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Ear to the Ground

NSA Wants to Mine Data From Social Networking Sites

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Posted on Jun 9, 2006
NSA mining social networking sites
Faces: from smartmobs.com / NSA seal: from isoc.org

The National Security Agency is reportedly taking aim at the treasure troves of personal data available on social networking sites like MySpace and Friendster.

The National Security Agency is funding research into ways to collect personal information from social networking websites like MySpace and Friendster, according to New Scientist magazine. The agency is reportedly aiming to combine personal information from social networking websites like MySpace and Friendster with details from banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals.


New Scientist:

“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 However, the White House insists that the terrorist threat makes existing wire-tapping legislation out of date and is urging Congress not to investigate the NSA’s action.

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By Margaret Currey, October 6, 2006 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So if you go to a website about guns, I guess they think you are going to buy a gun, could be you are only looking at the website and have no intention of buying.  Look out folks what Bush is not much different from what Hitler did in the late 1930’s and of course the people were just as trusting, if you do not study history you are bound to repeat it, the kids in todays society are going to school to learn how to test there is noting about trying to teach children how to think.  After all a multiple choice test requires less thinking than the tests I took as a child.

MTC from Vancouver, Washington

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By Ga, June 9, 2006 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh yeah, I heard that argument too… The gathering of the phone records was so that our government can track cell phone calls, like when something is going to happen… many people make many really brief calls to one or two people over the course of an hour, meaning the a terrorist could be plotting something big!

Either that or there is a keg party happening somewhere.

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By Robert, June 9, 2006 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course the NSA is going to say, “Anybody who isn’t a terrorist has nothing to worry about”, or, “Trust us, we have great respect for the Consititution .” 

“Clockwork Orange”, anyone, not to mention “1984”?

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By Fart Marple, June 9, 2006 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

They’re makin’ a list, checkin’ it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty and nice…Po-lice State is co-min to town. They know what you’ve been writing, and what you’re thinking tooooo, so when it’s time to come arrest your ass they’ll know just where to find you boo hoo…So you better not pout, you better not cry, you better not object I’m tellin’ you why: The Decider’s brought a Po-lice State to town…and it ain’t goin’ away either…

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By SteveB, June 9, 2006 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh, it’s clear what this collected information offers our government. Why, it will allow them to predict the occurrence of a crime, based on the acquaintances, places visited, and musical tastes of the would-be perpetrator. By arresting the evil-doer before the crime happens, our world will be such a better place.

I saw it all in “Minority Report”.

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