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Russia's Former KGB Invests In Political Propaganda Spambots

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the in-post-soviet-russia dept.

Communications 164

An anonymous reader writes "The newspaper Kommersant reports that the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (formerly part of the KGB) has invested 30 million roubles (USD $940,000) on 'blog and social network intelligence' programs (Google translation of Russian original). A small part of that money is used for surveillance and analytics, but 22 million roubles (USD $690,000) is invested in 'mass distribution of messages in social networks with a view to the formation of public opinion.' Which presumably can be rephrased as 'launching massive pro-Kremlin astroturfing propaganda spambots in order to stifle and undermine political dissent.' The brazen Russian government acknowledgement of this investment indicates that the Kremlin does not think of such activities to be in any way illegal or unethical. No words whether these spambots would respect any anti-spam laws or the Terms and Conditions of victim websites. But hey, now you can accuse anyone you disagree with online of being a 'KGB bot'!"

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Heading back to the bad old days (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134399)

So who is going to be the first one to restart Kremvax?

--
BMO

Re:Heading back to the bad old days (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134449)

i wanna make sweet love to ya

Re:Heading back to the bad old days (0)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134531)

I'll bet you say that to all the boys.

--
BMO

Illegal ?? Unethical ?? (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134693)

indicates that the Kremlin does not think of such activities to be in any way illegal or unethical

 
I have to confess that I did feel a little bit queasy reading what Timothy has posted
 
This world that we live in today, where "paid reviews", "forum astroturfing", "blog spamming" and "rabid fanboyism" are been actively encouraged and sponsored by for profit corporations such as Microsoft, Adobe, Apple Inc., - mainly from the Western democracies - any effort in linking Russia to similar "illegal" and/or "unethical" activities is futile
 
It was the West who have fine-tuned activities such as being described in TFA to an art-form, in the first place
 

Google's Chrome OS Instant-on Action Caught on Vid (-1, Offtopic)

kuok (2709129) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134885)

If there's one thing that Google's new Chrome OS doesn't lack, it's speed. To prove this, Google gave us a demo of the Cr-48, an Intel Atom based laptop with the Chrome OS doing an instant-on from standby mode. It's so fast, that the slowest part is actually typing out your search query - http://goo.gl/E61ZA [goo.gl]

Re:Illegal ?? Unethical ?? (5, Funny)

beerbear (1289124) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134909)

That sounds like something a KGB bot would say!

Re:Illegal ?? Unethical ?? (2)

cbraescu1 (180267) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134993)

This world that we live in today, where "paid reviews", "forum astroturfing", "blog spamming" and "rabid fanboyism" are been actively encouraged and sponsored by for profit corporations such as Microsoft, Adobe, Apple Inc., - mainly from the Western democracies - any effort in linking Russia to similar "illegal" and/or "unethical" activities is futile

if you can't distinguish between private businesses and a government intelligence agency then, my friend, you're a moron.

Is that simple.

Re:Illegal ?? Unethical ?? (5, Insightful)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135011)

This world that we live in today, where "paid reviews", "forum astroturfing", "blog spamming" and "rabid fanboyism" are been actively encouraged and sponsored by for profit corporations such as Microsoft, Adobe, Apple Inc., - mainly from the Western democracies - any effort in linking Russia to similar "illegal" and/or "unethical" activities is futile

if you can't distinguish between private businesses and a government intelligence agency then, my friend, you're a moron.

Is that simple.

if you can't distinguish between private businesses and a government intelligence agency then, my friend, you see things as they really are and haven't drunk the corporate Kool-aid.

FTFY

Re:Illegal ?? Unethical ?? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41135267)

You know what? Fuck you and your "Blame everything on the West and/or Democracy" attitude. I see you on here all the time posting similar crap, if you spent half your slashdot bitching time reading a history book you wouldn't make such moronic statements. People have been paying people to say crap that isn't strictly true for as long as we've had language and the concept of property ownership.
People have been shilling and lying anonymously since the invention of the written word. I'm willing to bet thousands of years ago some guy painted a picture on a cave wall that showed himself defeating three bears with a fucking knife, when in reality he stumbled across a carcass while fucking the chief's daughter in the bushes.

It was the West who have fine-tuned activities such as being described in TFA to an art-form, in the first place

Oh really? We invented propaganda? We fine-tuned its delivery? Do you have some kind of fundamental mental problem which prevents you from knowing anything about the world prior to the 19th century? Because you sure seem to have a pretty fucking poor grasp on reality.

The west has no need for state propoganda (5, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135529)

The western capitalist system has no need for state propaganda. The masses are all to happy to watch, devour no worship the opinions and lifestyles of the 1% who tell them that the 1% deserve to be the top and everyone else has a chance too even if they never ever get even remotely close with their part time burger flipping job.

What am I talking about? Media. Name ONE person in Media who makes less then 100.000 dollars per year. One TV celeb, just ONE! In many ways, Reality TV is a very risky move, showing the non-1% and allowing them to speak? Showing that work is hard and dangerous and it never gets any better? OOPS! Ah but luckily, reality stars get payed big, so soon they are the 1% too.

Public opinion in the West is made on TV and TV makes big money for all involved. Of course they are going to be pro-big money. It is like asking Oprah on how to make it from day to day with just 2 dollars per day for food. She eats ten dollars in a single snack. She hasn't lived the live of her audience in decades.

And she is not alone. Rappers? The ones you know ain't from the hood anymore, they live in guarded mansions and drive in armored cars.

American propaganda is simple, it shows only the lottery winners, 1 lucky winner won 300 million! Watch and admire him and aspire to do the same. Saying tat 300 million people lost a dollar they could have spend better... that would not be such a good ad.

Everyone who you see in America on TV, has made it. What better way to indoctrinate the American Dream.

But hey, why believe me, I am posting on the blogsite of poster boys of the American Dream. After all, they made it, so so could you. Right? It couldn't possibly be that the 1% by definition will always be the 1%? Nah, that is commy thinking. Everyone can be the 1% if they just work hard.

Re:The west has no need for state propoganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41135601)

Umm, 100K a yr isn't the 1%.

Re:The west has no need for state propoganda (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41135639)

Your the typical slash dot genius. I'm not sure why you have rich envy (think penis envy) but you do as most on here. You use terms like 1% and 99% and that makes you a lot smarter than everyone we see that oh genius. Enlighten us to the ways of the East. Don't work hard and you'll get a head, yes your first grade teacher was right. Poor baby mamma will make it OK. Blame does not fall on ye. A hood rat is worth more than a 1%er.

Remember even engineers making more than 30k a year are in the 1% IMO!

Go OWNS

Re:Heading back to the bad old days (2)

stox (131684) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134489)

and nsacray.

Re:Heading back to the bad old days (-1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134765)

In (Soviet) Russia the spambots filter you.

just like the US (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134401)

just like the US.

Re:just like the US (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134797)

No, the US government spends vastly more money on this kind of thing. $940K is barely even a rounding error in the federal propaganda budget.

-jcr

Re:just like the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134855)

hahahaha

Re:just like the US (4, Interesting)

Burz (138833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135181)

No, the US government spends vastly more money on this kind of thing. $940K is barely even a rounding error in the federal propaganda budget.

-jcr

Indeed, and we're brazen about it, too.

The difference I see is that Russian news doesn't blatantly lead into news stories with comments like, "The same government that corralled natives away from most of the country and then conducted germ warfare against them...". Or, "The ex-Opium War aggressor today is making news with...". At least not since the USSR.

Americans and other native anglophones of all stripes love them some Russophobia (which is why I'll probably be modded down), and they'll find opportunities to serve it up with just about anything. The only way that Russian characters ever seem to be redeemed on US television shows is if they have emigrated to an anglophone country, or are trying to do so. A Russian who wants to stay a Russian national (or to belong to another non-English speaking country) is portrayed as a villain -- every single time I have viewed.

Re:just like the US (1)

freudigst (1778168) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135335)

Agreed, Burz:

There is plenty of kudos to be had for putting down Russia nowadays. One gets the most points if he riles up the cowboys in the Congress with such paranoid blather.

Obligatory Yakov... (2, Funny)

beaverdownunder (1822050) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134407)

In Putin's Russia, Twitter Updates You...

Re:Obligatory Yakov... (3, Funny)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134435)

Perhaps...but I also think that...

In Putin's Russia, Spam eats you.

Introducing the Yakov Entendre (4, Funny)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134511)

In America, Facebook shares tank. In Russia, tank shares Facebook.
__

Re:Introducing the Yakov Entendre (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134629)

:D

So... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134417)

much less than the USA spends, then?

How about (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134421)

Nukem now?
  . .
Nukem now?
  x x
Nukem now?
  y y
Nukem now?
  z z
Nukem now?
  o o
Nukem now?

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134697)

Nukem now?

Now? Wasn't Duke's surname actually Forever?

The US has an AI tht does this (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134441)

So, before all the US folk get all holier than thou, the US uses a strong AI for this purpose. It doesn't just give quick replies, but in-depth analysis and opinion, including breaking down opposition arguments.

It silences critics and those that reveal classified information by attempting to make it sound implausible.

Oh, and its a multi-billion dollar project.

Re:The US has an AI tht does this (4, Funny)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134467)

I must strongly disagree. In my analysis, strong AI doesn't exist outside of science fiction novellas, and thus furthermore and therefore is a ridiculous accusation to make. I urge you my dear and wonderful readers, to ignore the implausible and outlandish statements made by the anonymous coward in the parent comment. Every nuance of his or her preposterous claims only further their own inherent absurdity.

Re:The US has an AI tht does this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134559)

The way you write makes me want to punch you. " thus furthermore and therefore", really?

Although the other AC is (probably) wrong on strong AI, both the US and China spend money on Internet propaganda, so seeing Russia do the same isn't surprising. I was going to say I doubt spambots would work well for this, but people do buy crap sold in spam so maybe it can work on stupid people.

Re:The US has an AI tht does this (1)

Killall -9 Bash (622952) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134631)

Woosh.

Re:The US has an AI tht does this (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134637)

Woosh!

Agreement, Accord & Concordance (4, Funny)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134785)

In my analysis, strong AI doesn't exist outside of science fiction novellas, and thus furthermore and therefore is a ridiculous accusation to make.

The way you write makes me want to punch you. " thus furthermore and therefore", really?

I agree with you, yours, yourself and those who bear a yoursimilitude to you. The above poster, writer, author of the comment referred to, listed and discussed has undercut, severed and bisected his own cogent word assembly through unnecessarily, avoidable and inessential verbal repetition. And while hyperbole was the purpose, object and function of the conjunctions, and I can understand feeling frustrated, angry or annoyed, I feel that physical violence is an inappropriate, disproportional and incongruous conclusion, ceasing, cessation, close, closure, completion, consequence, culmination, desistance, ending, finale, finish, issue, outcome, result, and end.

Re:The US has an AI tht does this (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135279)

I must strongly disagree. In my analysis, strong AI doesn't exist outside of science fiction novellas, and thus furthermore and therefore is a ridiculous accusation to make.

Your analysis is based on faulty conclusions not supported by neurology, and fails to take into consideration the ridiculousness of our own chauvinism when it comes to matters of sentience. The bar to pass beyond which a neural network is classified as sentient is merely an arbitrary distinction, possible only because we lack descent communication capacity with the lesser minds. Every such entity has a measure of awareness, and cognition. My cat does not operate merely on conditioned response, it senses decides and acts: I sense hunger. The food is inside, so I decide to be near it. I will meow loudly until my human servant opens the door, as I've trained it to do. We have achieved a neural network of such complexity, but we just haven't given it enough time to learn and think. [gizmodo.com]

I urge you my dear and wonderful readers, to ignore the implausible and outlandish statements made by the anonymous coward in the parent comment. Every nuance of his or her preposterous claims only further their own inherent absurdity.

The above sentence is proof positive that the government's AI research is much further along than IBM's. Also, since much of the organic brain is not dedicated to cognition, instead it's dedicated to unrelated things like breathing or feelings, or pleasure, short vs long term storage, and redundancy, an artificial brain can become sentient using only a fraction of the neurons a human has -- In fact, I know of one case where a sentient human could exist with only HALF a brain! [youtube.com]

Also note that the entire political arena operates primarily by AI. That's why politicians talk so much without saying anything: They're only Artificially Intelligent.

Re:The US has an AI tht does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41135329)

doesn't

I though AI never use contractions.

Star Trek (2)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135537)

I thought AI never use contractions.

No, that's just Star Trek. You have to take Star Trek with a grain of salt. I mean, it's a fictional world where somehow they figured out strong AI before they figured out how to give an android a realistic skin tone and where they all run around with iPads but still use flip phones to talk to the ship.

Re:The US has an AI tht does this (4, Funny)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134477)

the US uses a strong AI

Only for the voices in your head.

--
BMO

Re:The US has an AI tht does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134549)

Just what a Russian spambot would say. A human would have said it better.

Re:The US has an AI tht does this (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134671)

Yes, it's called "Reason," and it was written by Gordon Way. We've read that one [wikipedia.org] .

They're amateurs (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134461)

This mr. Anonymous Reader does not have a clue. With the military budget of the US, they could do:
- http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2011/11/04/the-cia-is-watching-us-intelligence-teams-monitor-5-million-tweets-every-day/
- http://www.theinsider.org/news/article.asp?id=2229
- http://mashable.com/2012/05/23/fbi-spy-on-skype/
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/mar/17/us-spy-operation-social-networks
etc

If the FBI and CIA could do it for a lousy 1 million dollar, they'd chosen for this option too. This indicates the CIA and FBI do not think of such activities to be in any way illegal or unethical, but that they are inefficient.

Re:They're amateurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134713)

If the FBI and CIA could do it for a lousy 1 million dollar, they'd chosen for this option too. This indicates the CIA and FBI do not think of such activities to be in any way illegal or unethical, but that they are inefficient.

You ignore the potential of thousands of Russian hackers working in forced labor camps - the subsistence cost is much lower, this is why KGB can and FBI/CIA cannot.

Re:They're amateurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41135059)

any evidence?

KGB, in 2012? (3)

yeltski (1438587) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134471)

Seriously? It's been more than 20 years, how long does it take for you Americans to move on from your Cold War Hollywood production induced knowledge base of the world? Next, you'll find out that CIA spends millions on recruitment and *gasp* pro-WhiteHouse astroturfing propaganda in order to stifle and undermine political dissent.

Re:KGB, in 2012? (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134515)

"yeltski" - could you be any more obvious that you're a KGB spambot?

Re:KGB, in 2012? (1)

yeltski (1438587) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134527)

Yes, I could, if I didn't use the name of the first president of Russia, who abolished KGB.

Re:KGB, in 2012? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134565)

And who said Russian spam bots don't have a sense of humor?

Re:KGB, in 2012? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134825)

"Yes, I could, if I didn't use the name of the first president of Russia, who renamed KGB."
FTFY

Re:KGB, in 2012? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134915)

No, it was disbanded and replaced by 2 different agencies - FSB and SVR. I don't doubt that a some of their staff is unchanged, but I'd imagine that a lot of non-Russian officers would have moved back to their countries - personnel from Ukraine, Uzbekistan, et al.

Re:KGB, in 2012? (2)

GCsoftware (68281) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135161)

Belarus too, where the org is still called KGB. Gotta love the Belarussian regime, it has some balls.

Re:KGB, in 2012? (2)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134783)

I'm looking forward to the Obama-Romney bot war because it might be an actual improvement on the quality of the average statement.

Re:KGB, in 2012? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134899)

Precisely! The KGB broke up in 1991, and its replacement organizations for Russia is the FSB (domestic) and SVR (foreign espionage). The FSB was the organization that poisoned Alexander Litvinenko. The SVR is apparently what's being described here.

Currently, Belarus' intelligence agency [wikipedia.org] is still called the KGB. South Ossetia, which broke away from Georgia in the 1990s, too has that name for its intelligence agency. But that's no longer the name for either of Russia's intelligence agencies, even if the personnel that staff them may be the same.

Re:KGB, in 2012? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41135207)

This is neither first, nor last time KGB changed its name (Cheka, NKVD, MGB, KGB, FSB, etc).

Without any real change, either in personal, or in way it works. If any, last change was to worse (before it was controlled by Communist Party, now it controls government).

FSB (domestic) ... poisoned Alexander Litvinenko So, London is now part of Russian Federation? This "split" is total bullshit (and was mostly reverted very soon after that).

Link to original story? (3, Informative)

methamorph (950510) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134475)

So instead of a link to the original story we get a link to Google translate?

Re:Link to original story? (1)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134545)

It cracks me up that you're the first person to even notice that.

Re:Link to original story? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134551)

Is this it?
http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2009256 [kommersant.ru]

Re:Link to original story? (1)

methamorph (950510) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134599)

Yes that seems to be it. Thanx.

Re:Link to original story? (5, Informative)

ACS Solver (1068112) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134615)

Link to story: http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2009256 [kommersant.ru]

Interesting moments are as follows. There are three projects for which software has been requested. One is for "researching the methods of intelligence in Internet centers and regional segments of social networks", another is for "researching the unofficial methods of management on the Internet", and finally work on "methods for advancing special information in social networks". So essentially, it's figuring out how to make certain information popular on social networks, and figuring out the dynamics and largely emergent social structures within these networks. These are designed to work together, ultimately with the bots capable of "massive dissemination of information in specified social networks using existing user accounts, with the goal of forming the public opinion".

Given that the SVR is behind this, it's likely that the intent, at least originally, is to use this abroad, not within Russia. The article says so and quotes a source saying ex-USSR countries would be the first target. That bit certainly looks realistic given the geopolitical situation there, with Russia essentially being in a state of low-key information warfare versus some former Soviet states.

Re:Link to original story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134617)

why should anyone act surprised? serious submissions of stories about real privacy and security issues are quietly killed, anything pro-freedom pro-open source is attacked by M$ shills, the people who say they've used linux since they were a fetus but they switched to and love M$ Wind0ws.. the list goes on and on.. /. has become /fail. Great comments by users, lame articles or articles already published elsewhere last week, month, year, or longer!

i wonder how much money they took from M$ to eliminate the borg logo and give it a more professional look to the articles.

Re:Link to original story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41135065)

any other sites I should check out as well as this nice one?

USA has the upper hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134487)

They can't do that, if the US has patented this:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/mhastings/congressmen-seek-to-lift-propaganda-ban

Posted from my Kremlin spambotpad

Spamming Propaganda (0)

Dangerous_Minds (1869682) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134537)

Isn't this sorta like what's going on in the US with the Tea Party?

Re:Spamming Propaganda (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134719)

Isn't this sorta like what's going on in the US with the Tea Party?

Naaah... the Tea Party is maintained by private initiative astroturfers - there's nothing better for efficiency than the free market... or so they say.

And those plutocrats (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135189)

happen to control the government along with the airwaves.

About time (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134541)

that they caught up to the US but they still need to pay hordes of astroturfers to equalize the playing field.
Hey Putin, how about Gazprom runs its own political propaganda organization? You could call it a "Think tank."

Re:About time (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134793)

I guess both the Russians and the US have been thinking tanks for quite a long time.

Soviet tradtions (2, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134543)

It appears that the Russians are working to restore and update the Russian nee Soviet state's ability to conduct political warfare, which was quite powerful. Some of the lies they spread have yet to die down. Since the Russian state seems to heading back towards Soviet methods and attitudes, everyone should be concerned.

Soviets Sponsor Spread of AIDS Disinformation [latimes.com]

A Soviet political warfare manual comments on 'socialist education' [typepad.com]

Soviet methods did not spare their allies [youtube.com] .

A Portrait of Stalin: Secret Police [youtube.com]

Re:Soviet tradtions (1)

yeltski (1438587) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134573)

Oh okey. And the only time no one should be concerned is when Russia doesn't want to assert any of it's interests, pays reparations, gives everyone resources for free and decreases it's population to zero. That would still probably not get you to stop spamming this capitalist propaganda crap.

Re:Soviet tradtions (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134663)

WASHINGTON — In October 1985, the influential Soviet weekly Literaturnaya Gazeta (Literary Gazette) published an article alleging that the U.S. government had engineered the AIDS virus during biological warfare research. The story further claimed that the virus was being spread throughout the world by U.S. servicemen who had been used as guinea pigs for the experiments.

That's "capitalist propaganda"?

So you're saying that the US government intentionally released the HIV virus into the wild? That's quite an assertion.

Do you have any proof of this claim? Because if you do, you could bring to light the most depraved act since the Holocaust.

Oh, what's that? You don't? The "capitalist propaganda" is just an article writing about some disinformation spread by the Soviets? Too bad.

Re:Soviet tradtions (1)

yeltski (1438587) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135655)

So you're saying that the US government intentionally released the HIV virus into the wild? That's quite an assertion.

Yeah, that's quite an assertion, because that is your straw-man and not what I'm saying. The Washington Post article is propaganda because it uses something true to create a false story to rally against USSR. There are a ton of off-the-wall opinion ed columns published in all newspapers, doesn't mean anything. Unless you make a bunch of scary questions about your straw-man for the rest of your post.

Re:Soviet tradtions (1)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134727)

Easy there, comrade, you are becoming overheated! Just wander over to the samovar [youtube.com] and enjoy. If you want to be a defender of Moscow [youtube.com] , that is fine. But, if you wish to fight a sacred war [youtube.com] , make sure you do it for a good cause.

During Brezhnev's time a Soviet officer teaching cadets made the point that all of the organs of control and oppression under Stalin still existed, but that no one had the strength of will to grasp and use them as Stalin did. If enough people fight the wrong battles, they may find their new Stalin with the will to once more grasp the reigns. And that would be an enormous tragedy, given past experience [youtube.com] . Enjoy your freedoms, while you have them, for it may not always be so. If you want to fight for the establishment of a dictatorship of the proletariat, you should understand that revolutions eat their own, and you will not be safe [harvard.edu] no matter which party faction you are in.

Do not confuse the label of propaganda as necessarily being the same as untrue.

Re:Soviet tradtions (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134897)

I take issue with that Harvard article blaming Communism for the atrocities of Stalin and Mao.

Do we condemn Democracy for the extermination of the Native Americans, slavery, apartheid, the atrocities committed by the British in India and China, and so on?

No, we don't. We blame the people who committed the actions.

Condemning Communism because of the actions of Stalin or Mao is simply ignorant.

Re:Soviet tradtions (1)

cbraescu1 (180267) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134983)

Condemning Communism because of the actions of Stalin or Mao is simply ignorant.

My dear, you are an ignorant cretin when saying these cretinous words. Both Stain and Mao *applied* the Communist doctrine and in doing so they sent tens of millions to their graves. The actions of Stalin and Mao were undoubtedly a direct consequence of their Communist policies.

When you're too brainwashed to accept facts, please stop commenting on them on the Internet, you're wasting precious bandwidth.

Re:Soviet tradtions (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135099)

Um, do you have any idea what Communism even means or have you attended an American school all your life? No one has ever applied Communism because Communism is literally a stateless and classless society. The Soviet Union was in no way Communist, it had a authoritarian state and a ruling class after all, but it served their interests (keeping power) to call themselves such and it served the interests of the US to call them that (to demonize anyone who would oppose the capitalist elite as sympathizing with the "enemy").

Re:Soviet tradtions (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135367)

Both Stain and Mao *applied* the Communist doctrine and in doing so they sent tens of millions to their graves.

No they didn't. They applied their own doctrines that were practically completely unrelated to Communism.

You could just as easily say Hitler was applying Democratic policies. He was, after all, appointed Chancellor by a democratically elected President.

See how crazy that sounds? That's exactly how crazy you sound when you say Mao or Stalin were actually applying Communist principles. They weren't. They were dictators.

The only governments that have come close to being Communist were the 1872 Paris Commune and the Spanish anarchists during the Spanish civil war.

If you canâ(TM)t get the message, get the man (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134569)

Memorable quotes for
Looker (1981)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082677/quotes [imdb.com] [imdb.com]

âoeJohn Reston: Television can control public opinion more effectively than armies of secret police, because television is entirely voluntary. The American government forces our children to attend school, but nobody forces them to watch T.V. Americans of all ages *submit* to television. Television is the American ideal. Persuasion without coercion. Nobody makes us watch. Who could have predicted that a *free* people would voluntarily spend one fifth of their lives sitting in front of a *box* with pictures? Fifteen years sitting in prison is punishment. But 15 years sitting in front of a television set is entertainment. And the average American now spends more than one and a half years of his life just watching television commercials. Fifty minutes, every day of his life, watching commercials. Now, thatâ(TM)s power. â

âoeThe United States has itâ(TM)s own propaganda, but itâ(TM)s very effective because people donâ(TM)t realize that itâ(TM)s propaganda. And itâ(TM)s subtle, but itâ(TM)s actually a much stronger propaganda machine than the Nazis had but itâ(TM)s funded in a different way. With the Nazis it was funded by the government, but in the United States, itâ(TM)s funded by corporations and corporations they only want things to happen that will make people want to buy stuff. So whatever that is, then that is considered okay and good, but that doesnâ(TM)t necessarily mean it really serves peopleâ(TM)s thinking â" it can stupify and make not very good things happen.â
â" Crispin Glover: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000417/bio [imdb.com] [imdb.com]

âoeItâ(TM)s only logical to assume that conspiracies are everywhere, because thatâ(TM)s what people do. They conspire. If you canâ(TM)t get the message, get the man.â â" Mel Gibson (from an interview)

âoeWeâ(TM)ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.â â" William Casey, CIA Director

George Carlin:

âoeThe real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, theyâ(TM)re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You donâ(TM)t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. Theyâ(TM)ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. Theyâ(TM)ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. Theyâ(TM)ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.

But Iâ(TM)ll tell you what they donâ(TM)t want. They donâ(TM)t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They donâ(TM)t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. Theyâ(TM)re not interested in that. That doesnâ(TM)t help them. Thatâ(TM)s against their interests. They donâ(TM)t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly theyâ(TM)re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago.

You know what they want? Obedient workers people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, theyâ(TM)re coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? Theyâ(TM)ll get it. Theyâ(TM)ll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. Itâ(TM)s a big club, and you ainâ(TM)t in it. You and I are not in the big club.

This country is finished.â

We now return you Americans to your media, corporate, government sponsored and controlled (rigged) elections..

Most of you are all so asleep itâ(TM)s time you woke up!

In Soviet Facebook... (1)

humanrev (2606607) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134583)

KGB Bot un-friends you!

DON'T PANIC (1)

vld (535690) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134603)

All this money will be stolen. I swear.

How many govs do it? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134621)

At least the russians are transparent about it. How many governments do it in the shadow?
Argentina government since a couple of years ago is known to infiltrate twitter and facebook with thousands of fake virtual accounts that supports (spanish) [tn.com.ar] the current government. They also have an army of people actively checking internet and posting in forums, they discovered them by correlation with working hours (nobody post after 6 pm, nicks are auto-generated using a known algorithm and stuff like that)
I bet they use a software package for this purposes. Didn't Palantir offered something like this?

Yet.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134659)

Russia Today, the state-owned media organization, is one of the best sources for national and international news that all the American news networks won't cover.
If they want to propagate this via bots, I personally don't have a problem with it. They aren't afraid to embarrass the US, and I think we need to be embarrassed if we are going to change.

KGB, FSB and "Terms of Service"? Surely you Jest? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134675)

The notion that the FSB, the successor in interest to the KGB, would have any qualms whatsoever about ignoring the "Terms of Service" of an American or European website is laughable. These are people who kill as a matter of doing business, so the fact that their spam bots violate US or European laws doesn't concern them, even in the slightest. The only reason to suggest otherwise is to make an ironic joke.

Re:KGB, FSB and "Terms of Service"? Surely you Jes (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134837)

This is the SVR not the FSB. The SVR is the main organisation doing extra-territorial activities while the FSB is domestic only. The two organisations retain connections but are under different management.

Propaganda? I call it advertisement. (2)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134687)

So the Russian secret service does the same shit companies do. they want to bend public opinion in their direction. However, normally (as in Western countries) governments do not need to do that, because the media is on their side (or to be more precise the government is on the side of the media). So the move in Russia indicates, that the mass population moves away from classic media as their source of information towards other platforms and therefore they have to control those too. So in short. They control the media (as like in a dictatorship) and now this Internet thing causes disruption. So they try to control it too.

What shall I say? I am not surprised. I am only surprised that it came out. But, I guess that does not hurt the endeavor.

I had a good comment... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134705)

...but the KGB bots modded it down.

Re:I had a good comment... (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134813)

...but the KGB bots modded it down.

Well played...

Oh, please (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134743)

The money 'invested' is just a money 'appropriated'. It's stolen. Don't expect much from any of this. I mean, really, what can you get for a million bucks today? This part of the summary is kind of funny:

Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (formerly part of the KGB)

- I'll tell you something right now, there is no 'formerly' when it comes to KGB.

Re:Oh, please (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134945)

Why not? For starters, all Soviet officials of the KGB who were from other republics - Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, et al - they would have returned to their countries after 1991, wouldn't they? Besides, after the 1991 attempted coup, the KGB was disbanded, and since in the early part of his regime, Yeltsin was busy purging the Communist Party, most KGB agents went down w/ it. It was later on, w/ Putin, that they may have staged a comeback, but fact remains that there are 2 totally separate agencies handling intelligence - the FSB and the SVR.

If there is no 'formerly, the Communists would have returned to power.

Re:Oh, please (1)

udachny (2454394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134969)

Sorry, I can't reply to you from my first account, the reason for it is very ironic given this story [slashdot.org] .

But I didn't say that there is no Communist party in Russia (there is actually), I said this: once KGB, always KGB. Who do you think is at the helm of Russian government right now?

Oh, and I actually found that article this /. story is supposed to link to, translated some of it and posted it here [slashdot.org] .

that word, it does not mean what you think it to.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41135545)

Sorry, I can't reply to you from my first account, the reason for it is very ironic given this story [slashdot.org].

indeed, it is ironic that someone who openly supports the suppression of the will of the people and their right to choose their own government is whining about people expressing their opinion of his writing. now you feel you are being suppressed - not much different from how you support the suppression of others' opinions. you would show no sympathy for others in your situation, why should anyone care for you in yours?

KGB vs. CIA bots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134821)

As a citizen of a formally independent Scandinavian country I can accuse those I disagree with as KGB bots, CIA bots and MI6 bots, also known as MI-SEX bots. There are so many bots all around. Some of them speak mostly French and have problems tolerating refugees from the Indian subcontinent.

Common practice in US already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41134877)

The US government has engaged in these type of tactics for years. How is it news that the Russians are catching up?
Maybe this will lead to a more balanced worldview on social networks. At least Russian interests are pretty straightforward. They just want to be left alone, without being surrounded by missile systems, American military bases, or counties destabilised by the rogue states of america. America needs to take a look at itself in the mirror. Today, what they will see is very ugly; a country where the is no free speech - every day we see the arrest of protesters on TV, the majority of the media is controlled by components of the corporate regime, there is effectively single party government, there is a terrible health care system (worse infant mortality rate than Cuba), the basic education system is third world, and the regime in washington is militaristic, and cracks down on all forms of dissent, as it redistributes state 'wealth' to its various cronies.

Re:Common practice in US already (1)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135155)

proof please?

"russian interests are pretty straightforward - they just want to be left alone"

ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?

- very very deep and persistent meddling in internal affairs of ukraine
- basic control of several central asian governments
- arms shipments via transdnistria to the worst conflicts in the world
- undermining estonian government
- sending russian passports to ethnic minorities in georgia to undermine the georgian government
- cynical realpoitiki involving syria and similar places

russia is the opposite of "just want to be left alone"

a joke (1)

udachny (2454394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41134953)

By the way, is this /. story a test of a kind? Because the link that says: "Google translation" literally leads to Google's translator page and nothing else.

I found the silly article from Kommersant that this story is about, here it is [kommersant.ru] .

After reading it I don't think it should be taken seriously (it's not your NSA or CIA, Russia doesn't have the kind of people right now that would take a project like this seriously and not just steal the money).

My quick translation:

Kommersant's sources say that the intelligence agency started a number of programs, with code names 'Storm-12', 'Monitor-3' and 'Dispute' back in January-February of 2012. The idea is to create following programs:

1. To investigate methods of intelligence gathering from Internet providers and data centres and social networks (code name 'Dispute' at 4.41 million rubles).

2. To investigation methods of 'silent management within the Internet' (code name 'Monitor' at 4.99 million rubles).

3. To conduct a scientific type of research in order to develop 'means of pushing special information within social networks' - this means astroturfing (code name 'Storm-12' at 22.8 million rubles).

The three projects are interdependent, the plan is to monitor the Internet and social networks with the 'Dispute' system, which is supposed to 'research processes of social network formation and information dissemination within them' as well as 'establishing the factors that are responsible for the increasing influence and dissemination of information', basically trying to figure out why some information becomes more popular, how do things go viral as opposed to other things (I suggest they start by analysing LOLCAT videos for that).

Once the information is collected it is supposed to be analysed by 'Monitor-3', which is responsible for 'developing the methods of organisation and management of the Internet virtual social networks by using experts, setting tasks, controlling the work of social media, regularly collecting information from the experts in their respective fields'. (Actually this part doesn't read well in Russian and translating something that is written so poorly and ambiguously in one language into another is not easy. This is part of the reason, except for the minuscule funds, why I wouldn't take this program seriously.)

Lastly, 'Storm-12' is then supposed to introduce managed information into the social networks based on the collected data. Its task is described very poorly and grammatically ambiguously as the following: 'development of special programming system of automated dissemination of information within large social networks. Organisation of information support structures into predefined scenarios in order to have a desired affect upon the mass audience of social networks.' The purpose of this 'virtual military' is described as 'mass dissemination of information messages within the (monitored) social networks, with existing user accounts, in order to shape public opinion. Aggregation of statistics and analysis of effectiveness of management of public opinion. Analysis of usefulness of the most popular social services as vectors of initialisation of information waves for directing the public opinion about various matters'.

Kommersan'ts sources say that in order to make the programs secret, the government passed the following bills: N1116-36 on 23 of December, 2011.

Supposedly the systems 'Monitor-3' and 'Dispute' will be ready in 2012 and 'Storm-12' will be ready in 2013'.

--------

and so on and so forth. I can tell you this much: this entire story reads like a bad spy thriller, it's just not plausible.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to do anything for that amount of money in Russia, with that much money they won't even be able to set up a server room, never mind paying the right people the right amounts of money to do any of this work. This is complete nonsense.

I am not saying that Russia is not doing something like this, in fact by Googling 'Monitor-3', 'Storm-12' [google.com] you can find plenty of various blog posts and 'news' publications about these.

AFAIC this is a good indicator that somebody is looking at how various mis-information is disseminated across the public forums and social networks, but these specific programs are most likely a work of fiction themselves, even their names look like they are designed in order to be easily found on the Internet with search engines so that statistics then could be collected how and where these names have spread and how fast various 'news-outlets' picked them up and ran them as legitimate stories.

Read this first!! Then think again. (1)

zimtmaxl (667919) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135077)

Everyone in the free world should read the closing statements from the members of the punk band Puss Riot http://nplusonemag.com/pussy-riot-closing-statements [nplusonemag.com] - A fascinating insight in how the oppressive system works on individual levels.

One defendant's psych eval identified her values as: "justice, mutual respect, humaneness, equality, and freedom."

Those are values that I hope still define the majority of people in the free world!
And we should NEVER forget to defend them in our societies.

boycott sochi (1)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135147)

in case anybody has been paying attention, there have been web pages created on many themes of "boycott sochi" all of which are conveniently unconvincing poorly made messes. there are many good reasons to boycott the 2014 winter games in sochi, or at least to make a stink in this general direction, and it appears that russian elements have decided to head this off by creating scarecrow sites to prevent this from getting traction.

So it's just giant posters of Fearless Leader. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135251)

I would like to say at least dealing in the realm of free speech was an improvment, astroturfing included, if that same government weren't also engaged in the arrest and murder of journalists and political opponents, and weren't engaged in general control of other media.

Robot Dialers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41135341)

After all you would /never/ find the front runners in the American political system using methods of spam to get their point across. Would you?

So sort of... (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135415)

the same as what Apple is doing on slashdot? Let AC's and dead accounts post pro-apple bullshit in every apple-related article only for them to be silent again until the next apple-related article?

Old News - CN, US, SA, IL ... (2)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135451)

RU is late to the game, 'mass distribution of messages in social networks with a view to the formation of public opinion.'

Sometimes I suspect MS, other businesses/lobbyist, mega-churches, and PACs, are already acting like government G2Agencies on /., Facebook, Twitter, Wired ... with automated SocialPolicyAgents (SPAgents).

So, why argue with GIGO SPAgents? SPAgents work in the best interest of a few of the $public$.

Probably have been doing this for years (1)

danbuter (2019760) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135517)

Instead of paying $1,000 per toilet seat, they now just say what they're doing. The CIA and military agencies should take note.

Channel One (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 2 years ago | (#41135609)

Looks like Channel One [wikipedia.org] is useless for that. People stopped watching TV and turned to internet for news.
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