Amid all the awesome coverage today of Ian Murphy’s amazing prank call to the governor of Wisconsin, I found this on :

These “personas” were to have detailed, fictionalized backgrounds, to make them believable to outside observers, and a sophisticated identity protection service was to back them up, preventing suspicious readers from uncovering the real person behind the account. They even worked out ways to game geolocating services, so these “personas” could be virtually inserted anywhere in the world, providing ostensibly live commentary on real events, even while the operator was not really present.

When Raw Story first reported on the contract for this software, it was unclear what the Air Force wanted with it or even if it had been acquired. The potential for misuse, however, was abundantly clear.

A fake virtual army of people could be used to help create the impression of consensus opinion in online comment threads, or manipulate social media to the point where valuable stories are suppressed.

It’s kind of terrifying, as is the website for the company that created the software, Ntrepid. One page, nothing but an e-mail address. These kinds of corporations immediately strike me as dangerous and shady. Gonna keep searching for info…

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I had a del.icio.us widget up yesterday.

I took it down.

Here’s my thing:

If three years ago you received a letter from a government official saying “we’d like to know which websites you frequent” – or better, “we already know which websites you frequent and we’d like to talk to you about them” – if you had received that letter three years ago, wouldn’t you think twice about your own security and privacy? Would you start taking ACLU op-eds more seriously? Would you change your web habits? Read the rest of this entry »