An investigation by The Federalist revealed that the Department of Defense is recruiting media-rating grifters for AI censorship technology development for the U.S. government. Open-source research reveals this troubling development is driving the warp-speed growth of the Censorship-Industrial Complex—and several other concerning details.
Following last week’s congressional hearings on the Censorship-Industrial Complex, attention focused on the media-ratings giant NewsGuard and its relationship with the DOD after the company’s CEO declared it is not “government-funded.” The Federalist reported that 2020 NewsGuard was awarded $25,000 by the federal government in order to conduct a pilot study. This award came after the winner of the COVID-19 Disinformation Challenge. The prize package included the opportunity to learn the ropes of profiteering by participating in a “Government Contracting 101 session” You can also find out more about a “Small Business Innovation Research (SBIRC) crash course.”
NewsGuard received a $750,000 federal Small Business Innovation Research Center award the following year. This was to help NewsGuard further develop its products. “Misinformation Fingerprints” program in conjunction the DOD. The program depends on NewsGuard’s questionable “reliability” Ratings of news sites and its database of so called “news websites” “hoaxes, falsehoods and misinformation narratives.” The project then uses this information. “AI and social listening tools to identify the initial source of the hoax,” To find examples of hoaxes being committed “repeated or amplified” online.
NewsGuard Is Not All About It
NewsGuard isn’t the only for profit business that the U.S. government uses for its technology and databases on disinformation and misinformation. PeakMetrics, a California-based company, joined NewsGuard as one the three winners in the 2020 Pentagon-State Department misinformation/disinformation contest. It won its $25,000 pilot study to help develop its information technology. “social listening” Technology and DOD assistance
PeakMetrics received funding from SBIRC in the next year, to help further develop its technology. This was $1.5 million, just like NewsGuard. PeakMetrics’ entry into the Censorship-Industrial Complex is even more revealing of the government’s grooming of for-profit businesses than NewsGuard’s.
PeakMetrics was a participant in the early 2020 misinformation and disinformation contest between the Pentagon and State Department. “Air Force Accelerator.” PeakMetrics was originally focused on the development of software. “communications professionals and marketers” Businesses (and politicians) can be allowed to “monitor” The media landscape.
PeakMetrics announced its selection for the Air Force Accelerator Program. It stressed that it will continue its original mission and work with the government to improve its. “unique monitoring and measuring tool to detect misinformation campaigns.” This program was named an “Air Force Accelerator Powered by Techstars.”
The managing director “accelerator program” declared, “In this new age of cyberwarfare and social manipulation, media monitoring, detection, and mitigation of misinformation operations is becoming more important than bombs and bullets,” stressing “PeakMetrics provides a unique monitoring and measuring tool to detect misinformation campaigns before they cause harm.”
U.S. Military Funding Companies Will Monitor Americans
Details on this program give insights into the Censorship-Industrial Complex growth industry. The “accelerator” This partnership is between the Air Force, the private venture capital Techstars program and the Air Force. Techstars offers mentorship, legal and accounting support, as well as start-up financing. Its companies include PeakMetrics. The accelerator program targets “small businesses” In early-stage development “that offer products that can benefit troops as well as a broad swath of the commercial market.”
We see this as our government trying to attract private businesses looking for start-up capital to adapt their technology and mission to monitor disinformation and misinformation for the Defense Department. Not only do the for-profit tech firms benefit financially by joining the Censorship-Industrial Complex, so does the venture capital firm Techstars that moved them in.
The government is not just funding technology development for defense purposes, but will also buy from for-profit firms. Importantly, the DOD also targets products that could benefit. “a broad swath of the commercial market,” Our tax dollars fund the development and deployment of a media-monitoring tool that can then be used to censor ordinary Americans via Big Tech.
PeakMetrics: Case Study
PeakMetrics is a great example of this scenario.
The Air Force accelerator selected it to participate. Shortly thereafter, the SBIRC awarded the company nearly $50,000 for a Phase 1 project. “leverage” It “proprietary data pipeline” “machine learning algorithms” That “ingest millions of data points per day from news articles, social media Posts and TV + Radio broadcasts.” The government also paid PeakMetrics taxes to help develop technology products that can be used online to find phrases and words.
The Phase I Project had the following objectives: “to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential” PeakMetrics proposed R&D activities. The award stated that the research and developmental program related to the DOD’s efforts. “counteract information warfare through deep fake detection, sentiment analysis and measurement of message effectiveness.”
The federal funding for PeakMetrics was then increased multiple times. PeakMetrics took part in the jointly sponsored Pentagon-State Department COVID-19 information and disinformation contest. Along with NewsGuard, it was awarded a $25,000 grant to test its technology with government agencies. In March 2021, two additional Small Business Innovation Research Center grants were awarded to fund two Phase II studies conducted by PeakMetrics.
First, one award of $750,000 “Rapid Analysis of Disinformation Campaigns for Operators,” PeakMetrics was created by funding “technology for rapid assessment and quantification of disinformation for DoD operators, with emphasis on crosschannel media analysis leveraging actual language processing.” PeakMetrics Phase II research in China was also funded with the $750,000 second 2021 award. “Foreign-Language Event Detection” program.
For now, let’s forget about the question of whether giving government officials who are abusive of free speech tools to monitor or censor the populace is a social service. A review of open-source material revealed three troubling tidbits.
PeakMetrics is the first to boast it “worked with mission-critical clients including the U.S. State Department and the Department of Defense through the 2020 and 2022 U.S. elections and is now expanding its offerings to commercial partners.”
What was PeakMetrics exactly? Do Did it provide assistance to the U.S. State Department or Department of Defense during the 2020-2022 elections? Did it use its proprietary software in order to help the government in its efforts to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop story. What if not? PeakMetrics didn’t respond to multiple requests.
PeakMetrics funding and its relationship with the government is a concern. They offer products that encourage the censorship of private speech. PeakMetrics has not responded to The Federalist’s inquiries. It is therefore unclear whether PeakMetrics used taxpayer funds for R&D that served the dual purpose: expanding PeakMetrics’ corporate censorship products.
The partnership between PeakMetrics, NewsGuard and NewsGuard was announced in January 2022. It relies on NewsGuard being untrustworthy. “trust ratings” For media outlets. Under the agreement between the two for-profit businesses—both of which received seed funding from the government to develop products—corporate clients can use PeakMetrics’ media monitoring programs to “filter, sort, and discover mentions of a brand or topic based on NewsGuard’s credibility ratings.”
It also states that clients can assess whether their brand appears in supposed advertisements. “credible news sources” Oder on “misinformation websites.” PeakMetrics was also included in this partnership agreement. “business-tier customers” NewsGuard’s access “trust ratings and detailed Nutrition Labels.”
NewsGuard and PeakMetrics partnered for the second time in January 2022. The dubious analysis of Parler posts by the for-profit companies was published one year ago. This is a typical example of many problems in the disinformation cottage business.
“Special Report: 87% of news shared on Parler before Jan. 6th came from misinformation sites,” NewsGuard’s headline shouted. The “Special Report” PeakMetrics obtained data and extracted links for Parler during the week prior to Jan. 6, 2021. NewsGuard then analysed the data against its existing database. “credibility ratings” For thousands of news sources.
The companies presented this analysis and it was reported by both. “that news links shared on the social media app Parler in the period surrounding the Jan. 6th Capitol insurrection came overwhelmingly from misinformation websites . . . ” Of the more than 17,000 public Parler posts, the PeakMetrics-NewsGuard analysis revealed “87 percent of the news links shared during that time period came from websites with red ‘unreliable’ ratings from NewsGuard…”
It is hard to imagine a more classic example. “disinformation,” or the intentional misleading of information. PeakMetrics and NewsGuard used a faulty analysis—one that assumed any story published by “red”-rated media outlets the week before the Jan. 6. riots, reported false claims about the November 2020 election—to imply both the “red-rated” News outlets and Parler contributed to the cause of an “insurrection.”
Convict Their Opponents for Their Own Activities
NewsGuard may be a great company, but its faulty analysis shows that it is not all about transparency and journalistic ethics. “informing” the public but about silencing disfavored news outlets by framing them as threats to democracy—all while making money.
NewsGuard now uses the same datapoints as PeakMetrics to help the government fight allegedly terrorist attacks “state-sponsored disinformation.” However, we know from Twitter Files, that the government considers ordinary Americans the same as our adversaries. “state-sponsored disinformation.”
You are spreading Russian disinformation by opposing no-strings funding for Ukraine. If you repost RT articles, you are a Russian bot.
Although we don’t fully know the DOD’s plans for the NewsGuard or PeakMetrics technologies, we do know that it has a history of branding inconvenient speech to silence it “disinformation”—even when it is true and even if it is Americans expressing their views.
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