Why Is the Military Creating an Army of Fake People on the Internet?

Here's a slight glimpse into the Air Force's cyber warfare efforts: a request for bids from last summer for "Persona Management Software," which would allow one person to command an army of fake online people.

From the request, posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website:

Software will allow 10 personas per user, replete with background , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographacilly consistent. Individual applications will enable an operator to exercise a number of different online persons from the same workstation and without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries. Personas must be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world and can interact through conventional online services and social media platforms.

The request was for 50 licenses, which means the Air Force hoped to create up to 500 fake Internet people. The request was filled in June, which means these fake people could be roaming the 'net right now.

According to the request, the software was to be deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? To secretly gather embarrassing party pics from Taliban solders' Facebook profiles? To swing Iraq newspaper polls about whether the U.S. is evil? May they'll help us beat out North Korea in eBay auctions for rogue nukes. [via Daily Kos, image via Shutterstock]