Pentagon under 24/7 DARPA surveillance
Russia Today, Dec 23 2011
The Pentagon will soon be prying through the personal correspondence and computer files of US military personnel, thanks to a $9m program that will put soldiers’ private emails under Uncle Sam’s microscope. DARPA has awarded the grant to five institutions led by Georgia Tech to help develop a system of spying on soldiers’ Internet and computer habits, a multi-million dollar investment that they say will serve as a preemptive measure to make sure “insider threats” can’t materialize in the military. The Pentagon is calling the project “Proactive Discovery of Insider Threats Using Graph Analysis and Learning,” or “PRODIGAL,” and it will scour the e-mails, text messages and files transfers of solders’ “for unusual activity,” writes Georgia Tech, using “a suit of algorithms” that will be able to weed out any weirdness within the DoD that could become a security threat. A spokesman for DARPA deferred to answer to the Army Times how, exactly, they plan on conducting the surveillance over the correspondence. Wired’s Katie Drummond writes, however, that every keystroke, log-in and file upload initiated over DoD networks will be under strict scrutiny in hopes of breaking up any more Bradley Mannings from making their way into the military. Rep Peter King said at a hearing earlier this month:
The Fort Hood attack was not an anomaly. It was part of al-Qaeda’s two-decade success at infiltrating the US military for terrorism, an effort that is increasing in scope and threat.
Given the Senate and House’s recent go-ahead with the National Defense Authorization Act, a legislation that will allow for the government to indefinitely detain and torture US citizens over suspected terrorist ties, a little cyber-sleuthing of soldiers seems like nothing at all. For the tens of thousands of defense workers separated from their loved ones by a multitude of miles and battlefields, however, the move comes as one big burden from Big Brother, and a smack in the face sent to the very men and women who are defending a supposed freedom for everyone else in USAia. Operation Homefront, a program that offers aid to military familes during times of deployment, offer campaigns in which they provide soldiers with laptops so that they can stay in touch with loved ones. Earlier this month, they unloaded several computers on soldiers at Fort Riley thanks to a partnership with CDW Government LLC. Brig-Gen (Ret) John Howard, CDW-G DoD business development manager, said in a statement at the time:
We are grateful that through our continued partnership with Operation Homefront, we are able to honor the sacrifice of military families and help alleviate some of the stress they often feel when separated from their deployed family members. While email can never replace the presence of a parent or spouse at home, these laptops provide a vital connection to home when it is needed the most.
Amy Palmer, chief operating officer for Operation Homefront, added:
Although we can never take the sacrifice out of a deployment, we hope that the laptops will help improve the quality of life for our military personnel and their families. Without the means to afford computers, many soldiers and their families must wait to hear from one another, which can affect morale on and off the battlefield. However, with the help of CDW-G, many families of deployed soldiers can now communicate daily, easing concerns of worried loved ones.
While PRODIGAL doesn’t stand to exactly put the Pentagon between the sender of the email and the recipient, it will cause soldiers to censor their thoughts with often the only people they can relate to. In the past year, DARPA has announced other plans to pry into military personnel, including the Narrative Networks project to find out who is most susceptible to propaganda, and Power Dreaming, an initiative that will scan brainwave patterns of sleeping soldiers to try to determine what causes what dreams.
Brainwashing USAia, Pentagon-style!
Russia Today, Oct 18 2011
The Pentagon is about to crank the propaganda machine up to 11. According to a new report, the Department of Defense is attempting to find out what makes a person easily influenced in hopes of swaying them towards supporting their own causes. In a report published this week by Wired, they reveal that Pentagon researchers working in its DARPA division has begun work on a program called Narrative Networks. Under this initiative, scientists at DARPA are scanning brain patterns and other body functions to see how stories shape the minds of audiences, and who is most vulnerable to be swayed by persuasion. From there, the DoD can counter brainwashed terrorists with an agenda of their own. Or perhaps brainwash anyone they choose. A researcher close to the project told Wired:
The government is already trying to control the message, so why not have the science to do it in a systematic way?
A neuroscience researcher involved in the project adds that scientists are specifically looking into how story-telling shapes the minds of listeners so that they can identify who is most vulnerable to the recruiting tactics of terrorists. In its first stages, the Narrative Networks projects aims to “explore the function narratives serve in the process of political radicalization and how they can influence a person or group’s choice of means (such as indiscriminant violence) to achieve political ends.” And to figure this out, they will be investigating the role that social media has on peoples’ thinking process. Do you “like” your friend’s Facebook post? DARPA wants to know why. Soon after, they hope, you’ll be giving them the thumbs up yourself. In the second phase, Wired reports, researchers will be constructing hardware and software to analyze how people perceive stories, going as far as to use non-detectable sensors to monitor internal and external reactions. Sound space age? It’s coming sooner than you think. Last week RT reported (below) that the Department of Homeland Security has already begun work on an operation called the FAST project, in which they’ve monitored the psycho-physiological measurements of test subjects’ breathing, blink patterns and speech rhythms in order to pin-point security threats based solely on biological functions. Did reading this make you uneasy? The government wants to know (and they already might).
DHS wants to read your brain
Russia Today, Oct 11 2011
They know where you live and know where you work. Now the government is considering a plan to monitor USAians’ speech rhythms, blinking rate and breathing patterns. This, they say, could help identify and eliminate threats to the nation. The CIA doesn’t necessarily want to put a microchip in your brain but what they are trying out isn’t all that far off. Under a project put together by the Department of Homeland Security, the government has been trying out space-age (and pretty damn creepy) techniques to get into the minds of USAians in hopes of figuring out who will cause concern for the country before they can even get out of bed. It’s called the FAST project and it stands for the Future Attribute Screening Technology Mobile Module. If this technology is implemented quickly on the public, however, it could be an invasion of privacy made for the silver screen. The website CNET has uncovered evidence of the FAST project through Freedom of Information Act requests sent out by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and has now revealed to the public that they could eventually be in danger of a massive initiative that has already been tested in USAia. DHS employees have already served as test subjects in FAST trial runs in which sensors collected “video images, audio recordings and psychophysiological measurements,” among other unidentified evaluations, in order to get into the minds of potential terrorists. To CNET, DHS Deputy Press Secretary Peter Boogaard says FAST is designed to track and monitor body movements, voice pitch changes, fluctuations in rhythm and intonation, eye movement, body heat changes and breathing patterns in order to gather research that could help pin-point the inner workings of wrong-doers. Boogard says that preliminary research has already been conducted and that the DHS has used technological sensors and observational techniques to signal out signs of stress “associated with intent to do harm.”
The DHS says that they do not intend on deploying FAST program on the public anytime soon, but should they chose to, that means that your every move, inside and out, could be recorded to keep USAia safe, one blink at a time. Among the materials collected in the FOIA request sent out by EPIC is one document that accounts for every cent of the “pre-crime” system that was contracted out to a Cambridge, Massachusetts laboratory. Amounts, however, were redacted in the documents. EPIC writes that they are pursuing an administrative appeal to challenge those blackened out portions of the files. Though research has apparently only been conducted on DHS volunteers so far, the documents suggest that a trial will be carried out soon on volunteering public at a large invent where body actions will be used to help researcher’s pin-point “the bad guy.” Should this technology make it outside of the DHS’ trial testing, it wouldn’t be that big surprise if it becomes implemented alongside the already invasive scanners that the DHS has at their many airports across USAia. Upon CNET’s initial report on the FAST program, the DHS was quick to fire back that the program really isn’t as invasive as some might think, even if, yes, they have been collecting data on breathing patterns to learn how to kick crime to the curb. They add that data is not kept on participants, which is collected anonymously, after the process is complete.