The Pentagon, in its usual dimwitted yet dangerous way, is mining social media to determine if citizens are angry at the state and thus, presumably, a threat. Let’s unpack this foolishness, shall we? NSA has been trying to do the same thing for years, slurping down every conceivable piece of data on us in hopes it can be used on a real-time basis to identity threats. So far they have failed miserably and have admitted that all their operations has not produced any actionable information that stopped terrorists. However, the genuinely dangerous thing here for citizens is the Pentagon assumes if you are angry at the government that you are a potential threat and must be investigated further. No matter if your anger may be justifiable, no, just being angry at the government means you are guilty of pre-crime, which means what Big Brother in the Pentagon wants it to mean.
US military contractors are mining social media to influence your ‘cognitive behavior’ when you get angry at the state.
In the US, an unknown number of police authorities are already piloting a software called ‘Beware’, which analyses people’s social media activity, property records, the records of friends, family or associates, among other data, to assign suspects a so-called “threat-score.”
That “threat-score” can then be used by police to pre-judge if a suspect is going to be dangerous, and to adapt their approach accordingly.
Given the police’s discriminatory track record with shootings of unarmed black people skyrocketing, the extent to which such ‘Minority Report’-style policing could backfire by justifying more discriminatory policing is alarming.
The real problem is such intrusive techniques, spying on the citizenry constantly, is useless for catching terrorists. But it keeps people in the Pentagon employed and defense contractors happy with big contracts, even as it essentially is security theater.
How, in other words, does the US intelligence community make sense of the massive amounts of surveillance data absorbed by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other agencies, with a view to detect a real threat?
The document confirms the longstanding position of critics of the NSA like Bruce Schneier, that although existing technologies are great for simplistic issues like detecting credit card fraud, they are virtually useless for detecting real terrorist activity.