Newly leaked documents have revealed a secretive initiative by U.S. and UK military contractors to establish a global censorship framework in 2018, according to a new report by journalists behind the Twitter Files.
Ublic has published a report by Michael Shellenberger, Alex Gutentag, and Matt Taibbi claiming that a whistleblower has surfaced with documents suggesting that U.S. and UK military contractors, including prominent defense researchers and cybersecurity experts, orchestrated a comprehensive plan for global censorship. These documents, rivaling the significance of the Twitter Files and Facebook Files, which both Taibbi and Shellenberger contributed to, depict the formation of an “anti-disinformation” group named the Cyber Threat Intelligence League (CTIL). Allegedly a “volunteer project” by data scientists and defense veterans at its outset, CTIL’s tactics were seemingly integrated into projects of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The CTIL documents fill gaps left by previous disclosures, painting a detailed portrait of the so-called “Censorship Industrial Complex.” This network, comprising over 100 government agencies and NGOs, has been instrumental in pushing for censorship on social media platforms and spreading targeted propaganda. The documents include detailed accounts of digital censorship programs, military and intelligence community involvement, partnerships with civil society organizations and media, and the deployment of covert techniques like sock puppet accounts.
The whistleblower’s revelations highlight the pivotal role of CTIL in the creation and expansion of the Censorship Industrial Complex. Spearheaded by Sara-Jayne “SJ” Terp, a former UK defense researcher, and others, CTIL developed a comprehensive censorship framework in 2019. This framework was later adopted by various governmental and non-governmental organizations, including DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
Key to this framework was the concept of “cognitive security,” integrating into cybersecurity and information security fields. This approach aimed at not just stopping misinformation but influencing public opinion by shaping narratives and controlling information dissemination.