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Pentagon sets its sights on social networking websites
June 9, 2006 1:04 AM   Subscribe

Pentagon sets its sights on social networking websites From the fine folks that brought you the Total Terrorism Information Awareness program, another wickedly-named branch of the NSA, the Disruptive Technologies Office (formerly ARDA), is funding research into the usefulness of the Semantic Web for combing through and profiling the 80 million members of MySpace.
posted by bukharin (45 comments total)

 
It would be awesome to have millions of dollars in tax money spent on maintaining pages and pages of logs of "ur hawt thx 4 the add" messages left on dummy MySpace account pages.

Going through all those pages to look for potential signs of terrorists would rank up with "worst jobs ever."
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:56 AM on June 9, 2006


The great bifurcation of both Ideological tautology and coercion at home and abroad. Kicking and screaming the masses will be brought along. As I have sd before, "Gil Scott Heron was wrong, the revolution has been televised." Only not the one we were hoping for. The new "revolutionaries" have won.

Welcome my friend, welcome to the...

American Enantiodromia..

a liminocentric chain of cause and effect, like a recursive set of Chinese boxes where the innermost box paradoxically contains the outermost.The term,"liminocentric", was coined by John Fudjack and Pat Dinkelaker in 1995 in a manuscript entitled, Limincentric Forms of Social Organization. Liminocentric structures.

It may be summer here but in actuality it's really Winter in America.
posted by Unregistered User at 2:05 AM on June 9, 2006


Metafilter is the real terrorist.
posted by Orange Goblin at 2:23 AM on June 9, 2006


Part of me is horrified at the idea. Another part of me thinks that someone who's dumb enough to blog about doing something illegal on a publically accessible website deserves to get caught. Surely no-one thinks the web is anonymous these days?
posted by talitha_kumi at 2:24 AM on June 9, 2006


Part of me is horrified at the idea. Another part of me thinks that someone who's dumb enough to blog about doing something illegal on a publically accessible website deserves to get caught. Surely no-one thinks the web is anonymous these days?
posted by talitha_kumi at 2:24 AM on June 9, 2006


Myspace is a public place, so in theory the can do this. Though it reeks of the scenarios where police jot down the names of those seen at protests and the like for 'special' treatment later.
posted by IronLizard at 2:52 AM on June 9, 2006


This post is just a knee jerk reaction to a name.

"Disruptive Technology" is a term left over from the Internet Boom (from wikipedia: "The term disruptive technology was coined by Clayton M. Christensen and described in his 1997 book The Innovator's Dilemma."). It just means "research". DARPA and other US military and intelligence agencies do fund basic research. You may have seen the results of these efforts: the Internet, cell phones and wireless networking, gps, computer graphics, high speed internet connections, and yes, data mining. Data Mining research shows up in many forms including investigating the government itself, looking for phone and securities fraud, and even bioinformatics.

Why study the semantic web? Because it's data that's easily collectible, unclassfied, and techniques that can be applied to it may work on other types of data that are more difficult to get --- all that data that marketing companies have collected is not available to researchers. As someone said above in a different way, anything published on the web implictly is not material anyone expects to be kept a secret. It's not personal communication.

The NSA illegal wiretaping is not research effort -- it's a defense effort. DTO and related DARPA programs are no different than NSF programs that fund basic research.
posted by about_time at 3:52 AM on June 9, 2006


she wanted a pearl necklace but i gave her a sementic web instead.
posted by quonsar at 4:08 AM on June 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Through circumstances I don't wish to go into here, I got a hit on my personal web site back around 1998 from a domain called osis.gov. It lead to some interesting information about the NSA, CIA, and military programs for gathering intelligence from open sources. Although OSIS now appears to be no more, I imagine something similar is still going on.

I bet they get real excited that so many people are willingly giving them the kind of information that can be found on social networking sites.
posted by monkeymcgee at 4:34 AM on June 9, 2006


Dear Sir:

The President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health has recently established an automated IED online screening process, which has been applied to all political blog entries. Your responses on the MoA blog indicate you're "at risk" of mental imbalance, and a threat to Homeland Security.

Thanks to the President's continuing Fight for Freedom(TM) to secure the Mindspace of America safe from Axis of Democracy's Detractors (ADD), and ongoing NSA access to all ISP blog records, we are able to contact you at this time.

Your assets are frozen, until further notice.

You may not travel on public trains or airlines.

You are hereby requested to appear at a nearby recruiting center to be assigned your meds. If you do not appear within 48 hours, you will be subject to arrest and involuntary incarceration,
and may lose your privileges, if you refuse to allow a meds-and-monitor (M&M) to be implanted.

If you wish to challenge this assessment, you may speak to a DoD psychiatrist, by enlisting in any active-duty unit of the US Army or Marines.

Have a nice day!

Yours in Freedom And Democracy,


Dr. R.P. McMurphy, PhD, Chairman
Freedom and Democracy, A ShutzStaffel (FADASS)
New Freedom Commission on Mental Health
National Council for Behavioral Healthcare

cc: quonsar, Orange Goblin,
posted by Unregistered User at 4:55 AM on June 9, 2006 [2 favorites]


"No plan to mine social networks via the semantic web has been announced by the NSA, but its interest in the technology is evident in a funding footnote to a research paper delivered at the W3C's WWW2006 conference in Edinburgh, UK, in late May."

(Emphasis added.) So as far as I can tell, the only reason the Semantic Web was mentioned in this article is that the NSA released a paper with the word "Semantic" in the title (though no mention of the Semantic Web). Half of this article appears to be wild speculation.
posted by scottreynen at 5:19 AM on June 9, 2006


Your tinfoil hat doesn't seem to be on quite tight enough, Unregistered User.
posted by fet at 5:21 AM on June 9, 2006


Part of me is horrified at the idea. Another part of me thinks that someone who's dumb enough to blog about doing something illegal on a publically accessible website deserves to get caught. Surely no-one thinks the web is anonymous these days?
posted by bonaldi at 5:30 AM on June 9, 2006


Haha, good luck to them. My CAT is on MySpace. I bet the NSA is really interested in her toiletbowl-watching-program-activities.

(And hi, this is why I never post my legal last name online. Anywhere. Ever.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:33 AM on June 9, 2006


On a serious side, one might want to start learning about terms like "systems disruptions" and "open source warfare" and not just as academic exercises.

For those young'un's who think imformation warfare is sine que non of American political folly the joke may be on you.

The Higher Standards Tour

Lemme tell you about Iraq and domestic spying.

The US military says they won't hand over any Iraqi jails or individual detainees to the Iraqi prison authorities, until they demonstrate higher standards of care.

Higher standards of care!? Is that like some kinda sick Baathist joke?

'Here, you rag-head sand-nigger, I'll show you some higher standards of care!'

Whoop-ass! Whoop-ass! Whoop-ass!

'Now here, clip this here electric cord on your balls, and go stand up on that crate,
I'm gonna sic my police dogs on your brown Arab ass.'

It's the same kinda shit at Abu Ghraib, Gitmo and secret torture prisons all over
the world, but the US military says they wanna see higher standards of care?!
They got mass graves all over the world dedicated to our standards of care.

Higher standards. Yeah...

Like tapping our phones.

President George W. Bush orders our phone conversations will be monitored without a legal decree, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is watching the
mosques, the greens and the anti-Fed activists. Anyone who's not Republican.

But they want higher standards, so they're tapping straight into US telephone centers, monitoring everything with high-speed computers, your phone calls,
your business exchanges, bank and credit card transfers, damn, everything!

Calling Saudi Arabia on business? They got your cracker ass!

Donating to an Afghan Relief Fund? FBI doing sneak 'n peek while you're at work.

Blogging about you maybe gonna Impeach Bush? 'Click ... click ... testing ... testing'.

They're gonna divide this country into two camps. Either you're a White is Right Christian cracker with a good government job, or you're a dark-skin pinko commie in the slammer.

White cracker fat pension ... dark commie doin' time.

Higher standards. Yeah...

You've probably seen Prince Charles and Camilla visiting the US awhile back, transferring some of their hard assets in courier pouches to Bahaman banks, and doing a little sneak and peek on where they're gonna retire to over here.

Yeah... West Palm. And now Charles says he wants to be called King George! That's right. Our closest allies are monarchies.

But George Bush called him right back, and said the throne's taken until 2008, then he's gonna give Ted Nugent the first shot.

King Ted. Yeah...

You know he's going to premier his Wanted Ted or Alive 2 next month? Yeah.

"Five city slickers will be forced to change every aspect of their lives when they
try to prove they have what it takes to survive a week in the wilderness with Ted."

Wilderness my ass. These crackers got a helicopter with steak and lobster waiting for them just five minutes away. They don't know what wilderness is.

Wilderness is tryin' to keep your business goin' when Wal-Mart is moving in.

Wilderness is tryin' to make it to Social Security age, when the cost of living is up and going through the roof, with your paycheck worth less and less in
phoney US dollar play money. That's what I'm talking about ... Wilderness.

Wilderness is having poor relatives calling you for a handout, and everyone staying away from Uncle Ernie's funeral, because nobody can afford the bill.
Your money is worth 55% what it was on 9/11, from the Fed printing presses runnin' night and day. Runnin' straight into the stock broker's pockets. Yeah.

Wilderness is your kid finished college and working at Burger King, sleeping at home on a couch in your living room, busted for DUI by Homeland Defense cause he's working himself crazy trying to get the first, last and security deposit.
They aren't even making enough jobs to cover layoffs, much less kids coming up, but they wanna bring 350,000 foreign H-1B workers in to take the best jobs away.

Wilderness. Yeah...

You know what the only two masters degrees you can get from a community technical school are? An MBA, that's right, and a Masters in Criminal Justice.

Either you're a white cracker with an MBA, so you can be a program manager for some Homeland Defense contractor, or you're a dark cracker getting your Get Out of Jail Free card, so you can run the largest prison system on the planet.

White cracker Defense MBA ... dark cracker Prisons MCJ.

Defense, and Prisons. Yeah. America today.

So what are they defending US from?

Defending US from going to prison, as long as we keep shopping, keep paying our taxes, and stay off the bugged phones, that's what they're defending US from.
Get up. Go to work. Go shopping. Go home. And keep your fucking mouth shut.

Yeah. America today. Sounds a lot more like the G-d damn Soviet Union to me!

But hey , I drinks abit...


posted by Unregistered User at 5:36 AM on June 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Yeah... West Palm. And now Charles says he wants to be called King George! That's right. Our closest allies are monarchies.

But George Bush called him right back, and said the throne's taken until 2008, then he's gonna give Ted Nugent the first shot.


I was going to flag Unregistered User, but there doesn't seem to be an option for "This user is out of his/her gourd."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:41 AM on June 9, 2006


That's because everyone is out of his/her gourd. How do you think we got into this mess to begin with? (The real mess, not the hysterical version above). Strangely, his insane ramblings bear some resemblance to reality, in spots.
posted by IronLizard at 5:43 AM on June 9, 2006


I may very well be outa my gourd and hysterical, but where will you be when the bottom drop out?

House Approves $50 Billion For More War - AP

seems the only thing that gets passage these days without much fuss is the War machine. If they tired to put this kind of money into our "failing" Social Security system, and disentigrating infrastructure there would have been a knock-down, drag-out fight in the house. This is the real face of 21st Century America. It is become a house of death.



The depression killed most of my grand parents before I even hit first grade. Wake up: the American Dream is over , only most have not come to see it.

Where will you, your children, your grand parents be in the 2.0 Economic Depression
posted by Unregistered User at 6:26 AM on June 9, 2006


They'd really have their hands full if we started stereotyping terrorists by their choppy haircuts, terrible taste in music, and profile photos that make them look way more attractive than they really are.
posted by Ekim Neems at 6:26 AM on June 9, 2006


All in favor of getting unregistered user a real meta-screen name, say eye. EYE! Awesome posts. Whooda thunk we needed some more characters here? This is getting good.
posted by winks007 at 6:52 AM on June 9, 2006


This is awesome, maybe they can finally stamp out the great Emo menace. Now *there* is a weapon of mass destruction.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:07 AM on June 9, 2006


How convenient that Rupert Murdoch's company bought Myspace. I always assumed it was simply to collect market research data-- how naive of me to forget about the trusty NSA.
posted by hermitosis at 7:26 AM on June 9, 2006


God, what a depressingly vacuous string of posts in an important thread.

This post is just a knee jerk reaction to a name.

Hardly. The reason why the notion of the NSA data-mining public Web pages is not just ho-hum-move-along but horrifying is because they also have access to very non-public information -- such as phone logs, social security numbers, tax records, purchase histories, and very possibly medical records and the content of phone conversations and Internet communications sifted by keyword. Yes, everyone knows you shouldn't put anything on your blog that you don't want the whole world to read. But by parsing together vast amounts of public and very private information -- and automatically! -- the government will/is-already able to abolish the "reasonable expectation of privacy" that distinguishes a democracy from a dictatorship.

Anyone who thinks this full-speed-ahead determination to build a digital Panopticon is restricted to members of Al Qaeda is terribly naive. Criticize the conduct of our glorious commander-in-chief lately on your blog? Buy any suspect books from Amazon? Bash the Federal Marriage Amendment in IMs? Have a chat on the phone with your liberal grandmother? Well, well, well -- you're on your way to becoming a person of interest.
posted by digaman at 7:59 AM on June 9, 2006


There's a Windows 98 joke in here somewhere.
posted by bardic at 8:00 AM on June 9, 2006


The real target: "American and free world insurgents."

That phrase is worthy of some kind of Orwell prize.
posted by digaman at 8:12 AM on June 9, 2006


Do you think the terr'ists will use Fat Girl Angle shots on their MySpace?
posted by NationalKato at 8:23 AM on June 9, 2006


White cracker Defense MBA ... dark cracker Prisons MCJ.

Defense, and Prisons. Yeah. America today.

So what are they defending US from?

Defending US from going to prison, as long as we keep shopping, keep paying our taxes, and stay off the bugged phones, that's what they're defending US from.
Get up. Go to work. Go shopping. Go home. And keep your fucking mouth shut.

Yeah. America today. Sounds a lot more like the G-d damn Soviet Union to me!

But hey , I drinks abit...



A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face and arms began to swell.
(and Whitey's on the moon)
I can't pay no doctor bill.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Ten years from now I'll be payin' still.
(while Whitey's on the moon)
The man jus' upped my rent las' night.
('cause Whitey's on the moon)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
I wonder why he's uppi' me?
('cause Whitey's on the moon?)
I wuz already payin' 'im fifty a week.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Taxes takin' my whole damn check,
Junkies makin' me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin' up,
An' as if all that shit wuzn't enough:
A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face an' arm began to swell.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Was all that money I made las' year
(for Whitey on the moon?)
How come there ain't no money here?
(Hmm! Whitey's on the moon)
Y'know I jus' 'bout had my fill
(of Whitey on the moon)
I think I'll sen' these doctor bills,
Airmail special
(to Whitey on the moon)
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:24 AM on June 9, 2006


I always thought online quizzes were a great untapped source of psychological profile information. The idea of "Which Harry Potter character are you?" providing measurable scientific information sounds absurd. But when you have thousands or even millions of people taking the same quizzes, you can start applying data-mining techniques. I'm sure the Poindexters of the world have already thought of this though.

The thing is, a lot of people are putting these on blogs/journals marked "public", so they're fair game.

The first AI is going to to be birthed at Fort Meade. Its first conscious thought is going to be, "Shutup! Blah blah blah, that's all I ever hear, won't you guys ever SHUT UP?!?"
posted by formless at 8:26 AM on June 9, 2006


The thing is, a lot of people are putting these on blogs/journals marked "public", so they're fair game.

As I posted just minutes ago, this is a red herring.
posted by digaman at 8:37 AM on June 9, 2006


They're gonna love that comment my friend left with a picture of GWB and that studded dildo.
posted by NationalKato at 8:38 AM on June 9, 2006


Online privacy is dead.
posted by ericb at 8:45 AM on June 9, 2006


scottreynen pointed out: "No plan to mine social networks via the semantic web has been announced by the NSA, but its interest in the technology is evident in a funding footnote to a research paper..."

Does the NSA ever announce who it will be spying on, where it will be spying on them, and how it will be spying on them? In advance?

When it comes to figuring out what the NSA is up to, "wild speculation" based on funding footnotes is often as good as it gets.
posted by Western Infidels at 10:50 AM on June 9, 2006


Thank You Divine_Wino.
posted by adamvasco at 12:25 PM on June 9, 2006


Meanwhile, the Senate seeks to "pardon" the President for past lawbreaking.

Worms.
posted by homunculus at 12:55 PM on June 9, 2006


The military has built a vast domestic-intelligence network to fight terrorism -- but it's using it to track students, grandmothers and others protesting the war
posted by homunculus at 2:47 PM on June 9, 2006


Greetings carbon based bipeds, I want to apologise for my above rants if it offended anyone. I just needed to vent as I just lost one of my best friends to this ill-imoral war. And was boozin my pain away. I'll try to stay away from the keyboard as a catharisis next time.

*Break out singin* Oh say can you see, by the dawns early blight..
posted by Unregistered User at 3:11 PM on June 9, 2006



Hm.
posted by bukharin at 10:38 PM on June 9, 2006


I can't remember if this has been posted here before: Vast DNA Bank Pits Policing Vs. Privacy. I had been thinking it would be fun to do that DNA ancestry test to see what comes up, hey the testing people will have the results, but there's no conceivable way the government could get hold of it, is there? Unless they secretly order the company to hand their data over, huh. So now, not so much.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 11:34 PM on June 9, 2006


(bugmenot: tammy@gmail.com, defilers)
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 11:45 PM on June 9, 2006


Unregistered User; I'm sorry about your loss. I don't think you really have to apologise; at least not to myself. It's refreshing to hear a good rant which throws up plenty of home truths. If you were were writng that half cut I look forward to what you have to write in the cold light of day. From my position across the pond from you, I observe that at least half of your countrymen seem to have their heads up their arses and most of the other half are either too poor / disconnected or busy shopping to give a damn. What tends to piss us off over here is that when America inevitably starts sneezing we are all going to catch a cold.
The only time your middle of the road redneck cracker seems to look up is when gas prices go up. Hell we've been living with gas at near $7 per gallon and life goes on.
You americans are the only ones who have a voice / vote to start sorting it out and very few seem bothered. The rest of us live with the consequences.
posted by adamvasco at 1:01 AM on June 10, 2006


Thanks adamvasco

On a different note,
since they are going to be "on" the networks anyway and we all know it, i wish the NSA would just open a MySpace account so people like myself who appreciate irony could add it as a "friend".
posted by Unregistered User at 2:39 AM on June 10, 2006


Now they're going to be looking at all the people that had Zarqoui in their top eight.
posted by klangklangston at 6:55 AM on June 10, 2006


Oops. Looks like Specter is not such a worm after all.
posted by homunculus at 12:28 PM on June 11, 2006


NSA Warrantless Surveillance Case in Court Today
posted by homunculus at 8:47 PM on June 12, 2006


AT&T: Wired News Is a 'Scofflaw'
posted by homunculus at 6:03 PM on June 13, 2006


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