U.S. Gov‘t Software Creates ’Fake People’ to Spread Message via Social Networking
Whenever I shop on the internet, I skip right over the positive reviews of products and go straight for the bad ones, figuring the company probably paid some hack to sit and create fictional names and post fake glowing five-star reviews for their products to dupe unsuspecting customers. But what if the federal government could operate this way?
What if the government had the ability to pass its own information through false mediums to unsuspecting citizens?
The U.S. government recently offered private intelligence companies contracts to create special software to it help manage a number of “fake” profiles on social media websites.
The contract opportunity (PDF) — posted last summer at FedBizOpps.gov — actually calls for the development of an “Online Persona Management Service” for the U.S. Air Force, a software that would help a single user manage a variety of distinct fake profiles online. According to the contract proposal, the software could be deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there is no guarantee it would not be used domestically as well.
Why is this only now coming to light?
Recently leaked** email files from the private security firm HBGary reveal internal discussions of how one person could use the software to create an army of fake profiles. In essence, it allows a small group of people to appear to be many.
According to the contract, the software would enable the government to shield its fake identity by employing a number of false signals to make it appear that the profile belongs to a real person. Additionally, software technicians could manipulate unique IP addresses to make it look like the profile originated from anywhere around the globe…..