Sunday, February 12, 2006

 

Big Brother

The United States government will stop at nothing in their Long War. Readers may not be familiar with this new term. It is the War formerly known as the War on Terror.

The Long War - not to be confused with Going Upriver - The Long War of John Kerry - is a propaganda term designed to echo "the Cold War," and the Pentagon intends to brainwash Americans into supporting a generation-long struggle that could lay the groundwork for an American hegemony in the 21st century.

The United States government, in order to ensure compliance, is developing a massive computer system that can collect large amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and e-mail to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity.

The system - parts of which are operational, parts of which are still under development - is already credited with helping to foil some plots. It is the federal government's latest attempt to use broad data collection and powerful analysis in the fight against terrorism.

The core of this effort is a little-known system called ADVISE - Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight and Semantic Enhancement. ADVISE is a research and development program within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, part of its three-year-old Threat and Vulnerability, Testing and Assessment program. The program received nearly $50 million in federal funding this year.

A major part of ADVISE involves data mining - or "dataveillance," as some call it. It means sifting through data to look for patterns.

In non-science speak: Every time you visit a website, you leave a mark. Those marks will then be connected and, if necessary, followed by the government.

Read full story.

Oddly, aljazeera.com ran the story. Yes, I visit the site and now the Pentagon can know.

Comments:
It is hard to say anything original about this topic, but still it is one that deserves a lot of discussion. I could start with the disturbing aspects to this data monitoring, but instead, I will focus on how misguided this effort may be.

The American Government seems to take terrorist activity as a given, that must be stopped. Very little thought seems to be given into what are the causes of terrorism and whether those causes can be stopped. But of course this is the harder subject to tackle. It looks at questions like how democracy should be promoted (and hopefully with genuine concern for democracy) and addressing Arab poverty. Little discussion is given to the staggering levels of unemployment in most Arab countries and that a large number of projections have the Arab world being only slighly better off than sub-saharan African within ten years.
 
Aljazeera.com is unrelated to the satellite TV channel Al Jazeera,
which operates websites in both Arabic ( www.aljazeera.net ) and English english.aljazeera.net (i.e. Aljazeera TV sites are hosted at .NET not .COM). The people who own Aljazeera.com have no connections to aljazeera TV channel.

For more info, have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aljazeera.com
 
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