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Government Censorship Communications Social Networks United States Politics

More On the "Cuban Twitter" Scam 90

We mentioned a few days ago the USAID-funded SMS social network that was connecting Cubans against the wishes of the Cuban government. Now Glen Greenwald's The Intercept has more on this kind of back-channel government intervention via what he characterizes as "the Internet propaganda bucket." Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes with an excerpt: "These ideas–discussions of how to exploit the internet, specifically social media, to surreptitiously disseminate viewpoints friendly to western interests and spread false or damaging information about targets–appear repeatedly throughout the archive of materials provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Documents prepared by NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ–and previously published by The Intercept as well as some by NBC News–detailed several of those programs, including a unit devoted in part to "discrediting" the agency's enemies with false information spread online.

The documents in the archive show that the British are particularly aggressive and eager in this regard, and formally shared their methods with their U.S. counterparts. One previously undisclosed top-secret document–prepared by GCHQ for the 2010 annual "SIGDEV" gathering of the "Five Eyes" surveillance alliance comprising the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S.–explicitly discusses ways to exploit Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media as secret platforms for propaganda."
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More On the "Cuban Twitter" Scam

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  • by jodido ( 1052890 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @04:48PM (#46672085)
    About the US cyberattack on Cuba. First of all, it failed, as every US attack on Cuba has failed. Second, the US puts form over content--the idea that if you get people to follow your Twitter feed sports scores, when you say "OK! Everyone out to the Plaza to overthrow the government!" that hundreds of thousands of people will show up and try to overthrow the government, even if they didn't know they wanted to (which in Cuba most people don't). Third, the continuing destruction of internet trust on the part of the US. And fourth, their willingness to put people at risk without telling them they're putting them at risk.
  • by Erikderzweite ( 1146485 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @05:11PM (#46672205)

    The real question is, to what extent was the US involved in other countries? Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine? Different counties, same scenario. Social media play a major role at the beginning and during each uprising.

    Which also raises the question whether blocking social media is an act of censorship or an attempt to neutralize foreign involvement in internal affairs.

  • Re:Sneaky. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Erikderzweite ( 1146485 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @05:29PM (#46672303)

    Reminds me of a map about the Maidan tweets here: []

    One may wonder, how many of those UK and US tweets were from Ukrainians living in these countries (US has a rather large Ukrainian diaspora, the UK doesn't) and how many were associated with intelligence agencies. Interesting are the blips on the map from Bahrain at the crucial moments.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson