Tecnologías Cibernéticas Invaden Privacidad en Internet

Por Tom Burghardt
Versión Español Luis R. Miranda

¿Qué cosa tienen en común Google, la CIA y una gran cantidad de los llamados ” programas de predicción del comportamiento”?

Ellos están interesados en ti, o más específicamente, si sus intereses en internet -de Facebook a mensajes de Twitter, y de fotos de Flickr a YouTube y los comentarios en sitios pueden ser explotadas por algoritmos de computadora de gran alcance y, posteriormente transformados en “inteligencia procesable”.

Y si el conocimiento obtenido al espiar una dirección IP está orientada hacia la venta de chatarra inútil o a escribir un nombre en una base de datos de de las agencias de espionaje no importa un comino. Todo esto es “sólo de datos” y “rumores”, dice el mantra, a lo largo de lo poco que queda de nuestra intimidad y nuestros derechos.

Cada vez más, las agencias de de espionaje que van desde la CIA a la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional están invirtiendo millones de dólares en empresas de minería de datos que dicen que tienen una manija en lo que usted es o lo que podría hacer en el futuro.

Y para colmo, la última tendencia en acabar con disidentes y aquellos inconformados con el panorama social pronto, invadirá su lugar de trabajo. De hecho, ya lo ha invadido.

Bienvenido al mundo siniestro del “Precrimen”, donde timadores “capitalistas”, negocios de espionaje, de drogas y tortura- están todos trabajando con fuerza para acabar con cualquier vestigio de pensamiento libre.

La CIA Entra en el Marco

En julio, el periodista Noah Shachtman reveló en Wired que “los brazos de inversión de la CIA y Google son a la vez el respaldo de una empresa que vigila la web en tiempo real y dice que utiliza esa información para predecir el futuro.”

Shachtman informó que una empresa semi-privada de la CIA, In-Q-Tel, y Google Ventures, una división de la gigante de las búsquedas, se habían asociado con un grupo poco fiable llamado Recorded Future. Según algunas estimaciones, la asociación generó una inversión parcial de 20 millones de dólares.

Propaganda en el sitio web de In-Q-Tel nos informa de que Recorded Future extrae información y el tiempo cuando suceden eventos en la web. La compañía ofrece a los usuarios formas nuevas para analizar el pasado, el presente y con esto predecir el futuro. ”

¿Quiénes son esos usuarios omnipresentes -aunque sin nombre- y que podrían hacer con esa información una vez que se “extrae” de la web? A juzgar por el interés que una entidad de la CIA por financiar a esta empresa, la privacidad no ocupan un lugar destacado en las “nuevas formas” como tales herramientas se utilizarán.

Wired informó que la compañía, fundada por el ex Ranger del Ejército sueco Christopher Ahlberg, “recorre decenas de miles de sitios web, blogs y cuentas de Twitter para encontrar relaciones entre las personas, organizaciones, acciones e incidentes, tanto presente como otros aún por venir.”

“Lo bueno es”, dijo Ahlberg, “en realidad se puede predecir, en muchos casos.”

Y en cuanto al interés del gigante de las búsquedas en “predecir el futuro” para el Estado, no sería la primera vez que Google Ventures vende equipo y experiencia a los guerreros de la sombra de Estados Unidos.

Si bien la empresa puede enorgullecerse por la consigna “no seas malo,” los datos son una mercancía valiosa. ¿Y dónde hay valor, hay dinero de por medio. Puede venir en forma de un aumento en las “ventas de acciones”, a través de la venta de información privada a terceros o a agencias de inteligencia del Estado, las cuales están deseosas de aumentar la “conciencia situacional” de la “batalla” contra los ciudadanos. A los tiburones corporativos les es indiferente.

Después de todo, como el CEO de Google Eric Schmidt, dijo a CNBC el año pasado, “si hay algo que usted no quiere que nadie sepa, tal vez no deberían hacerlo.”

Pero esa norma, “sólo los malos tienen algo que ocultar”, es infinitamente mutable y se puede estirar o manipular como tantas veces ha sido el caso en los Estados Unidos -para abarcar todo, desde conspiraciones “Papistas”, migrantes “ilegales”, la homosexualidad, el comunismo, el consumo de drogas, o la más reciente “bestia negra” de Estados Unidos: la “amenaza musulmana”.

Schmidt llegó a decir que “la realidad es que los motores de búsqueda, como Google, no conservan esta información durante tanto tiempo. Y todos estamos sujetos, en los EE.UU., a la Ley Patriota (The Patriot Act), y es posible que esa información podría ponerse a disposición de las autoridades. ”

En febrero, The Washington Post informó que “la mayor compañía mundial de búsqueda en Internet y la organización de vigilancia electrónica más poderosa del mundo se habían unido en nombre de la seguridad cibernética”.

“La alianza” entre Google y la NSA “está siendo diseñada para permitir a las dos organizaciones compartir información crítica sin violar las políticas de Google o de las leyes que protegen la privacidad de las comunicaciones de los estadounidenses en línea”, alegó el Post.

Una fuente anónima le dijo al Post que “el acuerdo no significa que la NSA espiará a los usuarios en sus búsquedas o las cuentas de correo electrónico o que Google va a compartir los datos de propiedad.”

¿En serio?

La primavera pasada se reveló un vehículo de Google que grababa vistas terrestres espiado y extraído secretamente un terabyte de datos privado a través de wi-fi por más de tres años en toda Europa y los Estados Unidos.

El Sunday Times informó que la empresa había “estado recogiendo fragmentos de las actividades online que las personas transmiten de sus casas a través de redes wi-fi desprotegidas”.

En julio, una investigación de diario Washington Post llamada “Top Secret America” reveló que Google suministró mapas y otros productos de búsqueda de al Estado Secreto de EE.UU. y que sus empleados, contratistas tercerizados de inteligencia para el Departamento de Defensa, pudieron haber sustraído los datos de sus clientes vía Wi-Fi como parte de un proyecto de vigilancia de la NSA.

¿Y qué sucede con los e-mails y las búsquedas? El año pasado, The New York Times reveló que la NSA intercepta “comunicaciones telefónicas privadas y mensajes de correo electrónico y que esto se hace mucho más a menudo de lo que se reporta oficialmente.” De hecho, un ex analista de la NSA describió cómo se puso en marcha un feroz programa en 2005 en el que la agencia rutinariamente examinó un gran volumen de mensajes de los usuarios de correo electrónico sin orden judicial. ”

Este programa, cuyo nombre es PINWALE, y el programa de minería de datos de la NSA llamado STELLAR WIND, continúa durante la administración Obama. De hecho, The Atlantic publicó en su momento que PINWALE “es en realidad un término no clasificado que se utiliza para referirse a un software avanzado de minería de datos que el gobierno utiliza”.

Pero la relación perfecta entre los gigantes de las comunicaciones “, tales como Google y el Estado no se detiene allí.

Incluso antes de que Google buscara asistencia de la Agencia Nacional de Seguridad para asegurar sus redes después de una invasión supuestamente llevada a cabo por China el año pasado, en 2004 la empresa había adquirido Keyhole, Inc., una empresa de In-Q-Tel que se había financiado para desarrollar imágenes en 3-D desde el espacio. Keyhole se convirtió en la columna vertebral de lo que más tarde sería Google Earth.

En el momento de su inversión inicial, In-Q-Tel, dijo que la relación estratégica de Keyhole con la comunidad de inteligencia iba a beneficiarse con la escalabilidad y alto rendimiento de la solución empresarial de Keyhole.”

El entonces consejero delegado de In-Q-Tel, Gilman Louie, dijo que “los “capitalistas” y invertían en la empresa, ya que esta ofrece a los usuarios gubernamentales y comerciales una nueva capacidad para mejorar radicalmente la toma de decisiones críticas. Su capacidad para transmitir conjuntos de datos geoespaciales de gran tamaño a través de Internet y redes privadas, permitió que Keyhole haya creado una forma totalmente nueva de interactuar con los datos de imágenes de la Tierra así como otras funciónes.”

O, como se ve a diario en el “teatro” AfPak, ofrece nuevas y emocionantes formas de matar a la gente. Eso sí que es innovación!

Eso fue entonces, ahora el gigante de las búsquedas y el brazo de inversión de la CIA apuestan por productos que violan la privacidad a un nivel completamente nuevo.

Una oferta promocional de los recién llegados al mercado de predicción del comportamiento, Recorded Future, –Un Estudio sobre la Analítica Temporal– afirma que “a diferencia de los motores de búsqueda tradicionales que se centran en la recuperación de textos y hojas de análisis para el usuario, nos esforzamos por ofrecer herramientas que ayudan a identificar y comprender la evolución histórica, y que también puede ayudar a formular hipótesis sobre y dar pistas a los probables eventos futuros. Hemos decidido en “análisis temporal” el término para describir las tareas orientadas al análsis de eventos en tiempo real con el apoyo de nuestros sistemas. ”

Grandes en el hipérbole, Recorded Future afirma haber desarrollado un motor de “análisis, que va más allá de la búsqueda, análisis de vínculo explícito y añade análisis de vínculo implícito, al observar los “lazos invisibles” con otros documentos que hablan de lo mismo, o relacionados, entidades y eventos. Hacemos esto mediante la separación de los documentos y su contenido. ”

De acuerdo con los aspirantes a ayudantes de Big Brother, Recorded Future también analiza la “dimensión de tiempo y espacio ” de los documentos, las referencias a cuándo y dónde un evento ha tenido lugar, o incluso cuando y donde tendrá lugar un evento, ya que muchos en realidad se refieren a sucesos que se espera tenga lugar en el futuro. ”

Agregando a esto los timadores tecnocráticos dicen estar añadiendo más componentes, por ejemplo, análisis de los sentimientos, que determinan cuál es la actitud que un autor tiene hacia su tema, y qué tan fuerte es la actitud es -el estado afectivo del autor. ”

Si usted se opone firmemente al proyecto imperial de los anglosajones que controlan al gobierno de Estados Unidos para robar los recursos de otras personas en Afganistán e Irak, o, comete el crimen de tener la temeridad de escribir u organizarse en su contra? Recorded Future tiene sus ojos en usted y venderá esa información al mejor postor!

Después de todo, como Mike Van Winkle -un canalla del Centro de Información Contra el Terrorismo- dijo al Oakland Tribune en 2003, después de que policías de Oakland abusaron y golpearon a un grupo de estibadores que protestaban contra la guerra en el puerto: “Se puede hacer una relación fácil entre personas que protestan la guerra contra el terrorismo y los terroristas. Si usted tiene un grupo que protesta contra quienes luchan contra el terrorismo internacional, puede que haya terrorismo y terroristas en esa protesta. Casi se puede decir que una protesta en contra es un acto terrorista. ”

Y con la capacidad de Recorded Future de “análisis del sentimiento” esas relaciones serán aún mas fáciles de fabricar.

No importa que la prestigiosa Academia Nacional del Consejo Nacional de Investigación de Ciencia publicó un mordaz informe en 2008, Protegiendo la Privacidad Individual en la Lucha contra el Terrorismo: Un Marco para la Evaluación, que desacreditó la utilidad de los datos, programación y análisis de enlaces como herramientas eficaces para combatirlo.

“Mucho más problemático”, el NRC nos informa, “son las técnicas automatizadas de minería de datos que los motores de búsqueda de datos asocian con patrones inusuales de actividad que aún no se sabe si están asociados con los terroristas.” Puesto que “se sabe tan poco acerca de lo que indican los patrones de la actividad terrorista” dice el informe, técnicas dudosas, tales como análisis de enlaces “probablemente generaran un gran número de pistas falsas.”

En cuanto al super apreciado “Análisis de Sentimiento” de Recoded Future, la NRC lo ha desacreditado, incluso se podría decir de manera preventiva, ante las reclamaciones dudosas de nuestros aspirantes a genios del Precrimen. “El comité también examinó las técnicas de vigilancia del comportamiento, que tratan de identificar a los terroristas mediante la observación de la conducta o la medición de estados fisiológicos.”

Su conclusión? “No hay consenso científico sobre si esas técnicas están listas para su uso en la lucha contra el terrorismo.” La NRC afirma que estas técnicas “tienen un enorme potencial para violaciónes de privacidad porque inevitablemente obligarán al individuo a explicar y justificar su bienestar mental y emocional al Estado.”

Pero estas conclusiones inconvenientes no importan a los creadores de Recorded Future o sus financistas ni tampoco a la comunidad de inteligencia; porque después de todo ellos están en el asiento del conductor cuando los productos desarrollados por la empresa “hacen predicciones sobre el futuro.”

Después de todo, como Ahlberg y su alegre banda de invasores de la privacidad nos informan: “Nuestra misión no consiste en ayudar a nuestros clientes a encontrar los documentos, sino a que puedan entender lo que está sucediendo en el mundo.” Esta es la mejor práctica para conseguir una ventaja sobre la competencia o saber a quién dirigirse.

El “Verdadero Usted”

Para no sentirse menospreciado por el negro mundo de las agencias de espionaje, sus socios corporativos y otros gurús futuristas, la publicación Datamation, nos dijo el mes pasado que el concepto de Precrimen “estará llegando muy pronto al mundo de los Recursos Humanos (RH) y gestión de los empleados.”

El reportero Mike Elgan reveló que una empresa de Santa Barbara, California, llamada Social Intelligence mina las redes sociales para ayudar a las empresas a decidir si realmente quieren emplear a alguien.”

Elgan afirmó que, si bien los controles de antecedentes históricamente han buscado evidencia de conducta criminal por parte de los futuros empleados, “Social Intelligence es la primera empresa que se sabe recoge información de las redes sociales para evidenciar mal carácter.”

Al igual que en con Recorded Future y decenas de otras empresas de “predicción del comportamiento” como Attensity y Visible Technologies, Social Intelligence usa “software de automatización que circula a través de Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs y” miles de otras fuentes. ” Con esto, la empresa desarrolla un informe sobre el “verdadero Usted”.

Según Datamation, ‘la compañía también ofrece un servicio de monitoreo social independiente de Inteligencia para ver la actividad personal de los empleados existentes en forma permanente.” Esta vigilancia intrusa transforma los lugares de trabajo en un lugar panóptico Orwelliano 24 horas al día del cual no hay escape.

El servicio se vende como un medio ejemplar para “hacer cumplir políticas de la compañía en medios sociales.” Sin embargo, ya que “son criterios que la empresa define, no es claro si es posible monitorear la actividad personal.” No tema, lo es.

Social Intelligence, de acuerdo con Elgan, “proporciona información que enfatiza menos las acciones específicas y destaca el carácter. Es menos acerca de “¿qué hizo el empleado” y más acerca de “qué clase de persona es este empleado?”

En otras palabras, se trata del futuro, en concreto, el orden mundial sombrío que las corporaciones alarmistas rápidamente están haciendo realidad.

Datamation informa que “a raíz de las líneas de tendencia actual”, enraizadas en la lógica defectuosa de la información derivada de la extracción de datos y análisis de enlaces, “las arañas de redes sociales y los motores de análisis predictivo de trabajo serán el pan de cada día en la exploración de Internet y utilizarán esos datos para predecir lo que cada empleado pueda hacer en el futuro. Esta capacidad sólo será bien conocido en las suites de software de recursos humanos. ”

Al igual que con otros aspectos de la vida cotidiana en el mundo post constitucional, decisiones administrativas, que van desde si debe o no contratar a alguien o despedirle sin respeto a las leyes , sin juicio, o incluso perseguirle, son las reglas de la nueva era. Algún burócrata de recursos humanos actuará como juez, jurado y verdugo, tomando decisiones que pueden y han destrozado la vida de muchos.

Elgan nos dice que estas nuevas técnicas son muy diferentes al tradicional proceso penal en el que el acusado aparece ante la ley por su mala conducta y llegar a dar la cara ante su acusador, “ya que legalmente no puede ser arrojados en la cárcel por mal carácter, juicio pobre, o las expectativas de lo que puede hacer en el en el futuro. Tienes que romper realmente la ley, y tienen que demostrar que cometiste un crímen. ” No es así con esta nueva tecnología.

“Las acciones basadas en enlaces y análisis de sentimiento no son nada como esto. “Usted no tiene el derecho de presentarse en una Corte.” De hecho, en función de si usted se hinca ante su jefe o no , o enoja a algún cobarde corporativo, o se mueve de manera “sospechosa” su caso será clasificado en alguna categoría basada en un algoritmo. Usted no tiene que violar las normas de su empleador para ser despedido “y su empleador no tiene que demostrarlo.”

Datamation nos dice, “si el software de análisis predictivo de comportamiento del futuro decide que usted va a hacer algo en el futuro que es incompatible con los intereses de la empresa, estás despedido”.

Y, afirma Elgan, ahora que “las herramientas son cada vez más monstruosamente sofisticadas, eficientes, potentes y de gran alcance invasivo”, el concepto de Precrimen llegará pronto a Recursos Humanos. ”

Big Brother está a sólo un clic del ratón …

Invasive Cyber Technologies and Internet Privacy

By Tom Burghardt

What do Google, the CIA and a host of so-called “predictive behavior” start-ups have in common?

They’re interested in you, or more specifically, whether your online interests–from Facebook to Twitter posts, and from Flickr photos to YouTube and blog entries–can be exploited by powerful computer algorithms and subsequently transformed into “actionable intelligence.”

And whether the knowledge gleaned from an IP address is geared towards selling useless junk or entering a name into a law enforcement database matters not a whit. It’s all “just data” and “buzz” goes the mantra, along what little is left of our privacy and our rights.

Increasingly, secret state agencies ranging from the CIA to the National Security Agency are pouring millions of dollars into data-mining firms which claim they have a handle on who you are or what you might do in the future.

And to top it off, the latest trend in weeding-out dissenters and nonconformists from the social landscape will soon be invading a workplace near you; in fact, it already has.

Welcome to the sinister world of “Precrime” where capitalist grifters, drug- and torture-tainted spy shops are all laboring mightily to stamp out every last vestige of free thought here in the heimat.

The CIA Enters the Frame

In July, security journalist Noah Shachtman revealed in Wired that “the investment arms of the CIA and Google are both backing a company that monitors the web in real time–and says it uses that information to predict the future.”

Shachtman reported that the CIA’s semi-private investment company, In-Q-Tel, and Google Ventures, the search giant’s business division had partnered-up with a dodgy outfit called Recorded Future pouring, according to some estimates, $20 million dollars into the fledgling firm.

blurb on In-Q-Tel’s web site informs us that “Recorded Future extracts time and event information from the web. The company offers users new ways to analyze the past, present, and the predicted future.”

Who those ubiquitous though nameless “users” are or what they might do with that information once they “extract” it from the web is left unsaid. However, judging from the interest that a CIA-connected entity has expressed in funding the company, privacy will not figure prominently in the “new ways” such tools will be used.

Wired reported that the company, founded by former Swedish Army Ranger Christopher Ahlberg, “scours tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents–both present and still-to-come.”

“The cool thing is” Ahlberg said, “you can actually predict the curve, in many cases.”

And as for the search giant’s interest in “predicting the future” for the secret state, it wouldn’t be the first time that Google Ventures sold equipment and expertise to America’s shadow warriors.

While the firm may pride itself on the corporate slogan, “don’t be evil,” data is a valuable commodity. And where’s there value, there’s money to be made. Whether it comes in the form of “increasing share value” through the sale of private information to marketeers or state intelligence agencies eager to increase “situational awareness” of the “battlespace” is a matter of complete indifference to corporate bean counters.

After all, as Google CEO Eric Schmidt told CNBC last year, “if you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

But that standard, “only bad people have something to hide,” is infinitely mutable and can be stretched–or manipulated as has so often been the case in the United States–to encompass everything from “Papist” conspiracies, “illegal” migrants, homosexuality, communism, drug use, or America’s latest bête noire: the “Muslim threat.”

Schmidt went on to say that “the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time. And we’re all subject, in the U.S., to the Patriot Act, and it is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities.”

In February, The Washington Post reported that “the world’s largest Internet search company and the world’s most powerful electronic surveillance organization are teaming up in the name of cybersecurity.”

“The alliance” between Google and NSA “is being designed to allow the two organizations to share critical information without violating Google’s policies or laws that protect the privacy of Americans’ online communications,” the Post alleged.

An anonymous source told the Post that “the deal does not mean the NSA will be viewing users’ searches or e-mail accounts or that Google will be sharing proprietary data.”

Really?

Last spring it was revealed that Google’s Street View cars had been secretly vacuuming up terabytes of private wi-fi data for more than three years across Europe and the United States.

The Sunday Times reported that the firm had “been scooping up snippets of people’s online activities broadcast over unprotected home and business wi-fi networks.”

In July, The Washington Post’s “Top Secret America” investigation disclosed that Google supplies mapping and search products to the U.S. secret state and that their employees, outsourced intelligence contractors for the Defense Department, may have filched their customers’ wi-fi data as part of an NSA surveillance project.

And what about email and web searches? Last year, The New York Times revealed that NSA intercepts of “private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans are broader than previously acknowledged.” In fact, a former NSA analyst described how he was trained-up fierce in 2005 “for a program in which the agency routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants.”

That program, code-named PINWALE, and the NSA’s meta-data-mining spy op STELLAR WIND, continue under Obama. Indeed, The Atlantic told us at the time that PINWALE “is actually an unclassified proprietary term used to refer to advanced data-mining software that the government uses.”

But the seamless relationships amongst communications’ giants such as Google and the secret state doesn’t stop there.

Even before Google sought an assist from the National Security Agency to secure its networks after an alleged breech by China last year, in 2004 the firm had acquired Keyhole, Inc., an In-Q-Tel funded start-up that developed 3-D-spy-in-the-sky images; Keyhole became the backbone for what later evolved into Google Earth.

At the time of their initial investment, In-Q-Tel said that Keyhole’s “strategic relationship … means that the Intelligence Community can now benefit from the massive scalability and high performance of the Keyhole enterprise solution.”

In-Q-Tel’s then-CEO, Gilman Louie, said that spy shop venture capitalists invested in the firm “because it offers government and commercial users a new capability to radically enhance critical decision making. Through its ability to stream very large geospatial datasets over the Internet and private networks, Keyhole has created an entirely new way to interact with earth imagery and feature data.”

Or, as seen on a daily basis in the AfPak “theatre” deliver exciting new ways to kill people. Now that’s innovation!

That was then, now the search giant and the CIA’s investment arm are banking on products that will take privacy intrusions to a whole new level.

A promotional offering by the up-and-comers in the predictive behavior marketplace, Recorded Future–A White Paper on Temporal Analytics asserts that “unlike traditional search engines which focus on text retrieval and leaves the analysis to the user, we strive to provide tools which assist in identifying and understanding historical developments, and which can also help formulate hypotheses about and give clues to likely future events. We have decided on the term ‘temporal analytics’ to describe the time oriented analysis tasks supported by our systems.”

Big in the hyperbole department, Recorded Future claims to have developed an “analytics engine, which goes beyond search, explicit link analysis and adds implicit link analysis, by looking at the ‘invisible links’ between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events. We do this by separating the documents and their content from what they talk about.”

According to the would-be Big Brother enablers, “Recorded Future also analyzes the ‘time and space dimension’ of documents–references to when and where an event has taken place, or even when and where it will take place–since many documents actually refer to events expected to take place in the future.”

Adding to the unadulterated creep factor, the technocratic grifters aver they’re “adding more components, e.g. sentiment analyses, which determine what attitude an author has towards his/her topic, and how strong that attitude is–the affective state of the author.”

Strongly oppose America’s imperial project to steal other people’s resources in Afghanistan and Iraq, or, crime of crimes, have the temerity to write or organize against it? Step right this way, Recorded Future has their eye on you and will sell that information to the highest bidder!

After all, as Mike Van Winkle, a California Anti-Terrorism Information Center shill infamously told the Oakland Tribune back in 2003 after Oakland cops wounded scores of peacenik longshoremen at an antiwar rally at the port: “You can make an easy kind of a link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that’s being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that (protest). You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act.”

And with Recorded Future’s “sentiment analyses” such “links” will be even easier to fabricate.

Never mind that the prestigious National Academy of Science’s National Research Council issued a scathing 2008 report, Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Assessment, that debunked the utility of data-ming and link analysis as effective counterterrorism tools.

“Far more problematic,” the NRC informs us, “are automated data-mining techniques that search databases for unusual patterns of activity not already known to be associated with terrorists.” Since “so little is known about what patterns indicate terrorist activity” the report avers, dodgy techniques such as link analysis “are likely to generate huge numbers of false leads.”

As for Recorded Future’s over-hyped “sentiment analyses,” the NRC debunked, one might even say preemptively, the dodgy claims of our would-be precrime mavens. “The committee also examined behavioral surveillance techniques, which try to identify terrorists by observing behavior or measuring physiological states.”

Their conclusion? “There is no scientific consensus on whether these techniques are ready for use at all in counterterrorism.” Damningly, the NRC asserted that such techniques “have enormous potential for privacy violations because they will inevitably force targeted individuals to explain and justify their mental and emotional states.”

Not that such inconvenient facts matter to Recorded Future or their paymasters in the so-called intelligence community who after all, are in the driver’s seat when the firm’s knowledge products “make predictions about the future.”

After all, as Ahlberg and his merry band of privacy invaders inform us: “Our mission is not to help our customers find documents, but to enable them to understand what is happening in the world.”

The better to get a leg up on the competition or know who to target.

The “Real You”

Not to be outdone by black world spy agencies, their outsourced corporate partners or the futurist gurus who do their bidding, the high-tech publication Datamation, told us last month that the precrime concept “is coming very soon to the world of Human Resources (HR) and employee management.”

Reporter Mike Elgan revealed that a “Santa Barbara, Calif., startup called Social Intelligence data-mines the social networks to help companies decide if they really want to hire you.”

Elgan averred that while background checks have historically searched for evidence of criminal behavior on the part of prospective employees, “Social Intelligence is the first company that I’m aware of that systematically trolls social networks for evidence of bad character.”

Similar to Recorded Future and dozens of other “predictive behavior” companies such as Attensity and Visible Technologies, Social Intelligence deploys “automation software that slogs through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs, and ‘thousands of other sources,’ the company develops a report on the ‘real you’–not the carefully crafted you in your resume.”

According to Datamation, “the company also offers a separate Social Intelligence Monitoring service to watch the personal activity of existing employees on an ongoing basis.” Such intrusive monitoring transforms the “workplace” into a 24/7 Orwellian panopticon from which there is no hope of escape.

The service is sold as an exemplary means to “enforce company social media policies.” However, since “criteria are company-defined, it’s not clear whether it’s possible to monitor personal activity.” Fear not, it is.

Social Intelligence, according to Elgan, “provides reporting that deemphasizes specific actions and emphasizes character. It’s less about ‘what did the employee do’ and more about ‘what kind of person is this employee?'”

In other words, it’s all about the future; specifically, the grim world order that fear-mongering corporations are rapidly bringing to fruition.

Datamation reports that “following the current trend lines,” rooted in the flawed logic of information derived from data-mining and link analysis, “social networking spiders and predictive analytics engines will be working night and day scanning the Internet and using that data to predict what every employee is likely to do in the future. This capability will simply be baked right in to HR software suites.”

As with other aspects of daily life in post-constitutional America, executive decisions, ranging from whether or not to hire or fire someone, cast them into a lawless gulag without trial, or even kill them solely on the say-so of our War-Criminal-in-Chief, are the new house rules.

Like our faux progressive president, some HR bureaucrat will act as judge, jury and executioner, making decisions that can–and have–wrecked lives.

Elgan tells us that unlike a criminal proceeding where you stand before the law accused of wrongdoing and get to face your accuser, “you can’t legally be thrown in jail for bad character, poor judgment, or expectations of what you might do in the future. You have to actually break the law, and they have to prove it.”

“Personnel actions aren’t anything like this.” You aren’t afforded the means to “face your accuser.” In fact, based on whether or not you sucked-up to the boss, pissed-off some corporate toady, or moved into the “suspect” category based on an algorithm, you don’t have to actually violate comapny rules in order to be fired “and they don’t have to prove it.”

Datamation tells us, “if the social network scanning, predictive analytics software of the future decides that you are going to do something in future that’s inconsistent with the company’s interests, you’re fired.”

And, Elgan avers, now that “the tools are becoming monstrously sophisticated, efficient, powerful, far-reaching and invasive,” the precrime “concept is coming to HR.”

Big Brother is only a “ping” or mouse click away…

Facebook & Social Media: A Convenient Cover For Spying

By Ralph Forbes
October 6, 2011

Longtime AMERICAN FREE PRESS readers may recall that DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has some creepy tentacles: the Information Awareness Office (IAO); TIA (Total Information Awareness, renamed Terrorism Information Program); and TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System). By 2003, an irate American people forced the government to drop these spooky command-and-control police state operations—or did they?

The “vampire coven” was seemingly dead and buried—but was the stake actually driven through its evil heart?

In 2002, Divya Narendra had an idea for a social network site. By the fall of 2003, she and twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss were looking for a web developer who could bring their idea to life. On Nov. 30, 2003 they hired Mark Zuckerberg to finish their program’s codes. Little did they know what a monster Zuckerberg would hatch.

Zuckerberg bragged about taking their money so he could make his own social networking site. He boasted that his creation, which became the popular “Facebook” online social network, would naturally succeed. While pretending to work on college projects, he was sabotaging his clients by stalling. He claimed he was backed by the “Brazilian Mafia”—but AFP’s revelations will show, it is dangerous to believe anything Zuckerberg says.

Notably, The Social Network, is a new movie based on Zuckerberg and the pre-CIA founding years of Facebook, starring Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg. Check upcoming issues of AFP to see how closely the script depicts the shocking facts.

But as bad as the beginning of Facebook is, the parallels between the CIA’s backing of Google’s dream of becoming “the mind of God,” and the CIA’s funding of Facebook’s goal of knowing everything about everybody are spookier.

Congress stopped the IAO from gathering as much information as possible about everyone in a centralized nexus for easy spying by the United States government, including internet activity, credit card purchase histories, airline ticket purchases, car rentals, medical records, educational transcripts, driver’s licenses, utility bills, tax returns, and all other available data. The government’s plan was to emulate Communist East Germany’s STASI police state by getting mailmen, boy scouts, teachers, students and others to spy on everyone else. Children would be urged to spy on parents.

Facebook, however, does what no dictator ever dreamed of—it has a half billion people willingly doing a form of spy work on all their friends, family, neighbors, etc.—while enthusiastically revealing information on themselves.

The huge database on these half a billion members (and non-members who are written about) is too much power for any private entity—but what if it is part of, or is accessed by, the military-industrial-national security-police state complex?

We all know that “he who pays the piper, calls the tune,” therefore, whoever controls the purse strings controls the whole project. When it had less than a million or so participants, Facebook demonstrated the potential to do even more than IAO, TIA and TIPS combined. Facebook really exploded after its second round of funding—$12.7 million from the venture capital firm Accel Partners. Its manager, James Breyer, was formerly chairman of the National Venture Capital Association and served on the board with Gilman Louie, CEO of In-Q-Tel, a venture capital front established by the CIA in 1999. In-Q-Tel is the same outfit that funds Google and other technological powerhouses. One of its specialties is “data mining technologies.”

Dr. Anita Jones, who joined the firm, also came from Gilman Louie and served on In-Q-Tel’s board. She had been director of Defense Research and Engineering for the U.S. Department of Defense. This link goes full circle because she was also an adviser to the secretary of defense, overseeing DARPA, which is responsible for high-tech, high-end development.

Furthermore, the CIA uses a Facebook group to recruit staff for its National Clandestine Service.

CIA, Google to monitor the web in real time, predicting the future

CIA and Google are both backing a company that monitors the web in real time — and says it uses that information to predict the future.

WIRED

The company is called Recorded Future, and it scours tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents — both present and still-to-come. In a white paper, the company says its temporal analytics engine “goes beyond search” by “looking at the ‘invisible links’ between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events.”

The idea is to figure out for each incident who was involved, where it happened and when it might go down. Recorded Future then plots that chatter, showing online “momentum” for any given event.

“The cool thing is, you can actually predict the curve, in many cases,” says company CEO Christopher Ahlberg, a former Swedish Army Ranger with a PhD in computer science.

Which naturally makes the 16-person Cambridge, Massachusetts, firm attractive to Google Ventures, the search giant’s investment division, and to In-Q-Tel, which handles similar duties for the CIA and the wider intelligence community.

It’s not the very first time Google has done business with America’s spy agencies. Long before it reportedly enlisted the help of the National Security Agency to secure its networks, Google sold equipment to the secret signals-intelligence group. In-Q-Tel backed the mapping firm Keyhole, which was bought by Google in 2004 — and then became the backbone for Google Earth.

This appears to be the first time, however, that the intelligence community and Google have funded the same startup, at the same time. No one is accusing Google of directly collaborating with the CIA. But the investments are bound to be fodder for critics of Google, who already see the search giant as overly cozy with the U.S. government, and worry that the company is starting to forget its “don’t be evil” mantra.

America’s spy services have become increasingly interested in mining “open source intelligence” — information that’s publicly available, but often hidden in the daily avalanche of TV shows, newspaper articles, blog posts, online videos and radio reports.

Secret information isn’t always the brass ring in our profession,” then CIA-director General Michael Hayden told a conference in 2008. “In fact, there’s a real satisfaction in solving a problem or answering a tough question with information that someone was dumb enough to leave out in the open.”

U.S. spy agencies, through In-Q-Tel, have invested in a number of firms to help them better find that information. Visible Technologies crawls over half a million web 2.0 sites a day, scraping more than a million posts and conversations taking place on blogs, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon. Attensity applies the rules of grammar to the so-called “unstructured text” of the web to make it more easily digestible by government databases. Keyhole (now Google Earth) is a staple of the targeting cells in military-intelligence units.

Recorded Future strips from web pages the people, places and activities they mention. The company examines when and where these events happened (“spatial and temporal analysis”) and the tone of the document (“sentiment analysis”). Then it applies some artificial-intelligence algorithms to tease out connections between the players. Recorded Future maintains an index with more than 100 million events, hosted on Amazon.com servers. The analysis, however, is on the living web.

“We’re right there as it happens,” Ahlberg told Danger Room as he clicked through a demonstration. “We can assemble actual real-time dossiers on people.”

Recorded Future certainly has the potential to spot events and trends early. Take the case of Hezbollah’s long-range missiles. On March 21, Israeli President Shimon Peres leveled the allegation that the terror group had Scud-like weapons. Scouring Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s past statements, Recorded Future found corroborating evidence from a month prior that appeared to back up Peres’ accusations.

That’s one of several hypothetical cases Recorded Future runs in its blog devoted to intelligence analysis. But it’s safe to assume that the company already has at least one spy agency’s attention. In-Q-Tel doesn’t make investments in firms without an “end customer” ready to test out that company’s products.

Both Google Ventures and In-Q-Tel made their investments in 2009, shortly after the company was founded. The exact amounts weren’t disclosed, but were under $10 million each. Google’s investment came to light earlier this year online. In-Q-Tel, which often announces its new holdings in press releases, quietly uploaded a brief mention of its investment a few weeks ago.

Both In-Q-Tel and Google Ventures have seats on Recorded Future’s board. Ahlberg says those board members have been “very helpful,” providing business and technology advice, as well as introducing him to potential customers. Both organizations, it’s safe to say, will profit handsomely if Recorded Future is ever sold or taken public. Ahlberg’s last company, the corporate intelligence firm Spotfire, was acquired in 2007 for $195 million in cash.

Google Ventures did not return requests to comment for this article. In-Q-Tel Chief of Staff Lisbeth Poulos e-mailed a one-line statement: “We are pleased that Recorded Future is now part of IQT’s portfolio of innovative startup companies who support the mission of the U.S. Intelligence Community.”

Just because Google and In-Q-Tel have both invested in Recorded Future doesn’t mean Google is suddenly in bed with the government. Of course, to Google’s critics — including conservative legal groups, and Republican congressmen — the Obama Administration and the Mountain View, California, company slipped between the sheets a long time ago.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt hosted a town hall at company headquarters in the early days of Obama’s presidential campaign. Senior White House officials like economic chief Larry Summers give speeches at the New America Foundation, the left-of-center think tank chaired by Schmidt. Former Google public policy chief Andrew McLaughlin is now the White House’s deputy CTO, and was publicly (if mildly) reprimanded by the administration for continuing to hash out issues with his former colleagues.

In some corners, the scrutiny of the company’s political ties have dovetailed with concerns about how Google collects and uses its enormous storehouse of search data, e-mail, maps and online documents. Google, as we all know, keeps a titanic amount of information about every aspect of our online lives. Customers largely have trusted the company so far, because of the quality of their products, and because of Google’s pledges not to misuse the information still ring true to many.

But unease has been growing. Thirty seven state Attorneys General are demanding answers from the company after Google hoovered up 600 gigabytes of data from open Wi-Fi networks as it snapped pictures for its Street View project. (The company swears the incident was an accident.)

“Assurances from the likes of Google that the company can be trusted to respect consumers’ privacy because its corporate motto is ‘don’t be evil’ have been shown by recent events such as the ‘Wi-Spy’ debacle to be unwarranted,” long-time corporate gadfly John M. Simpson told a Congressional hearing in a prepared statement. Any business dealings with the CIA’s investment arm are unlikely to make critics like him more comfortable.

But Steven Aftergood, a critical observer of the intelligence community from his perch at the Federation of American Scientists, isn’t worried about the Recorded Future deal. Yet.

“To me, whether this is troublesome or not depends on the degree of transparency involved. If everything is aboveboard — from contracts to deliverables — I don’t see a problem with it,” he told Danger Room by e-mail. “But if there are blank spots in the record, then they will be filled with public skepticism or worse, both here and abroad, and not without reason.”