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 @p2wy Given profile of travelers I saw this summer--bc of far cheaper fares--imagine this is especially a problem in flyover country.
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emptywheel "Amtrak's policies also provide grounds for civil asset forfeiture, a process that effectively allows cops to engage in highway robbery,"
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bmaz Further discussion from @jacklgoldsmith on Obama possible continuation of Bush CAT policy http://t.co/jvl2NNxd04
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emptywheel RT @lawfareblog: Jack Goldsmith: "The Debate About the Extraterritorial Scope of the Torture Convention’s Provisions on Cruelty" http://t.c…
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bmaz @JustADCohen CCA gets whatever it wants in AZ.
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bmaz @JustADCohen CCA has a stranglehold on the GOP whack job legislature here. Also CCA man Chuck Coughlin is Brewers long time top advisor.
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bmaz @StephanieKelton LA, SF, NY and DC is it apparently. Seems silly not wider released w/all the buzz it is getting. I was going to go tonight!
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emptywheel @Ali_Gharib the same people who, not having read what actually got released, wrote persistent articles abt how nothing bad revealed?
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bmaz @sethdmichaels @UCSUSA Outstanding and congratulations. Sounds like a fun gig.
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