[NetBehaviour] Pentagon sets its sights on social networking websites.

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Sat Jun 10 12:52:46 CEST 2006


Pentagon sets its sights on social networking websites.

09 June 2006
NewScientist.com news service

----New Scientist has discovered that the NSA is funding research into 
[0]the mass harvesting of the information that people post about 
themselves on social networks. And it could harness advances in Internet 
technology -- specifically the forthcoming 'semantic web' championed by 
the Web standards organisation W3C -- to combine data from social 
networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property 
records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal 
profiles of individuals.

"I AM continually shocked and appalled at the details people voluntarily 
post online about themselves." So says Jon Callas, chief security 
officer at PGP, a Silicon Valley-based maker of encryption software. He 
is far from alone in noticing that fast-growing social networking 
websites such as MySpace and Friendster are a snoop's dream.

New Scientist has discovered that Pentagon's National Security Agency, 
which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding 
research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post 
about themselves on social networks. And it could harness advances in 
internet technology - specifically the forthcoming "semantic web" 
championed by the web standards organisation W3C - to combine data from 
social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and 
property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing 
personal profiles of individuals.

Americans are still reeling from last month's revelations that the NSA 
has been logging phone calls since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 
2001. The Congressional Research Service, which advises the US 
legislature, says phone companies that surrendered call records may have 
acted illegally. However, the White House insists that the terrorist 
threat makes existing wire-tapping legislation out of date and is urging 
Congress not to investigate the NSA's action.

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