The Next Gray Zone Conflict: State-Based Disinformation Attacks on the Private Sector

Ed. Note – This very thing occurred in the past year in my own local area as ‘unnamed external actors’ attempted to undermine a city’s attempts to have 5G installed in the city center providing broad-band wireless internet to a large portion of the city’s residents.  In the end, it was approved but not until the city council was forced to wade through numerous claims of threats to the health and wealth of the city’s residents.  It speaks well of our system that the disinformation did not achieve its aim, but in how many instances has it had the effect of its propagators?  The health of a democracy is dependent upon a vibrant free press and, in the end, the press will be the one to root out the perpetrators.  Let us hope a vibrant free press survives – especially in small cities and rural areas where it is struggling.

The Next Gray Zone Conflict: State-Based Disinformation Attacks on the Private Sector

By Matthew F. Ferraro, Preston B. Golson

Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 10:30 AM

An excerpt from Lawfare:
For years, the Russian-backed TV channel RT America has been airing a series of deceptive reports on the dangers of upgraded cell technology known as 5G. These reports have linked 5G signals to all manner of diseases—including brain cancer, autism and Alzheimer’s disease. All these claims are scientifically baseless. The likely goal of this spurious reporting is to sow doubt about a technology that the U.S. believes is key to its future high-tech dominance—and for which Vladimir Putin’s Russia has no equivalent. If Russia can’t compete in the lab, it can try to spread confusion on the airwaves.

The story of RT’s attack on 5G is a glimpse of the near-future. Adversaries such as Russia, Iran and China look for ways to harass American interests without triggering all-out conflict. As trade wars proliferate, technological rivalries intensify, and multinational corporations take public positions on hot-button social issues, this form of “gray zone conflict”—coercive actions that lie somewhere between diplomacy and warfare—will likely increase in scale and scope as competitors seek a strategic and economic advantage over the United States.

American businesses will increasingly find themselves in the crosshairs of nation-state-sponsored disinformation operations.