Izabella Kaminska of the FT drew attention on Twitter to a blog on the apparent ability of GCHQ to manipulate the internet, as revealed by Edward Snowden. It is reported that they have a number of programs available:
Underpass is used to “change outcome of online polls.”
Slipstream and Gateway can be used to manipulate traffic to a website, inflating its page views and raising its search rank to alter perception of its popularity.
Gestator can be used for “amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube).”
Clean Sweep allows GCHQ to “masquerade Facebook Wall Posts for individuals or entire countries.”
So, suppose no one reads this blog at all. Suppose this blog ranking for this site was fake?
But I seriously doubt that GCHQ would choose to rank this blog at number 1, so that seems pretty unlikely.
The point, though, is a serious one. Google is no longer reliable with regard to the past and GCHQ can apparently fake internet traffic. How long is it before we lose faith in something we have come to rely on? I do wonder.