The Spy Who Nudged Me
Dave Harrison - February 8th, 2010
Ian Fleming’s fictional hero James Bond was never shaken, but he was stirred into action if he discovered he was being followed. If you are an active participant in the social media world, like Bond, you too may soon have an unwelcome follower. The infiltration won’t be a henchman such as Odd Job in Goldfinger or Dr. No from the inaugural 007 film of the same name. Instead your latest followers on Twitter may be on the payroll of the United States Government. That was the plan suggested in a paper co-authored by the White House’s Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Professor Cass Sunstein. http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/inforeg_administrator/
As I was considering the implications of professor Sunstein’s 2008 academic paper (John Wiley & Sons ~ Journal of Political Philosophy) titled Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures, something quite strange struck me. I had the distinct feeling that Professor Sunstein’s list of ways to deal with much of the independent thought displayed on the social web may potentially backfire. Then I thought that I should make this post as quickly as possible considering the list of suggestions outlined under Professor Sunstein’s self-described plan of “cognitive infiltration.”
- Government might undertake tactics for breaking up the tight cognitive clusters of extremist theories.
- Government agents might enter chat rooms, online social networks, even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, casual logic or implications for political action.