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We are a private, not-for-profit, non-partisan institute that fosters multidisciplinary collaboration between psychologists, anthropologists, behavioural biologists, mathematicians, communication scientists, and behavioural economists – amongst others – to investigate complex human group or societal issues where behaviour change is key.
SCL Elections has unrivalled experience in delivering campaign success via measurable behavioural change. Our staff has worked for more than 20 years on over 100 campaigns in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
As a company we offer a fully comprehensive package of Election Services, ranging from advanced electoral polling, audience research and behavioural analysis, through to a full electoral campaign management solution including operational tools and in-country advisory services.
The key to mitigating the risks and optimizing the rewards of influence and information dominance lies in the understanding and implementation of a rigorous process of target audience research and analysis. Such a process must involve the social sciences (including fields such as sociology, psychology, anthropology) at the behavioral as well as attitudinal levels. This does not exclude kinetic solutions but does position full target audience profiling and analysis as the filter through which kinetic and non-kinetic decisions are made. SCL Defence is the market leader in the creation, implementation and evaluation of target audience projects for governments and military organizations worldwide. PSYOPS, Public Affairs, Information Operations, Target Audience Analysis, Social Intelligence and Strategic Communication are just some of the key areas in which we work.
In 1990 the first field trials for this methodology were undertaken by SCL Ltd, a project management and implementation company, who successfully broke up a strike at a UK car transporting plant. The following year, SCL was credited with saving Lloyds of London by using scientific communication to persuade its many then financially crippled investors to reinvest a further £1bn.
A string of further successes in the commercial sector encouraged SCL to offer its unique capability to International Militaries for independent critical evaluation*. Following a comprehensive analysis of the methodology and thorough assessment of its effectiveness, SCL Defence now supplies the world's leading militaries, including both the US and UK Departments of Defence.
Design and develop a permanent military strategic communication facility capable of delivering strategic and operational psyop campaigns for a South Asian country.
Production of a five-tiered training programme covering strategic, operational and tactical Psyop and the design and re-equipping of a communication facility. The personnel had to be able to take over the new facility after only six months.
Design, build and install a Homeland Security Centre for an Asian country. The Opcentre can override all national radio and TV broadcasts in time of crisis.
Design and installation of a Strategic Communication Centre to improve a country's ability to conduct Public Diplomacy.
Recruitment, training and equipping an operational and tactical Psyop and Civil Affairs military unit for a British Commonwealth country.
LONDON—Over the past 24 hours, seven people have checked into hospitals here with telltale symptoms. Rashes, vomiting, high temperature, and cramps: the classic signs of smallpox. Once thought wiped out, the disease is back and threatening a pandemic of epic proportions.
The government faces a dilemma: It needs people to stay home, but if the news breaks, mass panic might ensue as people flee the city, carrying the virus with them.
A shadowy media firm steps in to help orchestrate a sophisticated campaign of mass deception. Rather than alert the public to the smallpox threat, the company sets up a high-tech "ops center" to convince the public that an accident at a chemical plant threatens London. As the fictitious toxic cloud approaches the city, TV news outlets are provided graphic visuals charting the path of the invisible toxins. Londoners stay indoors, glued to the telly, convinced that even a short walk into the streets could be fatal.
This scenario may sound like a rejected plot twist from a mediocre Bond flick, but one company is dead set on making this fantasy come to life.
Strategic Communication Laboratories, a small U.K. firm specializing in "influence operations" made a very public debut this week with a glitzy exhibit occupying prime real estate at Defense Systems & Equipment International, or DSEi, the United Kingdom's largest showcase for military technology. The main attraction was a full-scale mock-up of its ops center, running simulations ranging from natural disasters to political coups.
Of course, the idea of deluding an entire city seems, well, a bit like propaganda.
"If your definition of propaganda is framing communications to do something that's going to save lives, that's fine," says Mark Broughton, SCL's public affairs director. "That's not a word I would use for that."
Then again, it's hard to know exactly what else to call it. (Company literature describes SCL's niche specialties as "psychological warfare," "public diplomacy," and "influence operations.") The smallpox scenario plays out in excruciating detail how reporters would be tapped to receive disinformation, with TV and radio stations dedicated to around-the-clock coverage. Even the eventual disclosure is carefully scripted.
In another doomsday scenario, the company assists a newly democratic country in South Asia as it struggles with corrupt politicians and a rising insurgency that threatens to bubble over into bloody revolution. SCL steps in to assist the benevolent king of "Manpurea" to temporarily seize power.
Oh, wait, that sounds a lot like Nepal, where the monarchy earlier this year ousted a corrupt government to stave off a rising Maoist movement. The problem is, the SCL scenario also sounds a lot like using a private company to help overthrow a democratically elected government. Another problem, at least in Nepal, is that the king now shows few signs of returning to democracy.
Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL), was first introduced to the concept of using social media data to model human personality traits in early 2014 by Dr Aleksandr Kogan, a lecturer at Cambridge University’s renowned psychology department.
Kogan established his own company in spring that year and began working with SCL to deliver a “large research project” in the US. His stated aim was to get as close to every US Facebook user into the dataset as possible.
The academic used Amazon’s crowdsourcing marketplace Mechanical Turk (MTurk) to access a large pool of Facebook profiles, hoovering up tens of thousands of individuals’ demographic data – names, locations, birthdays, genders – as well as their Facebook “likes”, which offer a range of personal insights.
This was achieved by recruiting MTurk users by paying them about one dollar to take a personality questionnaire that gave access to their Facebook profiles. This raised the alarm among some participants, who flagged Kogan for violating MTurk’s terms of service. “They want you to log into Facebook and then download a bunch of your information,” complained one user at the time.
Crucially, Kogan also captured the same data for each person’s unwitting friends. For every individual recruited on MTurk, he harvested information about their friends, meaning the dataset ballooned significantly in size. Research shows that in 2014, Facebook users had an average of around 340 friends.
By summer 2014, Kogan’s company had created an expansive and powerful dataset. His business partner boasted on LinkedIn that their private outfit, Global Science Research (GSR), “owns a massive data pool of 40+ million individuals across the United States – for each of whom we have generated detailed characteristic and trait profiles”
The problem is, the SCL scenario also sounds a lot like using a private company to help overthrow a democratically elected government.
originally posted by: theantediluvian
a reply to: BlueShaman
Why don't you try reading the op?