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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Your Blog may get you on "the DHS's List"

Christian Science Monitor has an interesting story on another, more aboveboard, offshoot of the TIA that examines transactions, web traffic, and BLOG POSTINGS. (pertinent if you're here, eh?)
The US government is developing a massive computer system that can collect huge amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and e-mail to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity.....

But ADVISE and related DHS technologies aim to do much more, according to Joseph Kielman, manager of the TVTA portfolio. The key is not merely to identify terrorists, or sift for key words, but to identify critical patterns in data that illumine their motives and intentions, he wrote in a presentation at a November conference in Richland, Wash.

For example: Is a burst of Internet traffic between a few people the plotting of terrorists, or just bloggers arguing? ADVISE algorithms would try to determine that before flagging the data pattern for a human analyst's review.

This is a currently operational program with more functionality being added. Think about the four year old on the no fly list or the nuns who had their bank account frozen by DHS, and tell me it couldn't happen to you.

This tells me that my attempt to draw some government traffic through the use of "keywords" a couple weeks ago certainly must've worked.

I don't run a counter(your privacy is your own,) but I would be curious to see the government sourced hits I get. Almost every political blog gets some. Think about that.

UPDATE: Leslie ties in the article from yesterday on Topsail, and also digs out a (maybe significant) defensetech reference on ADVISE that points out the cross referencing of this info to Federal and Local law enforcement.


  • Well of course they watch blogs. Antiwar protests too. I helped organize the demo in Hollywood last March that was specifically mentioned in the news as being watched. This goes with the territory.

    a) we aren't doing anything illegal.
    b) this happened in the 60's too.
    c)the massive amounts of data they need to wade through then make near real-time decisions on is overwheleming. I doubt they can process it that fast.
    d) watching bursts of activity is nothing new, it's called SigInt (signal Intelligence)

    By Anonymous Bob Morris, at 10:15 AM  

  • Mike, you can go to http://www.sitemeter.com/ and get the html to put a meter on your site. Through sitemeter you can check the server info of vistors and if you put their IP number in www.arin.org it will give you even more info.

    By Blogger Tele, at 10:22 AM  

  • "the massive amounts of data they need to wade through then make near real-time decisions on is overwheleming. I doubt they can process it that fast."

    I beg to peacefully and respectfully differ. In the sixties they did not have the search algorithms and ability to mega-archice stored information the way they do today. Think of how far we've come with just three things: storage, search capacity, and agorithms.

    This is the age of google, and the saving of every email and search ever made (says Google) its not nearly the same as the good old days. Now I can out in four things I know about a person, group, etc. with a plus sign and I am on my way.

    Also- consider that search words are used to find archived posts. I retropost "I Love Born at The Crest of The Empire" and "Granola Bars"to October. Mikevotes does a search and finds it...its a whole new way to communicate. Mikevotes knows to look for a post containing those two things, where he finds instructions... sinister implications.

    Once again, I gotta link you.

    By Anonymous Lily, at 10:43 AM  

  • i could not agree more with lily...computers and computer programmers have come a long way since the '60's

    here's a link to a site that provides you with geographic info on who's visiting...it's free!


    By Anonymous some_,maineiac, at 12:54 PM  

  • Yeah, I understand the personal value of counters, knowing the IP's who is there and who is not, but I'm just morally opposed to it. I know you're visit here is known by your IP, and Google who runs Blogger, and probably several other programs on your computer, but that doesn't mean I have to know.

    I think it would be really interesting to see the distributions and locations of my visitors, but just as a matter of principal I believe that's not my business.

    And, Bob, I know they've been monitoring internet traffic forever, but the fact that the programs are becoming public is somewhat significant. It's a stage of development in classified government programs. When they're totally secret, usually they're pretty small or limited, but when they reach this phase, they are massively expanding. And, more importantly, new, more intrusive programs are replacing them in "secret status."

    I don't think that made too much sense, but I hope you got what I was trying to say.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 1:28 PM  

  • Keep them busy, great job!

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 1:57 PM  

  • MikeVotes,
    I found more info on the NSA spying, including ADVISE, which I'll post soon.

    By Blogger Leslie, at 2:28 PM  

  • Dude, I'm so jealous. I was going to post on the Advise program this evening. No need now. Excellent coverage. Let me just comment that Advise should not be compared to TIA. It is TIA, or at least everything that was envisioned for TIA, renamed and kept out of the public eye.

    By Blogger Kvatch, at 2:34 PM  

  • I linked you and threw my two cents in, and appreciate the head's up. Thanks.

    On the sitemeter question, whats weird to me are the people who list the sitemeter icon (the little rainbow, for example, which when I first started blogging a few months ago I thought meant gay pride!!!!)
    so other people can see who has been at their site. I'm not trying to be critical, I just wonder what the reasoning is for that. To show off the hitcount? Why not use a hitcounter? I clicked on one and it had all kinds fo details including the IP address. Its one thing for the owner to be curious, but to display it? What for, I wonder. Muttering to myself again.

    By Anonymous Lily, at 3:12 PM  

  • just remember, the underpinnings of the internet were developed by a government agency (ARPA or DARPA or something), so they're pretty sound and we have the satisfaction of using their own tools against surveillance and data mining...open source and creative programmers make it tougher to keep things secret and subtle randomness in screen names throws a monkey wrench into attempts by the less clever to track down individuals...some*maniac...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:18 PM  

  • Anonymous, it was DARPA.

    And to some degree, efforts to create this programs will only get stronger because of the tremendous power they offer. If I had the ability to harness all this information and wasn't constrained by ethics it would be tempting. But in the end, the run counter to the privacy beliefs I hold.

    I'm not a techie, but I only see two ways to fight this. 1, continue to go after these programs in the legislatures and the courts. and 2, to try and flood the system with so much garbage information as to render it useless. The ability to save data is more or less limitless with the US Gov budget, but it all depends on the algorhythms they use to analyze it, and to what degree the load can be distributed.

    I understand the power of the counter, I understand that it would give me more feel for who comes by and when, but it just doesn't feel right to me.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 6:27 PM  

  • You know, it's funny how we've been talking about this the last couple of days, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, like magic (MAGIC! I tell you!) we get a hit today from USAISC-CECOM.

    Pure coincidence.

    By Anonymous binky, at 6:45 PM  

  • I put my blog out there for people to look, to read, and to think about. Well if they want to look let them look. I hope it really pisses them off.

    By Blogger justin barker, at 5:22 AM  

  • The loss of freedom in the "name of war and terrorism" is brutal.
    I thought this when I read "thank a Vet for your freedom" bumper sticker yesterday.

    Oxymoron for sure!

    By Blogger Adorable Girlfriend, at 8:18 AM  

  • I still like the saying, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you." lol I guess you had to be there.

    Thanks for the write it made a great link to back my own bloganoia. Nice to know I'm not aloooooooone.

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