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Jul 06 2012

Government considers calculated misinformation to fight insider leaks

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.’”

via Wired.com. Your tax dollars being used to deceive you and shut down your access to information about government misconduct.

11 comments

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  1. 1
    Pope Bandar bin Turtle

    I could have sworn that fog computing was me cutting code with a massive hangover. Who knew!

  2. 2
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I think Apple has a patent on this.

    1. 2.1
      jerthebarbarian

      I think Edgar Allen Poe’s estate could make a case for prior art.

  3. 3
    Raging Bee

    Neal Stephenson called it AI — Artificial Inanity.

  4. 4
    sqlrob

    I’m just surprised they don’t already to this. IIRC, MPAA does something like this with screeners so they can tell the source of leaks.

  5. 5
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Or the government could be fucking transparent for free, like it should be, and like Obama promised.

  6. 6
    YankeeCynic

    I’m curious, is the government allowed to have ANY secrets, like in diplomatic circles and for defense applications. Because that’s where this is intended for, the classified networks.

    If we don’t, how can we ever expect people to talk to us intelligence-wise?

    1. 6.1
      YankeeCynic

      Damnit, I meant that first sentence to have a question mark. Damned iPhone.

  7. 7
    Albert Bakker

    Leaking is standard government practice. It’s also known under the name public relations. It works better and faster to get difficult to account for information to the public by appealing to the ego of some eager journalist and the public is more alert because they think they are being let in on a secret per quotes of an ‘unnamed official.’ Applied everywhere. The less people trust their governments, the more successful this tactic is usually.

  8. 8
    Richard Carrier

    They aren’t talking about documents available to the public (that would defeat the purpose–they are trying to find leakers, not leak the documents themselves). They are talking about making decoy documents available on internal networks that the public is not legally supposed to have access to, and then seeing if anyone leaks them, and thus catching people breaking the law and compromising privacy and security.

    For example, if someone at the SSA were leaking personal data about citizens to the mafia so they could facilitate identity theft and the production of fake ID’s, fog computing would put dummy personal files in the mix and track them. When someone in the government illegally leaks your personal information, against the law and violating your privacy, they will tend to leak the fake tracked document as well, and thus get caught.

    This is actually an ancient counter-espionage tactic used from as far back as we have records of intelligence tactics. You catch leakers by telling a fake secret to a suspected mole, and if it gets leaked, you just caught your mole.

    Obviously, like any technique, it can be used to catch whistle blowers, but insofar as we get laws on the books protecting whistle blowers, they will have a legal defense (even now exposing criminal activity is actually not illegal, since covering up a crime is illegal and disobeying an illegal order is a valid defense, but we still need to legislate an even more robust firewall around that concept).

    So generally, this tactic won’t affect you. It will only reduce the leaking of legally secret and confidential information. Which is something we should want. We don’t want the names of all our spies leaked, for example, or the access codes for shutting down shipboard missile defense systems, or where our seal teams will next be deployed.

    As for things we want to get leaked, we just have to get more mature as a nation in who we elect to be our leaders. Because that is what we elect them for: to make those decisions for us, as our delegate. We as a nation are a long way from mature. But then that’s the real problem.

    1. 8.1
      Aaron

      I’m behind on my reader and got here too late, but I was going to post the same rationale. I believe you’ve said it better than I would have, though.

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