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Feds Plan 'Fog of Disinformation' To Track Information Leaks 263

Posted by timothy
from the surely-this-is-a-very-old-technique dept.
skipkent tips a story at Wired's Danger Room, according to which "Pentagon-funded researchers have come up with a new plan for busting leakers: Spot them by how they search, and then entice the secret-spillers with decoy documents that will give them away. Computer scientists call it it 'Fog Computing' — a play on today's cloud computing craze. And in a recent paper for Darpa, the Pentagon's premiere research arm, researchers say they've built 'a prototype for automatically generating and distributing believable misinformation and then tracking access and attempted misuse of it. We call this "disinformation technology."'"
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Feds Plan 'Fog of Disinformation' To Track Information Leaks

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  • aka... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:23PM (#40556461)

    Counterintelligence. Same game, new enemy. It worries me when the enemies start to become ourselves. It may be foreshadowing what's to come.

    • Counterintelligence. Same game, new enemy. It worries me when the enemies start to become ourselves. It may be foreshadowing what's to come.

      True, and I first thought this would have been more effective if they hadn't announced it. I guess given that they know there is a leak, the ones you don't want to know would know anyway.

      • Re:aka... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:51PM (#40556917)

        I figure it would send a message to the leakers. That is, be careful what you leak, we may just find you.

        • by F69631 (2421974) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @05:30PM (#40557379)

          They might be sending message to the wider public: "Oh, you saw documents that state we are up to something really evil? Well... you can't know whether they're accurate or planted by us. If you were certain they were accurate, you might be willing to risk it all to do the right thing but now that you aren't certain... Do you feel lucky?"

          The point of censorship is never to prevent access to information by a few dedicated people. It is to allow the masses - who want to feel like good people - a way to shield themselves from everything evil the government does so they have a way to rationalize to themselves why they don't do what they know to be the right thing. This is exactly that.

      • Re:aka... (Score:5, Funny)

        by zill (1690130) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @05:55PM (#40557693)

        and I first thought this would have been more effective if they hadn't announced it.

        This is actually all fake. They pretended there was a disinformation campaign when there wasn't so that the enemies would think there is a disinformation campaign going on.

        Of course if this were true there is no way such a secret will be revealed in a random /. comment.



        Unless, of course, said /. comment is also part of the disinformation campaign







        ...or maybe that's just what they want you to think.

        • Of course if this were true there is no way such a secret will be revealed in a random /. comment.

          I'm pretty sure regardless of the quality of this article, there is still no way anything useful for purposes other than entertainment will be revealed in Slashdot comments.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        It's already old tech, it's called creating a honey pot, nothing new here. When you create honey pots, you announce them, much the same as a mine field, it helps to keep away amateurs so that you can focus on professionals. This is of course similar to the reason professionals give away their hacking tools free, so that they can hide their attacks behind hundreds even thousands of amateurs.

        Taking into account the cost of computer equipment, any network where security is a real issue should be running a p

    • Re:aka... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by demachina (71715) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @05:04PM (#40557079)

      I'm curious how they are going to flood their own people with a "fog of disinformation" and not cause chaos. The information has to be believable but false, and once its out there how do they stop their own people from acting on it as though it is accurate?

      Maybe if they have someone who is already a suspect and target it only at them they can contain the self inflicted damage, but if they start to dessimate information on any scale the self inflicted damage they could outweigh the damage the leakers do.

      If someone is already a suspect I doubt they really need this tactic to nail them.

      Once it becomes a wide spread suspicion that there is intentional disinformation in the system, wouldn't everyone stop trusting all the information.

      Of course after the "missile gap, WMD's in Iraq and reading some of the stuff that came out of the State department and DOD through Wikileaks the quality of their information is already pretty shitty. Maybe this is just a way to thrown in the towel on intelligence and information gathering and admit its all garbage so they should just make it all up, because its cheaper.

      A possible ulterior motive is they actually want to flood leakers with disinformation, and in turn flood news channels with misinformation, so they can mislead and bombard the public with propaganda but have plausible deniability that thats what they are doing.

    • by siddesu (698447)
      AKA entrapment. It is "counterintelligence" when you do it to the bad guys, who live abroad and hate you for your freedomz, not to the good guys who point out the bad things your government does. BTW, "domestic counterintelligence" was one of KGB's most important departments. They did exactly the same thing -- go after the people at home who were dissatisfied with the politicians.
      • That is a very, very good point.

        Although acquiring the information is going to be a crime in itself, it's generally not treason even to hack into a government computer. But releasing information can be much worse. So if they put this stuff up there, what about the person that exercises judgment? Even if I came by it through legitimate means, I'd never release information that didn't expose corruption of some sort, but I'd have to think long and hard about information that did. If it's bad enough, somebody w

      • by Shavano (2541114)
        No entrapment is when you actively encourage someone to commit a crime. Giving somebody opportunity is not the same thing. One of the purposes here is also to get foreign governments to doubt the veracity of whatever information their agents dig up. It's already suspect but if the foreign governments alsoknow the Pentagon is actively generating disinformation for them to "find" they'll be doubly doubtful.
    • by Catbeller (118204)

      "Same game, new enemy."

      WE THE PEOPLE are the enemy! They are fighting their own nation for the quiet right to lie to us. They are waging war against our ability to get the truth, and treating reporters and sources as terrorists. What few are left.

      • by Catbeller (118204)

        Bit redundant there... sorry, tired, hit reply too soon. Wish I could unpost. Good first post, tho. Well done.

  • I though disinformation is SOP with Governments... Or maybe it is just a British govt trait.

    • by jd (1658)

      What's new is that the US Government hasn't officially used disinformation against its own public before as that's "illegal", they've only unofficially done so.

  • by AftanGustur (7715) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:23PM (#40556467) Homepage
    All they really need is to alter a few words in sentences depending on who is accessing the document.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      All they really need is to alter a few words in sentences depending on who is accessing the document.

      I wonder which thread this article came from and who is going to be nailed to the barn door for it.

      I seriously wonder at the sense of telling people you are going to do something - this just forewarns them, if you are going to leak, put the words together by your own interpretation. But if the whole concept of the potential leak is bollox then even scrambling a few words won't be enough to hide where the leak comes from.

      and according to my sources, NASA have developed a new balloon using nanotubes capable

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        seriously wonder at the sense of telling people you are going to do something - this just forewarns them

        Perhaps its about actually stopping leaks rather than finding more folks to toss into the clink. The only reason to punish leakers in the first place is to send the message to other would be leakers that its not acceptable. If you can scare the would be leakers into not leaking things in the first place, that is a win. Documents don't get out and you don't have to do damage control.

    • Re:Better yet. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by stephanruby (542433) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:47PM (#40556875)

      All they really need is to alter a few words in sentences depending on who is accessing the document.

      What you're talking about is a simple form of watermarking. What they're talking about, since they're calling it "disinformation", is much more than that.

      Now only the 4-star generals will know which spy plane blueprints are real, and which diplomatic cables are true, so no information will be actionable until it first gets reviewed and validated by a 4-star general first.

      • Re:Better yet. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by capnchicken (664317) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @05:08PM (#40557121)

        That sounds scalable. /sarcasm

        The big thing all these leaks really proves is that there are too many secrets and the US govt's clearance and need to know mechanisms are wholly broken. Some info really does need to be secret, but instead of vetting everything its just way easier to sweep it all under the its a secret rug and call it a day.

        Just another pentagon project to treat the symptoms and totally disregard the main cause.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      All they really need is to alter a few words in sentences depending on who is accessing the document.

      Of course. This doesn't seem all that new of an idea. It sounds like it might be someone trying to make more out of this story than is really there.

      Seeding a document so it can be traced to who's leaking it is not a new idea at all. If you know someone is giving away secrets, and there's only three people working in your office, it's pretty obvious that the way to find the leaker is to give them three dif

    • by 3dr (169908)

      Actually, this story is the first volley in our unannounced plan to disseminate information through particular channels to identify leakers.

      I'm looking at you, Agent 597 in Omaha.

  • by Gunfighter (1944) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:24PM (#40556481) Homepage

    With the discombobulated nature of the believable information and misinformation, who will be tracking the differences to make sure an intelligence report doesn't result in a military course of action against a non-existent foe (or something similar)?

    Translation: What could possibly go wrong?

  • by harvey the nerd (582806) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:25PM (#40556493)
    The bottom line is that you can't believe *anything* any government official says.
    • Mod parent up. Harvey, you are more right than you know. Check EVERYTHING you are told by ANYONE with ties to the Government. I mean EVERYTHING. Call them on it if you find out they're lying to you, and do it PUBLICLY.

      • by EvilSS (557649)
        Check EVERYTHING you are told by ANYONE. I mean EVERYTHING. Call them on it if you find out they're lying to you, and do it PUBLICLY. There, fixed that for ya. Just because they don't have ties to the government doesn't mean they won't lie to you (or that they are not just idiots).
        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          Just because they don't have ties to the government doesn't mean they won't lie to you (or that they are not just idiots).

          Why should I believe that?

  • by TorrentFox (1046862) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:26PM (#40556507)

    Is it still right to punish those who in good faith believe there is a pressing need to leak certain information? Entrapment aside, this really will have the most damaging chilling effect yet known in the information age. First no whistleblower protection for gov. employees, and now an active campaign to make sure fucked people stay fucked. Proud to be an American!

    • by lgw (121541) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:38PM (#40556715) Journal

      Yes, it is right - for those who sign a contract saying that they will go to jail if they reveal a given secret, it is right for them to go to jail if they then reveal that secret. It really is that simple.

      This isn't about "whistleblowers", who see non-secret but embarassing imformation about their employers and reveal that in a damaging way. This is about state secrets. And history shows: if your government can't keep any secrets, it will be replaced by one that can (often quite violently replaced). Just as you may regret the need for national defense, you'll end up with a government that has some, one way or another.

      We're a democracy. We have oversight of state secrets by our elected leaders, and good ones will legally "out" secrets they don't think should be secret (this happened quite recently, with a congressman reading into the congressional record a court-sealed document related to Fast and Furious). Yes, the system has flaws, all systems do, but it's certainly a workable one.

      • by sjames (1099)

        It is about whistleblowers when every bit of information is marked classified just in case it might turn out to be embarrassing later.

      • by dark12222000 (1076451) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @05:02PM (#40557047)
        Funny enough you mention that they are bound by Contract.

        You see, in all of these contracts (and usually verbatim in government contracts), the duty of the secret keeper is forfeit if the information contained is either illegal, or (in America) goes against "the will" of the people.

        In another words, if you bind me via contract to not disclose that you're going to nuke New York, and I tell someone, then I have *not* violated my contract (either the contract is invalid in the first place as it violates established law, or my duty to the law/my fellow citizens surpasses my contracted duty).

        In these cases, most of these people ARE whistleblowers. The information they release has been released because the whistleblower feels it either violates established law or that it goes against the will of the people.
        • by lgw (121541) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @05:36PM (#40557449) Journal

          In another words, if you bind me via contract to not disclose that you're going to nuke New York, and I tell someone, then I have *not* violated my contract (either the contract is invalid in the first place as it violates established law, or my duty to the law/my fellow citizens surpasses my contracted duty).

          Your sense of the importance of the information you wish to leak does not give you the legal right to leak it - in a very practical sense, you rarely have the context to be certain of such things, unless you're very senior in which case you will some legal avenue to bring the information to the attention of the right people. Now, if you really feel your sense of duty is more important than the law, leak away, and go to jail morally righteous. If enough people in out democracy agree with your judgement, someone will pardon you.

          whistleblower feels it either violates established law or that it goes against the will of the people.

          I'm sorry, but what the whistleblower "feels" goes against the "will of the people" is so much bullshit. There are elected leaders whose actual job is to judge that, and who have legal oversight over secret programs, and who represent the will of the people as best humanity can figure out how to make that happen. Those congresscritters have legal ways to fix these problems.

          • If enough people in out democracy agree with your judgement, someone will pardon you.

            That's the same argument I made for torture and all the other forms of executive misconduct we've seen since 911. Too bad the commander in chief and his cronies weren't able to live up to the same moral standard that the little guys need to.

      • by colinnwn (677715) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @05:03PM (#40557069)

        And history shows: if your government can't keep any secrets, it will be replaced by one that can (often quite violently replaced).

        Does history show this? I'm generally curious. My guess is that most governments can't keep secrets well, and even the ones that are particularly bad and have also failed, have other more significant causes of the failure.

      • by vux984 (928602)

        And history shows...

        History also shows that over reaching laws with a narrower "intent" tend to frequently get used used in over reaching ways when its convenient for those in power.

        This isn't about "whistleblowers",

        Then why not protect them? Where is the language that explicitly limits the scope to just what you think it is actually intended to be used for?

        • by lgw (121541)

          Leaking of Secret/classified information is separate from ordinary whistleblowers working for the government. It's a bright-line distinction: each document is Secret, or not.

          Are you worried aabout over-classification of documents? So am I, but the right system is to police that through oversight committies with appropriate clearance to review the information in the first place, who aren't in anyone's chain of comman except the voters. And we have those. Could that process be better? Sure - democracy in

          • by vux984 (928602) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @06:06PM (#40557805)

            Leaking of Secret/classified information is separate from ordinary whistleblowers working for the government. It's a bright-line distinction: each document is Secret, or not.

            The bright-line distinction is not whether or not something is marked secret. Its whether some thing is right or wrong.

            I don't give a shit how many times they stamp the word Top Secret on something. If its not something we should be doing then it needs to be outed. The US doesn't need secret prisons. And the mis-treatment of prisoners in them is a crime not a "secret".

            So am I, but the right system is to police that through oversight committies with appropriate clearance to review the information in the first place, who aren't in anyone's chain of comman except the voters. And we have those.

            Sometimes we have them. And sometimes they work. But there is no reason not to have other checks in the system... like protecting a whistleblower who is reporting on the criminal activity of the state.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:26PM (#40556517) Homepage Journal
    Stop doing shit you don't want the People to know about.

    Cue the state-owned lapdogs prattling on about the dangers of military secrets becoming public knowledge, in spite of the fact that all the fallout from leaked documents thus far has been political, and in no way put any of our troops at risk.
    • by SirGarlon (845873)

      Keeping something confidential does not imply wrongdoing. There are many scenarios where a perfectly legitimate government activity needs to be kept confidential.

      Private citizens also need privacy. Say for example I want to build a new addition onto my house and I solicit bids from three local building contractors. I may justifiably not want to tell each of those contractors who else is being considered for the job, to make it harder for them to conspire in a price-fixing scheme. Say for example my doctor f

      • Keeping something confidential does not imply wrongdoing. There are many scenarios where a perfectly legitimate government activity needs to be kept confidential.

        Never said there weren't; I merely pointed out that up to now, nothing that has been leaked has proven to put our forces at a disadvantage, so the claims that information leaks are somehow dangerous to troops on the ground are nothing more than bullshit propaganda.

        Private citizens also need privacy. Say for example I want to build a new addition onto my house and I solicit bids from three local building contractors. I may justifiably not want to tell each of those contractors who else is being considered for the job, to make it harder for them to conspire in a price-fixing scheme. Say for example my doctor finds a benign tumor during a physical exam. I might not want my boss to know for fear of employment discrimination.

        You're ignoring a major difference in scenarios: You, as a private citizen, are not funded with tax dollars; you are not a representative of the American people as a whole; we have (or at least, had) very strong personal privacy laws in this count

      • by profplump (309017)

        Temporarily, yes, there's sometimes a tactical justification for secrecy. But there's no reason to keep most of those secrets for more than a few days or weeks, let alone years or decades, which is the status quo for the vast majority of this information.

    • by bws111 (1216812)

      Except that most of the leaked stuff wasn't about anybody DOING anything. It was about people THINKING things. If, for example, a diplomat is asked what his opinion of someone he is negotiating with is, he better be able to privately and honestly say 'I don't really trust the guy - I think he is lying'. If everything every government employee or official thinks is going to be public information, that is going to lead to nothing except 'toeing the party line' or remaining quiet. And that is just bad fo

      • Except that most of the leaked stuff wasn't about anybody DOING anything. It was about people THINKING things.

        Expressing a thought to another person, especially via official channels, is DOING something.

        If, for example, a diplomat is asked what his opinion of someone he is negotiating with is, he better be able to privately and honestly say 'I don't really trust the guy - I think he is lying'.

        Again, there's a difference between a private conversation, and OFFICIAL DIPLOMATIC CABLES. One doesn't leave the room; the other is a reflection upon our nation as a whole.


        Make all the excuses you want to try and justify your incorrect thinking, but the fact remains that sunshine really is the best disinfectant, and right now our government can use as much sunshine as we can force upon them.

        • by bws111 (1216812)

          Diplomatic cables ARE private communication, dumbass. They are why the whole concept of 'diplomatic pouches' exists. They are NOT 'a reflection upon our nation as a whole' until some ACTION is taken. The only time they become a 'reflection upon our nation as a whole' is when some jackass leaks those private communications.

          • Diplomatic cables ARE private communication, dumbass.

            No, they aren't; they are official US government documents, which, according to the U.S. Constitution, very much are not private. As a matter of fact, by definition nothing the US government engages in can be considered 'private.'

            You may want to avoid throwing such epithets, considering your own quite obvious lack of understanding.

    • Cue the state-owned lapdogs prattling on about the dangers of military secrets becoming public knowledge, in spite of the fact that all the fallout from leaked documents thus far has been political, and in no way put any of our troops at risk.

      It's fascinating that you have to pre-flame those who might disagree with you... But you sound like the guy who, after jumping off a twenty story building, was asked how things were going as he passed the tenth floor - "pretty good so far!". Not to mention you have n

  • How... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dahamma (304068) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:28PM (#40556553)

    ...is anyone going to tell this disinformation apart from the disinformation that makes up the majority of mainstream news today, anyway?

    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      I've learned that the proper reaction to disinformation is to publicly accuse the poster of being a shill for Microsoft and/or the US government. Or, should you have mod points, mod the post "-1: Overrated."

  • As a taxpayer... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lendrick (314723) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:28PM (#40556555) Homepage Journal

    Deliberately creating and circulating misniformation seems like an unethical use of my tax money, much like propaganda campaigns.

    • Not at all. Let's take an obvious and hopefully unambiguous example: The D-day invasion in WWII. Let's assume that invading was an unambiguously "right" thing to do. A lot of people need to know about it beforehand. Some of them may be Bad Guys (tm). How do you find out? Everybody gets slightly different documents, or slightly different information. When we find a copy of those documents in enemy hands that contain information only given to Lendrick, we know with relatively high confidence that's whe

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:29PM (#40556579)

    where some bright fellow in the government mistakes a real document for a false one, or vice versa, and makes a decision about some silly thing like national defense based on misinformation.

    But of course, that will never happen.

  • That should clear everything up!

  • by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:35PM (#40556665) Journal

    It's a pretty common idea, really. Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] entry.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      Even the MPAA has done this for years [torrentfreak.com], and they aren't known for being cutting-edge technologists.

    • by mrbene (1380531)

      What's interesting is that in this case, it's not the single document that has multiple copies - it's that the set of documents that any one person has access to is unique, and padded with person-specific misinformation, and with embedded tracking pixels! So there are theoretically three ways of detecting a leak - by determining which set is out in the wild, by examining the specific misinformation (in the case of incomplete sets), and by seeing what pixels get activated from external IPs.

      The first dete

  • Preposterously oversized Manning leak aside, most government leaks tend to focus on either some kind of specific wrongdoing that the leaker came across in the normal course of business, or portray the leaker or their clique in a positive light.This leads me to two questions:

    1. Can this do anything to stop those much more frequent leaks, in which people don't spend large chunks of their time executing identifiable search patterns, and simply grab a few files on the fly that catch their interest?

    2. Could
    • by jfengel (409917)

      It's actually aimed primarily at Manning-style leaks, where somebody just dumps everything they have access to onto a disk and sends it to be printed. The kind where people don't even read what they're taking, and don't have any actual connection to it.

      The paper describes a kind of glorified Mad Libs, to be thrown out whenever somebody tries to make a big copy of a data system. At the very least you'd need to scan the documents to separate out the ones that were fake before you publish them. If you miss on

      • Wouldn't be that hard with a distributed file system. One custom coded node that generates unique babble and logs access. Links to that node in all folders, make it look like someone is running an indexer or something else stupid. (Nothing like being noticed, classified then ignored: para S.S.Rat.)

  • If the information is need-to-know only, then giving the people that need-to-know false information will lead to wasted time. If a person doesn't need to know, then the person shouldn't have the information in the first place. The example in the article of burying useful information in a sea of noise still presumes that someone can exceed their access in the first place. Those things should be preventable in the first instance.
    • If the information is need-to-know only, then giving the people that need-to-know false information will lead to wasted time. If a person doesn't need to know, then the person shouldn't have the information in the first place. The example in the article of burying useful information in a sea of noise still presumes that someone can exceed their access in the first place. Those things should be preventable in the first instance.

      The problem is, someone in that "need to know" circle is believed to be leaking information. You can either get rid of everybody in the circle, do nothing, or find the rat. This is how they go about doing the latter.
      Doing nothing sounds like a REALLY bad idea to me, and getting rid of everyone sounds MORE counter productive than this. Further, getting rid of everyone in the circle probably means the people deciding what to do about the problem would be getting rid of themselves, too.

  • Who writes this shit? Is there some smart ass in the back room feeding the author bullshit every time he asks a stupid question?

  • Great, now... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:38PM (#40556721) Journal

    Put the same sort of effort into discovering and prosecuting those who classify documents to avoid embarassment, rather than ensure national security. This group is far larger, and far more dangerous than any group of whistleblowers.

    • I'm inclined to agree with you.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Any decent human being would. The fact that politicians on neither side of the aisle don't do anything to hold people who abuse their authority accountable is proof that none of them are decent human beings.

  • The answer to leaks like this is not to punish the leakers. But for there to be a branch of the government that is tasked with ferreting out the corruption and misuse of power that creates the ethical compulsion to expose malfeasance within the government. Bring the criminals being protected by secrecy to justice and you no longer have a compelling reason to publicly expose those secrets. Provide REAL transparency and accountability, not the bullshit tokens and false claims that got Obama into office.

  • This is a DARPA project. What that means is they are doing it to see if they can, and what problems will come about if they actually try it not because they actually plan on doing anything with it. Other DARPA projects include: flying tanks, thought-controlled robot arms, high energy lasers, hypersonic aircraft, passive radar, onion routing, and the precursor to the Internet. You'll note that only a few of those are actual, real, working, practical things (ironically, some of them are also the cause of the

  • Unless you send the fake stuff to all t he senators, and diplomats. Someone can easily determine the fake stuff if they see that Z,Y, and X never get's sent to the president, or any diplomat, but A,B,and C does get sent and matches the news. Otherwise a nice export of all messages sent to diplomats over the past 2 years will contain both and therefore will not tell you anything.

    I guess it will catch the dumb opportunistic spy, but I cant see it catching anyone with a brain.

    How about simply getting AWAY

  • This has more similarities to cloud computing than just the name. Both are something that has been done for many many years already. They both just got a new fancy name in an effort to get people excited about the same old same old.
  • by DontBlameCanada (1325547) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:54PM (#40556961)
    The Enabler of Disinformation Services! You may know my brother, Mordac the Preventer of Information Services.
  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @05:12PM (#40557157)
    You know, that major military leak was tracked because the username submitting it was like first initial - last name - year he was born lol. But in case they're not so lucky with it being such an epic dumbass the next time, I think individual tracking in such a way would work. The problem is, how do you let decision makers know the data is fake without letting the data intermediary staff who might leak it know it's fake?

    By the way, I'm totally not a secret undercover federal agent but I heard that there's actually a life sized replica of the white house made out of gingerbread and frosting in Nebraska where the president will travel to in case of a terrorist attack so they can have shelter and a reliable food supply. But nobody leak that top secret information to anyone, okay?
  • by davegravy (1019182) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @05:16PM (#40557207)

    What this amounts to is a way out for the government any time something embarrassing is leaked through the likes of Wikileaks (or similar). The government can simply announce that a piece of leaked information was part of their disinformation campaign... the population can rest safely knowing that the offending "leaker" is being brought to justice (i.e scape goat is sent off to Gitmo), and that the information leaked is not actually true.

    This campaign isn't to give the government power against the untrustworthy, it's to give the untrustworthy government more power over you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The brilliance of it is you don't have to actually create fake documents. Any time something gets leaked, claim it as fake and point back to this announcement. Claim the program is a huge success.

  • This is great. If real embarrassing information is leaked, they can just claim it was part of this program...
  • And if somebody lets it leak that AF's water purifier is on the blink you'll know who to blame.

    About all I can see that's new about this is that somebody somehow managed to work 'cloud' into the description.

  • ...how will they convince anyone that they were, in fact, decoys?

    What will they do when other agencies believe the decoy docs and act on them?

  • In fact, it's been used by a famous scifi author (one who had worked in intelligence for some time): Cordwainer Smith (real name Paul Linebarger).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Hitton's_Littul_Kittons [wikipedia.org]

    The odd spelling of Littul Kittons is used to trigger an alarm when the villian of the story looks it up in an electronic encyclopedia.

  • "We call this "disinformation technology."

    We call it "lying". We seek leaks because our government is lying to us. We were lied to on a daily basis to get us into a war with a helpless Iraq, and now we are being lied into another war with Iran. We are lied to every single day.

    Our news companies now openly cheer on the liars, and slander the truthtellers. Wikileaks merely pipelined the truth to us about a generation earlier than we are used to getting it. We heard the truth now, rather than waiting until the

  • I'm curious to see how long it takes for the government to stumble over it's own misinformation.

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"

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