Social networking is not just for the MySpace generation. Intelligence agencies are adopting a controversial new technique to identify terrorist masterminds
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Intelligence agencies are building up a Facebook-style databank of international terrorists in order to sift through it with complex computer programs aimed at identifying key figures and predicting terrorist attacks before they happen.
By analysing the social networks that exist between known terrorists, suspects and even innocent bystanders arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, military intelligence chiefs hope to open a new front in their “war on terror”.
The idea is to amass huge quantities of intelligence data on people – no matter how obscure or irrelevant – and feed it into computers that are programmed to make associations and connections that would otherwise be missed by human agents, scientists said.
Phi Beta Iota:
1. ABLE DANGER was successful. It was also very expensive, and its findings were undermined by a gutless leader and ignorant lawyers who destroyed the leads instead of passing them over to the FBI as should have been done.
2. The secret intelligence world is once again substituting technology for thinking. For what this program will cost, in both violtaions of civil liberties and privacy, and in cash, one or two failed states could be resurrected.
3. For what this program would cost, the World Brain and EarthGame could be built a hundred times, and free cells phones given to each of the five billion poor.
4. The secret intelligence world is assuming that terrorist acts can be predicted. It evidently has not yet come to grips with what one author call Rage of the Random Actor.