Secrecy News

DNI Report Details Data Mining Programs

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence provided an overview of U.S. intelligence data mining development programs in a new report to Congress (pdf).

Data mining is used by intelligence agencies to search through databases in order to discern patterns of activity that could indicate a threat to national security.

The new report presents brief descriptions of several data mining-related intelligence projects, some of which have previously been publicly identified and others that appear to be newly disclosed.

“The Video Analysis and Content Extraction (VACE) project seeks to automate what is now a very tedious, generally human-powered process of reviewing video for content that is potentially of intelligence value.”

“Reynard is a seedling effort to study the emerging phenomenon of social (particularly terrorist) dynamics in virtual worlds and large-scale online games and their implications for the Intelligence Community.”

“Because application of results from these research projects may ultimately have implications for privacy and civil liberties, IARPA [the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency] is also investing in projects that develop privacy protecting technologies,” the report stated.

The ODNI Report to Congress is unclassified, but was accompanied by a classified annex. See “Data Mining Report,” ODNI Report to Congress, February 15, 2008

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