spies censored Covid criticism – media

28 spies censored Covid criticism – media

The “UK intelligence group” labored with a authorities unit that monitored and eliminated dissent on social media, the Telegraph has reported

Businesses throughout the “UK intelligence group” labored carefully with the federal government’s ‘Counter-Disinformation Unit’ (CDU) to police Covid-related dissent on social media, the Telegraph reported on Friday, citing labeled paperwork.

The paperwork in query have been offered to the British authorities’s ongoing Covid-19 inquiry, arrange earlier this 12 months to look at the federal government’s response to the pandemic.

Marked “official delicate,” the paperwork allege that the “UK intelligence group” was “working carefully” with the CDU “the place acceptable” in the course of the pandemic, the newspaper acknowledged. The paperwork don’t element which businesses throughout the intelligence group – which incorporates MI6, MI5 and GCHQ – labored with the CDU.

Little is thought in regards to the CDU’s interior workings. Fashioned in 2019 to fight so-called “disinformation” surrounding European elections, the unit had as much as 50 workers members in the course of the pandemic, Susannah Storey, director basic for digital, expertise and telecoms on the Division for Science, Innovation and Know-how, reportedly advised the inquiry.

Storey reportedly stated that the CDU solutions to a 12-member “disinformation board,” which incorporates members of the “intelligence group.” In keeping with the Telegraph, the board’s director, Sarah Connolly, beforehand advised Parliament that one of many CDU’s key duties was “passing data over” to platforms like Fb and Twitter (now renamed X) to “encourage… the swift takedown of posts.”

In keeping with paperwork obtained by the Telegraph earlier this summer time, the CDU used synthetic intelligence to determine and flag feedback by critics of the federal government’s Covid insurance policies. These allegedly included Molly Kingsley, whose kids’s advocacy group ‘UsForThem’ had campaigned in opposition to closing faculties in the course of the pandemic; London Faculty of Hygiene and Tropical Drugs analysis fellow Alexandre de Figueiredo, who spoke up in opposition to mass-vaccinating kids in opposition to Covid-19; and Carl Heneghan, the director of Oxford College’s Centre for Proof-Primarily based Drugs. 

The federal government denied the allegations, insisting that it merely tracked “narratives and traits” slightly than the people spreading them.

The actions of the CDU mirror these of a number of authorities businesses within the US, which liaised with main social media platforms to take away dissenting posts and ban the accounts accountable. In keeping with inside paperwork launched by Elon Musk following his buy of Twitter final 12 months, the platform’s prior administration eliminated posts on behalf of the FBI, CIA, Division of Protection, and a Covid-focused tutorial group made up of members of the three businesses. 

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