Washington’s Blog
January 31, 2014

Newly-released documents from Edward Snowden show that the NSA and other spy agencies are tracking people’s psychological and lifestyle traits such as sexual preference, extroversion-versus-introversion, and whether people are leaders or followers.  See this and this.

For example, the following are slides leaked by Snowden from Britain’s spy service regarding profiling people psychologically:

IC Off the Record reports on future spying techniques being developed by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity:

In 2006, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) was created to invest in high-risk, high-payoff classified programs uniquely designed to provide research and technical capabilities for the Intelligence Community. IARPA-funded researchers are currently studying novel ways of processing and analyzing the explosive growth of domestic data. ***

 

  • The Knowledge Discovery and Dissemination (KDD) program will develop advanced analytic algorithms that can effectively draw inferences across multiple databases to allow the Intelligence Community to create virtual fusion centers enabling analysts to produce actionable intelligence.

 

  • The Socio-cultural Content in Language (SCIL) Program will develop novel algorithms, techniques and technologies to uncover the social actions and characteristics of members of a group (ie; within discussion forums, online comment sections, social media, etc.) by examining the language used in relation to acceptable social and cultural norms.

 

  • The Reynard Program starts from the premise that “real world” characteristics are reflected in “virtual world” behavior. The program seeks to identify behavioral indicators in online virtual worlds and “massively multiplayer online games” that are related to the real world characteristics of the users. Attributes of interest include gender, age, economic status, educational level, occupation, ideology or “world view”, and physical geographic location.

 

Indeed, the NSA  is working on building a “pre-crime” computer system that uses artificial intelligence and massive amounts of data to try to predict how every thinks and what everyone is likely to do.


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