(Digression) Public relations burglars: Team Themis + US Chamber of Commerce vs. pro-truth movement
ThinkProgress has learned that a law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the big business trade association representing ExxonMobil, AIG, and other major international corporations, is working with set of "private security" companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress, with a surreptitious sabotage campaign. [...]The story's also on DeSmogBlog and NCFocus. (No comment yet from the fine folks at Praetorian Prefect though, whether about Team Themis's tactics, or about the "Anonymous" group's efforts in cracking open Themis's internal documents.)
According to one document prepared by Team Themis [= Berico Technologies + HBGary Federal + Palantir Technologies], the campaign included an entrapment project. The proposal called for first creating a "false document, perhaps highlighting periodical financial information," to give to a progressive group opposing the Chamber, and then to subsequently expose the document as a fake to undermine the credibility of the Chamber's opponents. In addition, the group proposed creating a "fake insider persona" to "generate communications" with [anti-Chamber labour coalition] Change to Win.
Anyway, I don't think it's accurate to call them "hackers" or " 'private security' companies ", as Climate Progress did. Security companies attack and defend physical goods and people. Cyber-security companies attack and defend computer systems. From the uploaded documents about Team Themis, it seems they're doing something quite different: they attack and defend people's reputations. That's to say, the companies in Team Themis are really PR firms -- and they're PR firms of an especially unscrupulous kind.
For lack of a better term, I'll call these companies public relations burglars.
And now I've cleared that up, I have a question: what can we -- as random bloggers -- do to defend against PR burglary? Perhaps someone with some relevant domain knowledge can help us out... and if this is the stuff of cutting-edge research, I'd also like to know.
Update 2011-03-04: More from Climate Progress: Plan solicited by Chamber of Commerce lawyers included malware hacking of activist computers.