|Type||Software, hardware, and cyber security company|
|Headquarters||San Diego, California, U.S.|
|Products||Anonymizer (security product)|
Operation Earnest Voice
In March 2011, The Guardian reported that Ntrepid had won a $2.76 million contract for "online persona management" (commonly known as "sockpuppetry") operations from the U.S. military. The contract is for the creation of "fake online personas to influence net conversations and spread US propaganda." According to the US military, the technology would not be used in the U.S, or on sites owned by U.S. corporations such as Facebook and Twitter. Rather, it would be used exclusively outside the U.S. on sites owned by non-U.S. corporations, in order to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda, US CENTCOM representatives claim.
Ntrepid will supply software, named "MetalGear", that will enable one operator to create and control multiple personas from one computer, "without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries". The software sought would allow up to 50 users to each have 10 personas. Each persona would have a background, history, supporting details, and cyber presence that is consistent from a technical, cultural, and geographic standpoint. The user would be able to use his different online personas from the same PC, and make them appear to be coming from almost anywhere in the world, without his true location being determined even by a sophisticated enemy. The service envisioned would also communicate to the user real-time local information, so that he could appear to be socially aware as he would be if he were located in the relevant geographic location.
The project is overseen by U.S. Central Command (Centcom), whose spokesman Commander Bill Speaks stated that the operation would be carried out in languages other than English, particularly Arabic, Farsi, and Urdu. He stated that, "the technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the U.S."
- Nick Fielding and Ian Cobain, "Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media", The Guardian, March 17, 2011. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
- Alex Spillius, "Pentagon buys social networking 'spy software'", The Telegraph, March 17, 2011. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
- Lee, Amy (March 17, 2011). "U.S. Military Launches Spy Operation Using Fake Online Identities". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- Steve Ragan (April 8, 2011). "Representative Johnson refuses to sweep Team Themis under the rug". thetechherald.com. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
- Department of the Air Force; Air Mobility Command; 6th Contracting Squadron. "Freedom of Information Act Support – Solicitation Number: RTB220610". FedBizOpps.gov. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "U.S. military to use fake social media personas as pro-American propaganda tool". Yahoo! News. Retrieved May 29, 2011.
- Shaun Waterman, "U.S. Central Command ‘friending’ the enemy in psychological war", Washington Times, March 1, 2011. Retrieved March 24, 2011.