ’s bag of dirty tricks”

  1. karol 1

    With so much now done online, the idea that government spies are secretly intervening to shape our conversations and manipulate public opinion should be deeply troubling.

    Yes. And one of my concerns about the use of The Worm Reactor by Scoop and Roy Morgan this election.

  2. Tracey 2

    I am sure if it is true, it wont be happening here.

  3. Jenny 3

    This isn’t just intelligence gathering – these are tools to allow GCHQ to manipulate society for the benefit of themselves and their political masters.

    This begs the question: who are their political masters? Is it parliament, is it vested interest, is it the civil service, is it the public, is it a foreign power?

    The clues will be who they spy on and who they share this information with.

    We know that even MPs are spied on, and all but the Prime MInister are not briefed by them and we know that not even the Prime Minister gets to have full spectrum access. So it is not parliament.

    We know that the public are the target for mass surveilance, and are spied on in mass and at will and hardly ever, is anything discovered ever shared with them. So it is not the public.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      This begs the question: who are their political masters? Is it parliament, is it vested interest, is it the civil service, is it the public, is it a foreign power?

      It’s an elite melding of political, corporate and banking power, I suspect.

      • minarch 3.1.1

        it wos the Rothschilds that dun it…………..

      • Chooky 3.1.2

        this power oligarchy who spies and seeks to feather their own nests at the expence of everyone else and nation’s democracies …..should be the focus of all grassroots democracies

  4. Sablea 4

    Yes this can all be found on RT News. Worse still our legal system and political affiliations are linked to the UK’s. Not hard to see why our rights are being trodden under foot by the same brand of shysters…

  5. Jrobin 5

    Yes I watch RT too. Max Keiser my personal favourite, mad as a snake but a witty insider gone rogue. Tracey are you serious? If so why not. NZ is the pet example of the Neo liberal dinosaurs. Our rock star old fashioned Neo con economy is their proof they were right all along despite GFC.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Abby Martin is outstanding as well; Max and Stacey are definitely good fun.

  6. greywarbler 6

    And Aaron Swartz was a black criminal on a par with someone complicit in 19 murders.
    For making information in large amounts available so possibly denying the host library a photocopying charge of 8cents a page. RIP AARON.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      a tragic case and indicative of what the powers that be are willing to do to ruin lives.

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