Cover art for Active Measures

Active Measures

7 ratings

Summary

This revelatory and dramatic history of disinformation traces the rise of secret organized deception operations from the interwar period to contemporary internet troll farms We live in the age of disinformation - of organized deception. Spy agencies pour vast resources into hacking, leaking, and forging data, often with the goal of weakening the very foundation of liberal democracy: trust in facts. Thomas Rid, a renowned expert on technology and national security, was one of the first to sound the alarm. Even before the 2016 election, he warned that Russian military intelligence was "carefully planning and timing a high-stakes political campaign" to disrupt the democratic process. But as crafty as such so-called active measures have become, they are not new.  The story of modern disinformation begins with the clash between communism and capitalism after the Russian Revolution, which would come to define the Cold War. In Active Measures, Rid reveals startling intelligence and security secrets from materials written in more than 10 languages across several nations, and from interviews with current and former operatives. He exposes the disturbing yet colorful history of professional, organized lying, revealing for the first time some of the century's most significant operations - many of them nearly beyond belief. A White Russian ploy backfires and brings down a New York police commissioner; a KGB-engineered, anti-Semitic hate campaign creeps back across the Berlin Wall; the CIA backs a fake publishing empire, run by a former Wehrmacht U-boat commander that produces Germany’s best jazz magazine. Rid tracks the rise of leaking, and shows how spies began to exploit emerging internet culture many years before WikiLeaks. Finally, he sheds new light on the 2016 election, especially the role of the infamous "troll farm" in St. Petersburg as well as a much more harmful attack that unfolded in the shadows. Active Measures takes the listener on a guided tour deep into a vast hall of mirrors old and new, pointing to a future of engineered polarization, more active and less measured - but also offering the tools to cut through the game of deception. A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

©2020 Thomas Rid (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

Narrator: Derek Perkins
Author: Thomas Rid
Length: 14 hrs and 45 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Rise of the Machines

Rise of the Machines

2 ratings

Summary

As lives offline and online merge, it's easy to forget how we got here. Rise of the Machines reclaims the story of cybernetics, a control theory of man and machine. Thomas Rid delivers a portrait of our technology-enraptured era. Springing from mathematician Norbert Wiener amid the devastation of World War II, the cybernetic vision underpinned a host of myths about the future of machines. This vision radically transformed the postwar world, ushering in sweeping cultural change. Cybernetics triggered cults, the Whole Earth Catalog, and feminist manifestos just as it fueled martial gizmos and the air force's foray into virtual space. As Rid shows, cybernetics proved a powerful tool for two competing factions - those who sought to make a better world and those who sought to control the one at hand. In the Bay Area, techno-libertarians embraced networked machines as the portal to a new electronic frontier. In Washington, DC, cyberspace provided the perfect theater for dominance and war. That "first cyberwar" went on for years - and indeed has never stopped. In our cybernetic future, the line between utopia and dystopia continues to be disturbingly thin.

©2016 Thomas Rid (P)2016 Highbridge, a division of Recorded Books

Narrator: Robertson Dean
Author: Thomas Rid
Length: 12 hrs and 59 mins
Available on Audible