FUD

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt: the Real Cyber Attack on the Truth [UPDATE]

[photo: cdrummbks via Flickr]

[UPDATE – see end of article.]

One weaselly senator–with long-identified agendas and a pathetically thin understanding of technology–takes to the microphone. Suddenly, by virtue of wrapping his senatorial lips around a few scary words on topics about which he knows little, we citizens are supposed to quake in fear and plead for salvation.

Screw that noise. This is textbook  “fear, uncertainty, and doubt” — more commonly referred to as FUD in the information technology industry.

Since the 1970s, FUD tactics have used to suppress competition in the computer marketplace, targeting both hardware and software. Roger Irwin explained,

…It is a marketing technique used when a competitor launches a product that is both better than yours and costs less, i.e. your product is no longer competitive. Unable to respond with hard facts, scare-mongering is used via ‘gossip channels’ to cast a shadow of doubt over the competitors offerings and make people think twice before using it.In general it is used by companies with a large market share, and the overall message is ‘Hey, it could be risky going down that road, stick with us and you are with the crowd. Our next soon-to-be-released version will be better than that anyway’. …

FUD has non-technology applications as well; one need only look at product and service brands that encourage doubts about using any product other than their own, in lieu of actually promoting the advantages their product or service might have.

So what’s the FUD about? Senator Joe Lieberman spouted off about cyber attacks in September last year, claiming Iran was behind disruptive efforts targeting U.S. banks.

Right. Uh-huh. Predictable, yes?

But FUD is used in situations where there is competition, one might point out. Yes, exactly; in September 2012, the case for support of unilateral attacks against Iran was up against the news cycle crush, powered by the post-Benghazi fallout and the drive toward the November general election, followed by the terror that was the “fiscal cliff.” That’s a lot of powerful, compelling competition for both attention, votes, and tax dollars, when members of a reliable but lame duck Congress could be mounting up a pre-emptive cyber war without the headwind of public awareness and resistance, or the too-inquisitive pushback from newbies in the next seated Congress. Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel Sony's only on the hook for $20M for gross negligence in protecting employee data? http://t.co/RqezRqmpmD Fed employees take note.
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JimWhiteGNV Anti-vaxxers=murderers. https://t.co/osiW0Z8f6F
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emptywheel @radicalmandy You tell the Lowes people that only GCHQ gets to laugh at Amnesty employees. (And congrats, btw)
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emptywheel @agidari The report requires judges authorizing wiretaps under 18 USC 2518 and states to report. That's not all judges is it? @wendyck
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bmaz Infotainment hosts @WolfBlitzer + @GloriaBorger on @CNN cackling about Trump instead of reporting that hes ignorant racist lout. #BadJournos
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emptywheel @billmon1 Sure, and if he were raising big Wall Street money Wall Street might let him win. But he will not have been purchased like that.
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emptywheel Is it too late to invite Trump? https://t.co/nKjYSoviHz
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bmaz @cristianafarias @azatty For the most part, they have all gone to Sue Bolton, who is very good and efficient at dispensing with them
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emptywheel RT @NSArchive: CIA's "scary" bin Laden doll sold at auction in LA; CIA continues to ignore our #FOIA for dox on it #FRINFORMSUM https://t.c…
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emptywheel @agidari No, my Q was, for example, whether Fed one counts NYPD wiretaps. It only reports state, not muni, wiretaps, right? @wendyck
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JimWhiteGNV Outdoor chores delayed by nearby weather, but no actual rain here. We should at least get rain on pastures if I can't work...
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emptywheel @RachelBLevinson Nevertheless, given that they're not protecting USP dragnet data w/tech audits, fairly safe to assume they're not 12333.
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