My out-of-town friend Daniel Brandt for years was a one-person intelligence operation, compiling a data base on the Central Intelligence Agency, covert action and government conspiracies. Later he became a critic of abuses of power by Google, Wikipedia and now a little-known company called CloudFlare.
He created a searchable data base on the Central Intelligence Agency, covert operations and governmental conspiracies, based on indexing of more than 100,000 names when mentioned in over 700 books and many thousands of articles in newspapers and magazines. If you wanted to know what there was to know on the public record about, say, James Angleton or Dan Mitrione, you could search Daniel’s data base and find pretty much everything that was publicly known. Click on Olliegate for an example of how that worked. Daniel put the NameBase index on a web site in 1995, with articles and book reviews on intelligence related subjects. Click on Counterpunch for a 2003 interview of Daniel Brandt about NameBase.
Daniel Brandt became a leading monitor and critic of Google and Wikipedia, and published his findings on his Google Watch and Wikipedia Watch web sites. He pointed out, among other things, how Google keeps files on everyone who uses Google, recording every search and every transaction, and how Wikipedia runs articles that are not only inaccurate, but libelous, without liability. Click on WikiScandal for the story of how John Seigenthaler, a respected civil rights lawyer and newspaper publisher, was falsely accused in a Wikipedia article of being a suspect in the Kennedy assassination. The article doesn’t tell how Daniel used his Internet skills to track down the culprit, who was shielded by Wikipedia. Seigenthaler forgave him.
As an alternative to Google, Daniel Brandt started a service called Scroogle, which enabled users to do Google searches without revealing any personal information to Google. Last year Daniel’s web sites were taken down by malicious DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks. About the same time Google was finally blocking Scroogle more efficiently than it has before, so Scroogle was retired after a run of seven years.
Daniel is back on the Internet. NameBase Book Index is the old NameBase web site, of interest mainly for the archive of book reviews and articles therein. CIA on Campus is a collection of articles about the activities of secret intelligence agencies on campuses. These articles are of more than historical interest. Nothing has happened to limit the activities of intelligence agencies since these articles were written.
Google Watch is a collection of cartoons and illustrations from the old Google Watch site. The Great Google Book Grab provides articles and information about Google and copyright issues. Wikipedia Watch is a continuation of Daniel’s original Wikipedia Watch site.
CloudFlare Watch is a new site in which Daniel Brandt critiques a company that functions as a reverse proxy for web sites and offers some protection against DDoS attacks, but which he says is also unapologetic when cyber-criminals use CloudFlare to hide the location and identity of their hosting providers.
I don’t always see eye-to-eye with my friend, but on matters we’ve disagreed about in the past, he has proven to be more right than I have. In any case, his information is worth knowing and his ideas are worth discussing.
[Added 2/3/13] Click on Web Watchdog’s new site for more about CloudFlare-Watch.
Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, CIA on Campus, CloudFlare Watch, Cybercrime, Daniel Brandt, Google, Google Book Grab, Google Watch, Internet, Internet Crime, NameBase, Public Information Research, Wikipedia Watch