Iphtashu Fitz writes "CNet News is reporting that the CIA has been quietly investing in research programs to automatically monitor Internet chat rooms. In a two year agreement with the National Science Foundation, CIA officials were involved with the selection of recipients for research grants to develop automated chat room monitors. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute received $157,673 from the CIA and NSF for their proposal of 'a system to be deployed in the background of any chat room as a silent listener for eavesdropping ... The proposed system could aid the intelligence community to discover hidden communities and communication patterns in chat rooms without human intervention.' How soon until all IM conversations are monitored by Big Brother? The abstract of the proposal is available on the NFS website."