The Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab is based in a 12-foot-by-12-foot office in the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the nearly 60-year-old Council http://www.atlanticcouncil.org, a think tank devoted to studying serious and at times obscure international issues. Facebook is using the group to enhance its investigations of foreign interference. Last week, the company said it took down 32 suspicious pages and accounts that purported to be run by leftists and minority activists. While some U.S. officials said they were likely the work of Russian agents, Facebook said it did not know for sure. It fell to the lab to point out similarities to fake Russian pages from 2016 during Facebook's news conference last week.


Facebook began looking for outside help amid criticism for failing to rein in Russian propaganda ahead of the 2016 presidential elections. The U.S. Justice Department won indictments against 13 Russians and three companies for using social media in that election to influence voters. U.S. President Donald Trump's national security team warned last week of persistent attempts by Russia to use social media against the 2018 congressional elections as well.


With scores of its own cybersecurity professionals and $40 billion in annual revenue in 2017, Facebook might not seem in need of outside help. But the lab and Atlantic Council bring geopolitical expertise and allow Facebook to distance itself from sensitive pronouncements.


On last week's call with reporters, Alex Stamos, Facebook's chief security officer, said the company should not be expected to identify or blame specific governments for all the campaigns it detects. "Companies like ours don’t have the necessary information to evaluate the relationship between political motivations that we infer about an adversary and the political goals of a nation-state," said Stamos, who is leaving the company this month for a post at Stanford University. Instead, he said Facebook would stick to amassing digital evidence and turning it over to authorities and researchers.

It would also be awkward for Facebook to accuse a government of wrongdoing when the company is trying to enter or expand in a market under that government’s control.


Facebook donated an undisclosed amount to the lab in May that was enough, said Graham Brookie, who runs the lab, to vault the company to the top of the Atlantic Council’s donor list, alongside the British government.


Reuters, August 7, 2018




Well it seems that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has officially joined the war party.  He has partnered Facebook with the Atlantic Council, the semi-official NATO lobby in the United States.  ACUS is hardly the place to look for "objective" assessments of cyber breaches.  Graham Brookie, the newly minted head of the Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, spent 2013-2017 working at the Obama White House, in various national security posts.  And let us not forget that Atlantic Council's senior fellow for its Cyber Statecraft Initiative is Dmitri Alperovitch, the co-founder and chief technology officer for Crowdstrike, the cyber forensic firm that had the exclusive contract with the Democratic National Committee to manage their cyber security.  It was Crowdstrike–not any Federal law enforcement agency or the NSA–that concluded that the Russians had hacked into the DNC computers and stolen the treasure trove of emails.


Not only does Facebook steal your private data and share it with clients.  They are now in bed with the Atlantic Council, and are competing with the British government to be the number one source of ACUS funding.  Is Big Brother any less menacing if it happens to be in the private corporate sector, not officially in a government agency?  I think not.




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