US Grants Company Contract to Attack Cuban Cell Phones

News from Cuba | Monday, 3 October 2011

From the Cuban News Agency

The United States government granted a Maryland company a contract to set up a system capable of sending up to 24,000 text messages every month to Cuban cell phone users, in a frank violation of international legislation.

According to the terms of the contract, Washington Software, Inc., will design a text messaging system aimed at countering Cuban government attempts to block messages that attempt against the country's safety, reported the journalist Tracy Eaton in the Cuban Money Project blog.

The software must include the ability to add unique changes to each message instance sent to each individual subscriber to avoid detection of messages being sent in bulk to many subscribers, the contract reads.

Additionally, it may include keyword substitutions, where potentially provocative keywords which are likely to be censored are replaced with other words or characters which leave the meaning intact but foil automated keyword detection.

This cyberwar operation is sponsored by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an entity responsible for all US government and government sponsored, non-military, international broadcasting, that is also responsible for the radio and TV aggressions against Cuba.

On August 17, the BBG solicited bids for the text-messaging service. The base contract is worth $84,000 during the first year. Four additional one-year options would boost the total value of the contract to $464,160.

Cuba Money Project reported that before the contract was granted, a prospective contractor wondered if the text-messaging campaign was legal, and the BBG?s answer was that there was not need to worry about that "detail"

"The Agency assumes responsibility for the content of the messages. The Contractor assumes all responsibility under this requirement and should consider all aspects of this requirement before submitting an offer." was the precondition set by BBG.

The operation will run from September 12, 2011, through September 14, 2012, to be extended.

According to the BBG's website's "Our Mission" their goal is to subvert order, following the criteria of "promoting freedom and democracy and improve understanding through the syndication of precise news, objectives and balanced, through information and broadcasting about the United States and the world, targeting foreign audiences"

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