Watching this video and reading the post on ATS that basically transcribes it into a textual format made me interested in how people actually took
this news and the level of paranoia that it generates. The thing that gets me is that, while a lot of responses dismiss the claims of this video by
playing ostrich or simply not caring, no one has offered a counter-argument. Having done some study and personal reading in the areas discussed, I
thought I would at least attempt to provide what I see as an alternvative explanation.
I see the links decribed as an extrapolation of the "revolving-door" relationship between government and enterprise. I will assume that most people
reading this post understand to what I refer in this case. The ex-military is a teeming recruitment pool for Blackwater and other private security and
CPP firms and on the top of the tree executives become bureaucrats and vice versa - Cheny, Carlyle, ad nauseum. The process happens throughout the
Global North, not just in the US, although I will admit it seems that the movement back and forth is a much more publicised occurrence in the States,
whereas in other countries it tends to be exit from civil serivce leads to employment in private enterprise in a related field. An extreme example of
this is Police Officers in Japan retiring to jobs in private security for firms which are reputedly the fronts of the Yakuza. (For reference see
Kattoulas, Far Eastern Economic Review
, 17 Jan 2002)
I would argue that intellectual property and products and/or services that result from government contract or run concurrently with such contracts
enjoy a similar living space. The public access to Facebook may be the sibling of technology developed for the intelligence community in the form of
A-Space, a beta test that has outgrown its original purpose, or a knowing attempt to use a technology for commercial benefit as well as providing the
Mike McConnell (then DNI)talked about the need to bring the US intelligence community together after 9/11 gave the country a wake-up call. As well as
noting that the centralisation of administration was a necessary step, he argues that greater collaboration was necessary to improve the overall
effectiveness of the apparatus. The information sharing ability of social networking users is highlighted in
Hart and Simon
, who also share conclusions with McConnell regarding other problem
areas facing the community. It is, however, the data mining capabilities of the facebook application that are perfect when you consider McConnell's
statement that 'The U.S. intelligence community also needs to know where collection gaps
exist, where it needs greater specific intelligence, and on what areas it is overly focused.'
Other applications such as
also have their roots in Web 2.0 dynamic content.
So from the other side of the coin, perhaps In-Q-Tel's product has been put to commerical use providing the piggies with another trough to put their
snouts in, perhaps its being used as a pseudo-overt revenue source for the intelligence community, or maybe it really is some massive surveillance
operation masked as an exciting, dynamic and benign communication tool. Perhaps, and I wouldn't be surprised if, it is all three. As many other
people have pointed out in copious posts, the national security apparatus have many, many avenues, both overt and covert, for forming demographic
databases and for surveillance of those of interest to them. Facebook is just another potential source. How do ATS members feel about "government
acces to keys" as Bruce Schneier puts it, or subliminal channels in cryptography for the benefit of the NSA against foreign targets? I look forward
to responses and hope to be debunked thoroughly. Most of this is conjecture!