10-12-2004, 01:12 AM #1
U.S. Funds Chat-Room Surveillance Study
i read this and could'nt help but wonder about this board...
By MICHAEL HILL, Associated Press Writer
TROY, N.Y. - Amid the torrent of jabber in Internet chat rooms — flirting by QTpie and BoogieBoy, arguments about politics and horror flicks — are terrorists plotting their next move?
AP PhotoYour Boss Is Watching
Top privacy myths, work e-mails you shouldn't send, and why your personal e-mail isn't private, either.
The government certainly isn't discounting the possibility. It's taking the idea seriously enough to fund a yearlong study on chat room surveillance under an anti-terrorism program.
A Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute computer science professor hopes to develop mathematical models that can uncover structure within the scattershot traffic of online public forums.
Chat rooms are the highly popular and freewheeling areas on the Internet where people with self-created nicknames discuss just about anything: teachers, Kafka, cute boys, politics, love, root canal. They are also places where malicious hackers have been known to trade software tools, stolen passwords and credit card numbers. The Pew Internet & American Life Project estimates that 28 million Americans have visited Internet chat rooms.
Trying to monitor the sea of traffic on all the chat channels would be like assigning a police officer to listen in on every conversation on the sidewalk — virtually impossible.
Instead of rummaging through megabytes of messages, RPI professor Bulent Yener will use mathematical models in search of patterns in the chatter. Downloading data from selected chat rooms, Yener will track the times that messages were sent, creating a statistical profile of the traffic.
If, for instance, RatBoi and bowler1 consistently send messages within seconds of each other in a crowded chat room, you could infer that they were speaking to one another amid the "noise" of the chat room.
"For us, the challenge is to be able to determine, without reading the messages, who is talking to whom," Yener said.
In search of "hidden communities," Yener also wants to check messages for certain keywords that could reveal something about what's being discussed in groups.
The $157,673 grant comes from the National Science Foundation (news - web sites)'s Approaches to Combat Terrorism program. It was selected in coordination with the nation's intelligence agencies.
The NSF's Leland Jameson said the foundation judged the proposal strictly on its broader scientific merit, leaving it to the intelligence community to determine its national security value. Neither the CIA (news - web sites) nor the FBI (news - web sites) would comment on the grant, with a CIA spokeswoman citing the confidentiality of sources and methods.
Security officials know al-Qaida and other terrorist groups use the Internet for everything from propaganda to offering tips on kidnapping. But it's not clear if terrorists rely much on chat rooms for planning and coordination.
Michael Vatis, founding director of the National Infrastructure Protection Center and now a consultant, said he had heard of terrorists using chat rooms, which he said offer some security as long as code phrases are used. Other cybersecurity experts doubted chat rooms' usefulness to terrorists given the other current options, from Web mail to hiding messages on designated Web pages that can only be seen by those who know where to look.
"In a world in which you can embed your message in a pixel on a picture on a home page about tea cozies, I don't know whether if you're any better if you think chat would be any particular magnet," Jonathan Zittrain, an Internet scholar at Harvard Law School.
Since they are focusing on public chat rooms, authorities are not violating constitutional rights to privacy when they keep an eye on the traffic, experts said. Law enforcement agents have trolled chat rooms for years in search of pedophiles, sometimes adopting profiles making it look like they are young teens.
But the idea of the government reviewing massive amounts of public communications still raises some concerns.
Mark Rasch, a former head of the Justice Department (news - web sites)'s computer crimes unit, said such a system would bring the country one step closer to the Pentagon (news - web sites)'s much-maligned Terrorism Information Awareness program.
Research on that massive data-mining project was halted after an uproar over its impact on privacy.
"It's the ability to gather and analyze massive amounts of data that creates the privacy problem," Rasch said, "even though no individual bit of data is particularly private."
On the Net:
Berkman Center: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/home/
Pew project: http://www.pewinternet.org/
Electronic Privacy Information Center: http://www.epic.org/
10-12-2004, 01:31 AM #2
Get out now....
You should no longer be here....
I repeat, you should no longer be here....
But if you are, get out now.....
And, of course, adei39s f2B39 IDb4cq saetbiy 938ckD.J
10-12-2004, 02:51 AM #3
I saw an hour long show on such a subject about 10 years ago. It wasnt directed towards the internet so much but more towards phone conversations.
Its topic is more along the lines of an entity higher and more secretive than our own government. Kinda like area 51 if you believe in that.
The show had interviews of people who described a top secret network that had super computers 20 years ahead of todays curve. These super computers were able to monitor almost all of the nations phone conversations and weed out all possible terrorist communications.
If certain words were discussed (ie bomb president, assasinate, etc) the phone conversation was monitored more extensively and possibly red flag you for further surveliance.
People believe that this is NOW being done with internet communications. Super computers still 20 years ahead of todays suphisticated computers are able to surf through ALL new material placed on the web and weed out potential terrorist traffic, communications and activity.
I think it is a waste cause there are ways around such monitoring. Such as code words. IE: cake means bomb. visit means assasinate, rock means car, etc.
Although, they say the super computers can distingush non intelligable communication and monitors that as well.
If a conversation does not fit certain criteria such as making sense in normal speaking conversation, it would be filtered out and monitored.
Just because web sites are encrypted by todays standards and need passwords for the common user to gain access; dont shine on the idea that there are computers and programs being used that can get through those security measures like water through a screen door.
Their hard ware makes your 3.8 gig computer with 1gig of memory look like an 8 track player in the 70s.
10-14-2004, 03:04 AM #4Originally Posted by BigGreen
10-14-2004, 07:07 AM #5
if they want me come n get me.
10-14-2004, 10:49 AM #6
Thank you Patriot Act, and millions of Americans who fearful and dumb enough to support it!
I hope they recieved 100 million for this research. It sounds SO VERY important. I know that as an American it is my DUTY to have every aspect of my life under scrutiny and surveillence. And I can only hope one day they will find a reason to throw me in Jail. After all we are the only country in the world with Private Prison Stock traded on our public market, and though we account for a very small percentage of the world, we are home to 1/3 of the world's incarcirated! Constant surveillence and Prisons for Profit! Ah, freedom!
Last edited by rocco78; 10-14-2004 at 10:54 AM.
10-14-2004, 10:57 AM #7Originally Posted by rocco78
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