Using Digital systems for deception and influence
University of Plymouth
Computing, Health and Science
School of Computer and Information Science
This paper examines both the present and future uses of digital technologies to deceive and influence. Its scope is the deliberate design of processes to change the behaviour of the user by deceptive and influence techniques. The paper covers the conventional design of Web page content in the process of influence campaigns by governments, businesses, pressure groups and terrorist groups to promote their causes. It progresses to more speculative uses of deceptive methods 'newer' mobile and ubiquitous technologies. These technologies have the potential for both generic and individual targeting of those to be influenced. Their techniques used and success will depend on both the time span available which would determine whether the objective is to coerce, manipulate or convert the target(s) and what stage the persuasive process is at. The analysis proceeds from the concept of 'captology' and speculates how persuasion, influence and behavioural change can be achieved via such technologies as text messaging (or, Short Messaging Service - SMS).