Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Communications Government Privacy Social Networks United States Your Rights Online

The CIA's Social Mining Department 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the digesting-aggregated-opinions dept.
bsquizzato writes "The Associated Press is running a story about the CIA's Open Source Center: 'a team known affectionately as the "vengeful librarians,"' who work out of 'an anonymous industrial park in Virginia, in an unassuming brick building' scouring social networks and other online media to keep up with the world's current events and opinions on American actions. This should come as no surprise, but it's quite interesting that President Obama is briefed daily on the latest hot topic tweets and Facebook posts."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The CIA's Social Mining Department

Comments Filter:
  • but it's quite interesting that President Obama is briefed daily on the latest hot topic tweets and Facebook posts."

    Isn't that what trending hashtags are for?

    • I think they may be smarter then you think. #blowupanairplane might make it a bit too easy find.
    • by cayenne8 (626475)

      but it's quite interesting that President Obama is briefed daily on the latest hot topic tweets and Facebook posts."

      Isn't that what trending hashtags are for?

      Hmm...well, that might help a little explaining the current state of the economy, and the US in general.

      Get off the fucking social networks...and start actually consulting impartial experts, and actually maybe....follow their advice, regardless of which party might seem to benefit.

      Governing by 'mood of the country' isn't the best way to get thin

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        Ignoring the mood of your country is often a pretty destructive thing for a politician to do. Really how much time do you think it would take to review say a page of information. Of course those collating are spending a lot of time but the expectation is a poltical should know the mood of the electorate, should pay attention to it and in reality should flip or flop which ever way they tell him to ie be a 'representative' politician and not a 'dictative' politcian.

        Every says you should listen to your boss

  • by KermodeBear (738243) on Friday November 04, 2011 @10:29AM (#37947394) Homepage

    [...] it's quite interesting that President Obama is briefed daily on the latest hot topic tweets and Facebook posts."

    Not only interesting, but smart if he wants to get votes. Connecting with the public, and being able to converse on recent hot topics, or insert them into speeches, is a good way to get votes. It helps reduce the perception that he is disconnected from the people, which is an oft-heard complaint about those in Washington.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ... and you've just given an excellent description of the the difference between a politician and a leader.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Not only interesting, but smart if he wants to get votes.

      It's also the root of The Problem - politics has changed into a game of trying to please the unwashed masses while painting the opposition as black as possible.

      The people running the country should be concerned about doing it efficiently while solving the big problems (economy, energy, healthcare, debt, etc). Being leaders who get stuff done, leading the world by example. As it is they're more concerned about expensive suits, manicures and looking good on TV.

      The system is broken and we're the ones who're fo

      • politics has changed into a game of trying to please the unwashed masses while painting the opposition as black as possible.

        That change occurred when humans got involved in politics thousands of years ago. "Thag promise no regulate clubs, not like corrupt evil Ogg."

      • It is the root of the problem. But if you want votes then that's a good way to ensure you get some.

        The problem is that the politicians who can solve the problems won't ever get elected. It's akin to a parent telling a kid he can't have ice cream, but must eat beansprouts instead.

    • by dave562 (969951)

      So the CIA is helping Obama stay on top of the latest trends that will help him converse on the latest topics?

      Great. I'm so glad that tax dollars are helping politicians keep up with Facebook at Twitter. It would be bad enough of their staff was doing it. But the CIA? Come on now. I was under the impression that there are real, pressing issues to focus on. Issues like China and Russia coordinating organized, 24x7 penetration testing of anything and everything connected to the internet.

      • So the CIA is helping Obama stay on top of the latest trends that will help him converse on the latest topics?

        Great. I'm so glad that tax dollars are helping politicians keep up with Facebook at Twitter. It would be bad enough of their staff was doing it. But the CIA? Come on now. I was under the impression that there are real, pressing issues to focus on. Issues like China and Russia coordinating organized, 24x7 penetration testing of anything and everything connected to the internet.

        Well if its a secondary benefit to activities more in keeping with their primary mission why not brief the pres about public sentiment? As far as the Chinese and Russians using our networked computer as sex dolls, that's more of a NSA thing than CIA.

      • by arkenian (1560563)
        I doubt it. The CIA isn't supposed to, and generally doesn't bother, to collect the latest trends of opinion in the US. Frankly speaking, a modern US president should have better sources than the CIA for that. On the other hand, knowing what issues are trending in europe right now?? Or China? THAT is the CIA's business... Also, that said, I'm pretty sure that these things are just factors fed into the PDB and generally not line items, and certainly not line items that make the main sections. *shrugs*
    • Here we go, THE NEXT BIG BUSINESS IDEA, Consulting Presidential Nominees to plan their Campaign by Social Neuwork Data digging. Welcome to Democracy. well at least marijuana will be legalized .
  • ... latest Slashdot comments ?
  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Friday November 04, 2011 @10:35AM (#37947464)

    Why does Obama even bother? Based on the petition responses, he doesn't really give a shit what any of us "little people" think, anyway.

    I think he's just looking for buzz words to use as he blows more smoke up our collective asses, myself.

    Neither party represents the people any more. It's time to call a mulligan on this one and start again...

    • This isn't used for figuring out his politics. Twitter and all this other social media BS is used for arranging protests against various foreign governments, and also to advocate terrorism. The guy we whacked in Yemen was calling for jihad based in part on a series of Youtube videos. Keeping apprised of these developments can be very useful, especially if they're figuring out where these various posts are coming from. If there's a movement arising in Syria, for instance, the US and NATO can step in to provi

    • by timeOday (582209)

      Why does Obama even bother? Based on the petition responses, he doesn't really give a shit what any of us "little people" think, anyway.

      Which of the White House responses is it that you thought was out of line with the American public as a whole?

      • They're all just justifications of the administration's existing policies. It's not a platform for interacting with the citizenry, it's a platform to lecture you about why the government is right.

        Concern about software patents -> "That's the way the law works. Now we'll talk up our new patent law which doesn't address them."
        Religion in the public square -> "The president mentioned you non-believers in his inaugural address, what more do you want?"
        Legalize marijuana -> "The War on Drugs totally
      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        Which of the White House responses is it that you thought was out of line with the American public as a whole?

        The ones about how pot was dangerous and should still be against the law, even for medical use.

        I saw a story with a poll, on Fox news of all places the other day..where the poll indicated that today, the majority of people in the US were in favor of relaxing / repealing marijuana laws.

        That one kinda surprised me....

        • by pluther (647209)
          It's Fox News.

          If Obama is against legalizing marijuana, then they're for it.

          When President Bachmann gets into office, they'll be against it again.

    • mulligan?

      you sound .... rich.

      (get 'em, boys!)

      lousy one percenters.

      • by TheCarp (96830)

        Given that the game of "Asshole" contains a "mulligan", I am not so sure how well that holds true.

  • So something like Three Days of the Condor [imdb.com] but for facebook and twitter? Imagine browsing through millions of pictures of LOLcats day in, day out...
  • Vengeful Librarians? Unassuming brick building?

    Let's hope Max Von Sydow doesn't show up at their door.

    • This is the way it will happen, someone you trust will ask you to get in the car with them. DON'T DO IT!!
      • by Shoten (260439)

        This is the way it will happen, someone you trust will ask you to get in the car with them. DON'T DO IT!!

        And if they will use words like "safe" and "secure," especially in repetition, then it means they mean to kill you!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Please report to your nearest rendition centre for mandatory waterboarding and asshole penetration.

    • Those poor animals [wikipedia.org]. They seem to cop it every time. And yet, people seem to miss what's right behind them: arseholes.

      Disclaimer: Sorry, I just couldn't resist. (Actually, that's not much of a disclaimer. I guess I'm just a jackass. ;)

  • I naively thought domestic operations were expressly forbidden in CIA's (classified) charter.
    • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Friday November 04, 2011 @10:48AM (#37947598)
      After 9/11 the bed wetters gave up their freedom for security, and took everyone along for the ride.
      • by Thing 1 (178996)
        I've been wondering why I've been sleeping in the wet spot for a decade, with no action...
      • by jc79 (1683494)

        After 9/11 the bed wetters gave up their freedom for the illusion of security, and took everyone along for the ride.

        FTFY.

    • I would politely point out that your statement implies that the rest of the world does not use social media ("after all, if they're mining social media, it must be domestic because foreign barbarians aren't as sophisticated as America in this regard"). Contrary to what you may have heard, the rest of the world does actively use it, and the CIA has too many headaches translating and spying on the rest of the world to worry about to be wasting time sorting through what America thinks about Kim Kardashian's d
  • by Anonymous Coward

    One can only presume that there are more Right Wing tweeters than Left Wing or Centrist or tweeters, because ever since he took office he has been playing up to Right Wing sensibilities and corporate interests. Too bad that people like him would rather have a successful career than a moral conscience.

  • Sir, the internet recommends you do a barrel roll. Also it seems cats are demanding moar noms.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Friday November 04, 2011 @10:51AM (#37947640)

    So I guess they have an astroturfing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing) department, as well. They spread positive stuff on America's actions in foreign social networks.

    So I hope that the mining folks don't pick up something spread by their own astroturfing folks. Gee, wouldn't that be a major failure of intelligence gathering.?

    • by Shoten (260439) on Friday November 04, 2011 @11:02AM (#37947748)

      So I guess they have an astroturfing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing) department, as well. They spread positive stuff on America's actions in foreign social networks.

      So I hope that the mining folks don't pick up something spread by their own astroturfing folks. Gee, wouldn't that be a major failure of intelligence gathering.?

      So, first off, before it was called "astroturfing" it was already an old practice in the realm of geopolitics...it was called "propoganda," and everyone does it like crazy. It's not rocket science that you guessed at that, by the way...this is far, far, far from being either a news or secret.

      If you read the article, you'll see that what they're doing is not just absorbing the messages, but looking at the information in the context of the sources providing them. And they aren't just looking at opinions, but at facts as well. In fact, I'd be shocked if they weren't fully aware of what other efforts were underway to improve the viewpoint on American activities, and cross-referencing to validate the effectiveness of those efforts. As well they should; that's part of what an intelligence organization is supposed to do, after all. Why do some people get so upset when the CIA does what the CIA is meant to do? If you want to live in a country that has no such apparatus, your options are extremely limited...I recommend Costa Rica or Luxembourg. At least what we're talking about here is nothing more than listening to what the rest of the world is saying, and paying attention to it...this is not waterboarding, extraordinary rendition, or reaper drone strikes. It's reading Twitter and Facebook.

      • by Plugh (27537)
        As an anarchist [freetalklive.com], elected official [wikipedia.org], and member of a vaguely anti-government group [freestateproject.org], I've often wondered how big the dossier is on me. Either it's large, in which case it documents a whole lot of perfectly legal stuff I'm doing and is just a waste of bureaucrats' time, or it's small or nonexistent, in which case the bureaucrats are fail for missing a guy who you'd think would be on the list.
  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Friday November 04, 2011 @11:16AM (#37947918) Homepage Journal

    How about instead of spying on the little guy, you go after the people that wrecked america, economically, socially, politically and intellectually.

    Can you bring those crooks to justice please?

    • by robot256 (1635039)

      How about instead of spying on the little guy, you go after the people that wrecked america, economically, socially, politically and intellectually.

      They already spend too much time looking in the mirror, and you want them to do it more?

    • They funded the guy into office. He's not going to dick about them.
      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        They funded every guy into office. They're not going to dick about them.

        FTFY.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 04, 2011 @11:32AM (#37948168)

    Intelligence Analysis Team Lead

    XXX seeks an Pattern/Trend (Life) Intelligence Analysis Team Lead to support the XXX at XXX A CURRENT TS/SCI CLEARANCE IS REQUIRED FOR EMPLOYMENT CONSIDERATION. CANDIDATES WITHOUT AN ACTIVE TS/SCI WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.

    The selected individual will lead a team of analysts involved with Pattern of Life (POL) issues. Duties include: plan and develop internal analysis strategies and participate in project/team meetings to provide innovative methods and assistance in social network analysis and presentation of the findings in support of other team members' analysis. Additional duties include: assemble facts and information from a variety of data sources and work products made available by various Federal, state, regional, and tribal enforcement and intelligence agencies; locates, synthesizes, and interprets large amounts of textual, financial, and technical data such as transaction records, financial/accounting statements, money service business records, and general business data, plus intelligence information reports, finished intelligence products, filtered real-time data feeds, directed-searches results, and task-specific, specialized data sources.

    The candidate shall possess the following skills: Experience characterizing HUMAN terrain using raster and vector GIS data layers; Experience using ArcGIS or other tools to perform address geocoding; Experience using spatial multi-criteria/multi-objective evaluation techniques in an ArcGIS to conduct area limitation analysis and/or mobility modeling; Experience applying crime mapping, geographic profiling, animal tracking, or manhunting methodologies, methods, and tools to predict where and when an individual is likely to be in a future time and place; Experience developing and applying descriptive and inferential statistics to flows over time and space, including application of time series analysis, sequential data analysis, spatial statistics, or space-time statistics; Experience developing and maintaining geo-databases bases on facility and event locations and times, and other behavioral, cultural, or social factors that influence an individual's spatial decision-making; Experience developing new Pattern of Life support products and analytic techniques; Experience training non-technical audiences in Pattern of Life methodologies, methods and tools; Ability to write scripts/applications in ArcGIS environment using Python or Visual Basic to automated commonly used tasks or loosely couple existing software; Familiarity with the Lund school of space-time geography or other contemporary theories of space-time geography or spatial decision-making; Experience using statistical or spatial statistical software to pattern of life analysis, including CrimeStat, Tableau, SPSS, Statistica, S-Plus, or SAS; Experience using Geotime, Starlight, Inspire, Centrifuge.

    Essential Job Functions

    Prepares intelligence documents through intelligence gathering using multiple intelligence sources such as human intelligence (HUMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT), geospatial intelligence (GEOINT), measurement and signal intelligence (MASINT), open source intelligence (OSINT) to support customers including military, intelligence, law enforcement or security agencies. Recommends process improvements or enhancements to processes.
    Oversees the processing of information about situations and entities of strategic, operational or tactical importance; characterizes possible future actions and identifies possible courses of action or remedies.
    Analyzes current intelligence holdings, identifies potential shortfalls, gaps and vulnerabilities to develop subsequent collection requirements. Develops specialized intelligence products, threat analyses, production support, and tailored intelligence products such as fusion intelligence, warning intelligence, estimative intelligence or psychological profiling. Develops and/or oversees the developme

    • by k6mfw (1182893)
      Regarding spies.... from 1960s Mad Magazine: When we want to gather information on other countries, we employ intelligence agents. When another country does the same to us, we accuse them of using spies.
    • by lasinge (1009929)
      No freaking wonder, damn. What's wrong with perl and ttytter? And I thought Ubuntu had gotten bloated. No wonder they couldn't find { O | U } sama Bin Waldo.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Here's a pretty good explanation about how the subject line of this post is a true statement.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfY_HTzd_4U

  • by Koreantoast (527520) on Friday November 04, 2011 @12:39PM (#37949082)
    Why is this a surprise? Given the prominence of social media and public online forums in a lot of the unrest over the last several years, I would be disappointed in the CIA if they were NOT examining this data. Like every other intelligence source, the social media data alone won't provide a complete picture, but combined with other data gathered from more traditional methods, it can provide a real-time indicator of what is going on in a particular part of the world.
  • If you are reading this, and I know you probably are, then fuck you! Also, fuck the American government and the united states military. I don't support any of you jerks. That is all. Sincerely,
    darjen

  • assassinate 9/11 truth new world order president bilderberg g20 obama conspiracy osama taliban FEMA nuclear disaster dirty bomb terror washington sniper forced medication free speech fluoride illuminati uranium anthrax 737 pilot world trade center pentagon white house cuba taliban 747 nuclear bush buckling lizardmen marx anticapitalism enrichment mao black bloc third worldism presstv anarchism protests crash air force one heat seaking g8 echelon kill polonium 210 lenin pazuzu NAVSECGRUACT smallpox al-qaeda

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler

Working...