It's not uncommon to find that people at work are not allowed to use social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook on company hours, but several U.S. government agencies are promoting the use a new social networking site. Employees of the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency, however, will have access to A-Space, a new social networking site available for people who work at all 16 intelligence organizations.
Rather than post thoughts on latest celebrities or personal rants that are typically found on MySpace, A-Space would be used so analysts could privately discuss enemy movement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"It's every bit Facebook and YouTube for spies, but it's much, much more," said Michigan Wertheimer, who serves as assistant deputy director of national intelligence for analysis. "It's a place where not only spies can meet but share data they've never been able to share before. This is going to give them for the first time a chance to think out loud, think in public amongst their peers, under the protection of an A-Space umbrella."
Only users with a proper security clearance and a legitimate reason to be looking through the database will have access to A-Space. Government officials did not go into specific detail on how the network will be protected, but did describe a "mechanism" able to alert network administrators of any suspicious behavior. The new technology, called MasterCard, will track users' behaviors and will send out alerts any time the person strays away from their regular A-Space pattern.
Communication between multiple intelligence agencies commonly is a complicated process where it can be difficult to share basic information -- A-Space will hopefully make the process a bit smoother so enemy troop movements and satellite images or videos can be shared quickly and securely.
The site has been tested for a few months now and will officially launch on September 22.
quote: This is going to give them for the first time a chance to think out loud, think in public amongst their peers, under the protection of an A-Space umbrella.
quote: It's not a place to 'think aloud'.