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  • The Compleat Spy Requires AI

    Posted by David Foster on June 18th, 2019 (All posts by )

    China’s intelligence services appear to be using LinkedIn, with profile pictures generated artificially, for the recruitment of agents.

    Chinese intrusion into US affairs has not generally gotten anywhere near the attention that Russian intrusion…real, attempted, or imagined…has gotten, but it needs more visibility.  See my related post So, Really Want to Talk About Foreign Intervention?


    3 Responses to “The Compleat Spy Requires AI”

    1. MCS Says:

      When I first saw it, I wondered why they would go to the trouble of generating a picture rather than simply picking one from the trillions on the web. I finally figured out that it was to prevent image searches from queering the gaff.

      It used to be thought necessary to bait a honey trap with a real person, apparently, we are so focused on the virtual world that all it takes is a picture and men fall all over themselves.

    2. David Foster Says:

      I wonder if the profile *content* is also automatically-generated.

      I’m not sure that all the profiles are female…if the intelligence operative are impersonating recruiters, which they evidently sometimes are, males would work just as well.

      Plus, honey traps can go the other way, too…

    3. MCS Says:

      In the context of job recruitment the dynamic is more similar between male and female plants but I’ll bet that most men and even most women will tend to say more to an attractive woman than a man. I’m sure a lot of attention was paid to make the picture attractive enough but not too much. Using a fake picture means that a hand-off will have to occur before a face to face meeting can take place, but that might not be the objective.

      I’d think that the profile would rate careful attention, whether that could be made to work automatically or not.