The Federation of American Scientists Report (cited below) provided the bulk of this particular blog post. It might disturb some. Others will feel, “what else is new?” Open source data mining has been in operation since Admiral Bobby Inman, USN (at the time, recently retired director of the National Security Agency) established the InterNIC in the late 1990’s to control the Internet in the US.
(FAS) The U.S. military has been investigating the use of sophisticated data mining tools to probe social media and other open sources in order to support military operations against money laundering, drug trafficking, terrorism and other threats. But the window for doing so may be closing as the social media landscape changes, according to an internal assessment.
U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) National Capital Region (NCR) conducted a series of experiments over the past year under the rubric “QUANTUM LEAP**” that was intended to test “non-traditional” tools and techniques to advance the SOCOM mission.
An after-action report on the first experiment said it “was successful in identifying strategies and techniques for exploiting open sources of information, particularly social media, in support of a counter threat finance mission.” Counter threat finance refers to efforts to disrupt an adversary’s finances. A copy of the SOCOM NCR report was obtained by Secrecy News. See “Project QUANTUM LEAP: After Action Report
,” 12 September 2012:
** Project QUANTUM LEAP derives its name and inspiration from an initiative in the late 1990s to incorporate advanced technologies into Naval Special Warfare capabilities. That earlier Project QUANTUM LEAP was described in “Stimulating Innovation in Naval Special Warfare by Utilizing Small Working Groups” by Thomas A. Rainville, Master’s Thesis, March 2001.
The Special Operations Command project included the implementation of:
- Social Bubble, a tool that searches Twitter-related content,
- Recon, which reconstructs source document from a raw data stream
- Semantica , which ingests structured and semi-structured data and forms relationship hierarchies that it displays both graphically and in text format.
If you want to keep your data private, don’t use the internet, don’t use ‘digital money’ and don’t use telecommunications. Otherwise, you are an open book.