Astroturfing: A Law Firm Opportunity

The HB Gary email leak just keeps on giving. First reported over a week ago, the leak of more than 50,000 internal emails was made by Anonymous, and revealed planned attacks by HB Gary on Wikileaks. The attacks were to be made at the behest of Bank of America, as it girded its loins in preparation for a promised exposure. Apart from demonstrating government involvement in the plot, which included targeting journalists the email have also shown a similar conspiracy in service of the US Chamber of Commerce. Now the emails have revealed the extent to which astroturfing has been developed, and automated. From the Daily KOS:

According to an embedded MS Word document found in one of the HB Gary emails, it involves creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated “persona management” software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks Brothers riot online.

Interestingly, it is a law firm, Hunton and Williams, that seems to be at the centre of both the BoA and the CoC scandals.

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