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Activists slam Cyveillance May Day Bomber claims

And pour scorn on The Guardian

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A Guardian story published this week on Net intelligence outfit Cyveillance has sparked a furious response from the online Independent Media Centre. It claims the newspaper has been suckered.

The Guardian piece consists of an extensive interview with the managing director of Cyveillance, Andrew Muir. A range of facts, figures and accusations are thrown into the mix: 4.5 billion pages on the web; "brand misrepresentation" can cost anywhere from $100,000 to more than $100m a year; web traffic diversion ranges from $400,000 for an offline company with an obscure brand to $10.8m for a top e-commerce site. And so on.

However, the UK Independent Media Centre - which prides itself on offering an alternative take on the news - was unimpressed and accuses Cyveillance of "spying on, and lying about, the anti-capitalist movement".

It accuses the reporter of swallowing Cyveillance's lies and expresses concern that the mainstream media is reporting made-up stories of cyber-terrorism.

IndyMedia seems most concerned with one part of the article which states: "Last year, Cyveillance was able to inform a UK high street bank that one of its branches in the city of London was being targeted by May Day protesters, and tell it which window the activists were planning to throw a bomb through."

To boldly state such an unlikely event as fact is daft in the extreme. There has been no suggestion of a bomb threat at the May Day event or any previous anti-capitalist march, and Muir's claim that he told a bank not only about a bomb but also which exact window it would be put through stretches his credibility to breaking point.

Cyveillance is a US-based company which recently opened in the UK and promotes itself to large corporations as the perfect solution to misinformation and damaging comments made about the company over the Internet. Cyveillance trawls the Net and supplies reports of company-related information for a fee.

This is nothing new, but Cyveillance has gone for the most dramatic, some would say scaremongering, approach; namely that companies need it to save themselves from serious damage from online comments and hacking and offline direct action.

Now, where did those bombers go? ®

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