(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

American Intelligence Agencies Get Their Own Top Secret Version Of Wikipedia

from the seems-like-a-good-idea dept

While the US military has been putting pressure on blogging soldiers to shut down their blogs, it appears that the government isn't completely against making use of social software where appropriate. Apparently, the U.S. intelligence community has been hard at work coming up with their own, internal, version of Wikipedia, dubbed Intellipedia. The idea is to get the various parts of the intelligence community to more easily collaborate and share this kind of information, rather than burying it silos. This seems like a perfectly reasonable use of the technology, and we're pretty sure it didn't cost the hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars that organizations like the FBI have thrown away on computer systems recently. The real question is whether or not people will really use it -- and the initial answer seems to be that they're off to a good start. 28,000 pages and 3,600 registered users in just seven months. While, obviously, we can't see how it's actually being used, it sounds like the type of basic, collaborative tool that should be available to the community.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    dorpus, Oct 31st, 2006 @ 7:30pm


    The intelligence community operates on a need-to-know basis, so really important information will not be on the wikipedia. Agencies have their own proprietary operating systems, not connected to the internet, with complex access procedures.

    This sort of "wikipedia" may really just be a false flag operation to misdirect wannabe hackers with knowledge they think they've hacked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    PhysicsGuy, Oct 31st, 2006 @ 7:43pm

    Re: Compartmentalization

    one of the problems the us intelligence agencies has been having is lack of communication between agencies on intelligence gathered. this could very well be valid...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, Oct 31st, 2006 @ 7:47pm


    Try as I might to find a sinister apocolyptic subtext to make a sarcastic and cynical cheap shot at, I can't. This is quite possibly an unqualified good thing. Assuming that

    1) It's true.
    2) The government don't shut it down once it starts yielding results.

    Come on Techdirt, we dont want to hear these kind of stories about technology making society better. Where's the abuse? Where's the clawing greed? Where's the opportunity to take the piss out of monkey Bush and his crazy religious fascist lackeys?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    MissingFrame, Oct 31st, 2006 @ 8:34pm

    err ... good idea?

    Yes, it's a pretty good use of a pretty good tool!

    Until it automatically gets updated by bots scanning all the emails ....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    cjmemay, Oct 31st, 2006 @ 10:34pm

    Why not Wikitel???

    Oh man. American Intelligence has finally caught up with the new millennium... Pretty soon it will be on myspace.
    oh wait.

    Leave it to the US Government to get naming something as simple as a wiki wrong.
    Instead of indicating this is a database of intel using the wiki format, they instead pull the suffix of wikipedia? (I know wikipedia is the same suffix as encyclopedia, but I am assuming these guys already have an encyclopedic intelligence system).

    Fer christ's.

    AND, @misanthropic humanist, whaddya mean you cant find anything sinister about this news? How about how different government agencies can share information about your activity twice as easily now.
    Orwellian news is always sinister.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    ArmySoldier, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 1:09am

    About the Blogs

    Good for them, but the statement about the government pressuring Army Bloggers to shut down isn't true. I am in the Army and have run my own blog for a while now. The only thing I had to do was alert my Chain of Command so that they can monitor it for security breaches, which is reasonable in our current state of war. I was never pressured or even frowned upon by my chain, in fact many actually encouraged it even if it was critical. Let's not jump to conclusions, but I love Techdirt and keep up the work!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    stupid swede, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 2:49am


    why do you always see americans flaming their government? like every chance they get.. you elected them so what's the problem? conspiracy my ass, x-file this! "the facts are out there!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    The infamous Joe, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 4:07am

    Re: government

    Well, Mr. Stupid Swede, the Americans you see flaming our gvernment are probably the same Americans that don't vote. That way, no matter who ends up being elected, they can complain that our government isn't made up of flawless demi-gods who know the effects of their every action and can see the future. No one wants a mortal man or woman to be a leader-- that could lead to all sorts of trouble!

    The truth of the matter is, our government DOES require something close to a renovation, but only because it's becoming a bit outdated, not because it's filled with evil people seeking only to keep poor, unpatritoic non-voters under wraps.

    The way I see it, my fellow Americans that feel that they could do such a better job should get off the computer and give it a shot. Who knows, maybe they're the person who will turn it all around for us, no?

    The best part, however, of all this is that they'll usually call our government inept and then, in the same breath, accuse them of masterminding conspiracies.

    Anyway, thanks for reading. Have a great day!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Bri, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 6:48am

    Re: government

    stupid swede, there is a mile of difference between voting, which I do every election, and electing someone. The people I vote for seldom get elected being the contrarian SOB I happen to be. The same applies to almost every other issue as well looking at the way I will be voting next Tuesday. That's okay. At least I did get a chance to register my protest which is far from the case in most of the other countries that I've visited on this planet and I've been to over a third of the planet.

    Back to the issue at hand. It wouldn't be hard to key access to the entries by ACL (Access Control Lists) so 'need to know' would apply and that is almost certainly what they are doing. There are already variant of Wikipedia that work exactly this way (ditto blogging software for that matter). If anything, the links to other articles that you happen to be restricted from by an ACL would tell you when you need to kick open another compartment which is something I've had to do many a time in the past but it was hard to determine at the time unless someone with access to that compartment happened to be working with me at the time. So, if they are doing it that way, it would be a huge net plus, IMNSHO.

    I wish them well. Almost anything would be an improvement over the way things have worked in the past. Heck, I would love to be involved in the project, if they ever offered.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 6:58am

    It can't possibly be of any useful intelligence info if ANYBODY can edit the information (at least, anybody within their circle). What? The pet next door wasn't a cat, but a dog? Or was it a ferret? And it ate a snake?!

    What kind of random articles will they possibly make...

    Must be some kind of uber-controlled wiki, with agents watching every single character that you type, before you even know you typed one! *shifty eyes*

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Prometheum, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 7:12am

    Re: government

    Well stupid swede, the thing about the american electoral system is that even if you vote, if you vote for the wrong candidate, all of your state's electoral votes goes to the winner, so you end up unrepresented. Its taken as a given that when us non-right-candidate-voters bitch about the government, we're also bitching about the fanatical christians voting against their wallets to stop gay people having status equal to them. Also, our government keeps taking away our first, fourth, and fifth amendment rights. We lost our tenth amendment rights a while ago, so no one really cares about that. We also have very limited habeus corpus now, and the president can move federal and national guard troops anywhere he wants inside the country to combat a "state of disorder". So soon it might not even matter if we voted, or how we voted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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