British secret service wants to damage reputations via weblogs and forums

Snowden documents recently released describe plans by British intelligence agency GCHQ to discredit targets in various ways. For example, the plan to inflict reputational damage is described via weblogs and forums.

Under the heading Operation Playbook, the GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group lists a number of operations that can be used online to defame targets, writes The Intercept based on documents from whistleblower Snowden. The intelligence service mentions as tactics, among other things, adjusting photos on social networks, setting up blogs that appear to originate from victims and sending messages to family and acquaintances. To harm companies, leaking confidential company data, posting negative information on forums and disrupting business relationships would be permissible.

In addition, some slides are about human interaction and especially about how people interact with each other online. The GCHQ describes various techniques for manipulating group dynamics through, for example, deception, influence and the media. Hacktivists are mentioned as targets, among others. Earlier, information came online about how the intelligence services carried out DDO attacks against Anonymous.

The revelations contain few striking new insights, but do give a glimpse into the working methods and plans of the British intelligence services to manipulate information on the internet.