program hunts those that ‘embarrass’ its generals – Intercept

26 program hunts those that ‘embarrass’ its generals – Intercept

A brand new system is able to pinpointing the ‘actual location’ of anybody who might trigger reputational injury to its fees

A secretive division of the Pentagon is now tasked with defending its high-ranking officers not solely from assassination and different bodily hurt, but in addition from unfavourable portrayals on social media, in accordance with a procurement doc obtained by The Intercept and printed on Saturday.

Whereas army data formally state the US Military Protecting Providers Battalion protects its fees from “assassination, kidnapping, harm or embarrassment,” this now contains monitoring social media for “direct, oblique, and veiled” threats, in addition to figuring out “unfavourable sentiment” about people like Joint Chiefs of Employees Normal Mark Milley, in accordance with the doc, which is dated September.

The doc describes this system as “a dependable social media risk mitigation service” with an “Open-Supply Internet primarily based tool-kit with superior capabilities to gather publicly obtainable info (PAI).” Past the info slurped up from Twitter’s “firehose,” 4Chan, Reddit, YouTube, VK, Discord, Telegram, and the like, “PAI” additionally features a wealth of commercially acquired info from surveillance corporations and personal contractors like Dataminr, different knowledge brokers, and unscrupulous smartphone apps and advertisers.

All this might be apparently mixed with geo-fencing capabilities and precise mobile location knowledge, permitting for near-exact pinpointing of the placement of the supposedly “signal-rich discussions from elicit threat-actor communities” – holding in thoughts that the “threats” mentioned within the procurement doc doubtlessly embrace unkind tweets about present and retired generals. 

Everything of this info hoard – together with CCTV feeds, radio stations, private data, even people’ webcams – could be accessible by way of a “common search selector,” in accordance with the doc.

The doc specified the necessity for a two-way stream, requiring the contractor to take care of “the anonymity and safety wanted to conduct publicly accessible info analysis by way of misattribution” by “utilizing numerous egress factors globally to masks their identification.” The contract was given to SEWP Options LLC, described as the one firm able to “tunnel[ing] into particular nations/cities like Moscow, Russia or Beijing, China and are available out on a bunch nation web area.

The procurement doc specifies that it doesn’t need the Pentagon promoting its curiosity in wholesale violating the web and doubtlessly even bodily privateness of these it deems threats to the repute of generals retired and present. It’s stamped “Managed Unclassified Info”/FEDCON, that means it’s not meant to be seen by these exterior the federal authorities and contractor system.

The revelation that also extra intrusive powers are being sought by the nationwide safety state has outraged privateness advocates. “Expressing ‘optimistic or unfavourable sentiment in direction of a senior high-risk particular person’ can’t be deemed enough grounds for presidency businesses to conduct surveillance operations, even going so far as ‘pinpointing the precise areas’ of people,” Ilia Siatitsa of Privateness Worldwide advised The Intercept. 

The flexibility to specific opinions, criticize, make assumptions, or type worth judgments – particularly relating to public officers – is a quintessential a part of democratic society.

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