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New UK Government-Funded Research Center Will Fight Russian Disinformation

June 14th, 2022 14:56

UK media report­ed last week about the found­ing of a new gov­ern­ment-fund­ed research cen­ter aimed at com­bat­ting Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion over Ukraine. The Cen­tre for Emerg­ing Tech­nol­o­gy and Secu­ri­ty (CETaS), based at the Alan Tur­ing Insti­tute, seeks to har­ness open-source data and new tech­nolo­gies such as Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence and to “build a com­mu­ni­ty that can keep pace with the grow­ing amount of data and tools to exploit it.” Accord­ing to a BBC report:

June 8, 2022 A new cen­tre aims to boost the UK’s secu­ri­ty through build­ing exper­tise in cut­ting-edge tech­nol­o­gy.  The Cen­tre for Emerg­ing Tech­nol­o­gy and Secu­ri­ty (CETaS) will be based at the Alan Tur­ing Insti­tute, the UK’s cen­tre for data sci­ence and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence.  UK offi­cials say it will help devel­op exper­tise out­side gov­ern­ment, includ­ing in pub­licly avail­able infor­ma­tion.  This is prov­ing vital in com­bat­ing Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion over Ukraine. […] “In the cur­rent phase of the con­flict, the bal­ance of advan­tage is with those who seek the truth about progress in Rus­si­a’s cam­paign,” two anony­mous gov­ern­ment offi­cials wrote in a paper issued to mark the launch of the new gov­ern­ment-fund­ed CETaS.  A key rea­son has been what’s called open-source intel­li­gence. This relies on analysing pub­licly avail­able data, like videos on social media, in con­trast to “secret” intel­li­gence that spies obtain through covert means like inter­cept­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions or run­ning agents.  “The Ukrain­ian con­flict has shown us the impor­tance of data analy­sis and tech­nol­o­gy for expos­ing Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns,” Paul Kill­worth, deputy chief sci­en­tif­ic advis­er for nation­al secu­ri­ty, told the BBC.  “Cen­tres such as [CETaS] pro­vide anoth­er tool in the armoury of open soci­eties. It gives us more teams of spe­cial­ists able to inves­ti­gate claims.”

Read the rest here.

The CETaS web­site says the cen­ter “con­ducts pol­i­cy-focused research and analy­sis on top­ics relat­ed to data sci­ence, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and pri­va­cy tech­nol­o­gy” and seeks to “direct­ly sup­port the UK nation­al secu­ri­ty com­mu­ni­ty to max­imise the oppor­tu­ni­ties of emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies in a respon­si­ble and evi­dence-based way.”

To date, the CETaS has pub­lished two papers. The CETaS report on the future of open-source intel­li­gence (OSINT) and pub­licly avail­able infor­ma­tion (PAI) argues that OSINT needs to be “viewed firm­ly along­side oth­er types of intel­li­gence and inte­grat­ed cohe­sive­ly into exist­ing ana­lyt­i­cal approach­es across the nation­al secu­ri­ty com­mu­ni­ty.” The CETaS expert analy­sis on infor­ma­tion war­fare exam­ines Russia’s use of online dis­in­for­ma­tion amid the Ukraine war and argues that in the future, Rus­sia will focus on ampli­fy­ing ‘organ­ic’ nar­ra­tives advanced by fringe actors or main­stream ones that suit its aims.