Would That Be Citizen Spies Or User Generated Espionage?

from the just-wondering dept

A little over a month ago, we wrote about the project by various US intelligence agencies to create their own, internal version of Wikipedia called Intellipedia, where various people within those agencies could better share info. Clive Thompson has a long, but fascinating, article in the New York Times Magazine that takes a much closer look at the project and some related projects. Apparently, the Intellipedia project is doing well, though many are still skeptical about it. It’s a worthwhile read. However, Chris Anderson makes an interesting point where he wonders why the article doesn’t take into the next level, bringing in a “transparent society” type of world. Anderson’s point is that the existing attempt to “2.0” the intelligence community is still very much focused just on people inside the intelligence community (which is the way they like it). However, so much valuable information out there may be in the heads of random folks who are totally unconnected to the community. Obviously, the risk of opening up a system to more information could make it much harder to find the good information, but if you could set up a system that helps highlight the valuable intelligence data, it could be quite interesting and valuable. While the intelligence community may not like to admit it, tapping into the wisdom and knowledge of people outside their community (within reason) has tremendous potential benefits in being able to better spot and respond to issue quickly.

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Comments on “Would That Be Citizen Spies Or User Generated Espionage?”

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PhysicsGuy says:

tapping into the wisdom and knowledge of people outside their community (within reason) has tremendous potential benefits in being able to better spot and respond to issue quickly.

not a chance. well, let me be more specific. yes, i’m sure there is plenty of intelligence information from citizens that the intelligence agencies could use. however, such information would need to have a more in depth verification process, this leads to time consumption following up “leads” within such a system. while benefits would arise, such a system would be ideal for every teenager to abuse thus causing false leads to be pursued and time lost detracting from the overall effectiveness of such a system. as it stands, having a closed system that is only available to those within the intelligence community, you have, to a certain degree, information which need not be verified to the same depth as information provided by anonymous joe.

Anonymous Coward says:

I hope it’s more effective…

Terrible analogy. The easy political response is, “we haven’t had a major terrorist incident involving commercial aircraft since the lists have been implemented so it is obviously working at a minimum of convenience to John Q taxpayer.”

I generally agree with your perspective but I’m not sure you arrived at it with much in-depth thought.

|333173|3|_||3 says:


If you read the link, you will see that they are thinking of thier own, internal, wikipedia (in fact 3, one for each of three levels of classification). WHat would improve the idea is if each user worked on a single system, and then marked each paragraph with the correct level of classification. HTen, if you do not have the required classification, it simply shows a message at the top of the article saying to ask for special access. Each user could have thier level of clearance linked to thier employee file, and a list of topics for which they have extra access (an exception list).
They would not have vandalism/trolls since all users are posting under thier real name, and you do not want to get the reputation of being a retard at work. Still, there is the problem of excess noise, especially the bit about the nuclear explosion (Sum of All Fears, Tom Clancy, is about this, it sounds like someoine read the book, reailsed that the Sovs lost a whole load of military hardware and would never have told anyone about it, and wondered if the fundies had goteen hold of a tactiacal nuke [there are some of similar desctuctive force to the Hroshima/Nagasaki bombs which were designed to be fired on the battlefield])

Anonymous Coward says:

They should hire google to do it, they could have google analyze every blog post and website to determine terrorist threats, then dispatch the FBI to ship them to Gitmo.

But seriously, opening this up to the public would be a bad idea ™. Misinformation in wikipedia doesn’t really bother me that much, but misinformation causing the FBI to monitor me (or kick down my door) does.

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