Saturday, August 9, 2014

Brazil: President Rousseff's Office Linked to Disinfomation Campaign Against Respected Journalists

According to The Latin American Tribune, an unidentified person with access to the Internet server in the office of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff altered the profiles of two journalists on Wikipedia by adding several criticisms and falsehoods, O Globo newspaper said on Friday (August 8).

According to the newspaper, IP 200.181.15.10, an Internet identity linked to Planalto Palace, was used in May 2013 to negatively smear the profiles of journalists Miriam Leitao and Carlos Alberto Sardenberg, well-known journalists affiliated with the O Globo network.

The first alteration was done on May 10 to the profile of Leitao, an economics writer, describing her analyses as “disastrous.”

Three days later, another alteration falsely connected Leitao with the corrupt banker Daniel Dantas.

A further change performed in May using the same IP said Sardenberg was a critic of the policies of Rousseff and of her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and accused the journalist of carrying water for special interests.

COMMENT: Both Leitao and Sardenberg were disturbed by what had happened and refuted the accusations.

Planalto Palace told the newspaper that “the Internet protocol number (IP) cited by the report is part of the general address of the wireless server of the presidential palace.”

“That means that anyone who used that mobile Internet server would have as his or her address that general IP number – which is why it is impossible to determine with any certainty the identity of the person who altered those texts,” the president’s office said.

The above being said, it seems inherent that the President's office has a responsibility to identify the source of the disinformation campaign.

If  Planalto Palace does not have the resources to identify every user having access to its server, a formal information damage assessment is warranted that should be published in all Brazilian dailies.