Print 22 comment(s) - last by senbassador.. on Sep 9 at 12:31 AM

The U.S. intelligence community now has their very own social networking web site

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.

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why both copying the name?
By TomCorelis on 9/6/2008 2:47:48 PM , Rating: 5
MasterCard? Seriously?

RE: why both copying the name?
By cherrycoke on 9/6/2008 3:31:31 PM , Rating: 5
For everything else there's MasterCard.

... I guess that includes website behavior pattern recognition.

RE: why both copying the name?
By daniyarm on 9/8/2008 10:59:43 AM , Rating: 2
Why not MasterCard?! If they wrote software that can track human credit card behavior, it's probably easy to modify to track other kinds of human behavior. I wonder if the government actually paid for it.

Spies Like Us
By DXRick on 9/6/2008 2:51:15 PM , Rating: 5
Sounds like a major upgrade from the cone of silence . It will take hackers hours (or even days) to hack into it.

RE: Spies Like Us
By cherrycoke on 9/6/2008 4:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
I think the picture should show Steve yelling at the top of his lungs in the cone. I love that part.

RE: Spies Like Us
By Googer on 9/7/2008 2:05:54 AM , Rating: 2
It's a bad idea to put all your eggs in to one easily hackable electronic basket.

RE: Spies Like Us
By jtemplin on 9/7/2008 11:49:15 PM , Rating: 2
"And turning to the 3-D map, we see an unmistakable cone of ignorance."

Big Brother
By wvh on 9/6/2008 8:36:05 PM , Rating: 3
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.

If there's one place I would never think aloud, it's a government owned and controlled website – even if I'd be working for them.

Open your mouth a bit too much and you could soon find yourself either in a shitty dead-end office job for the rest of your life, or without backup in a very nasty situation.

There are enough authoritarian and/or political types involved that such is a given.

RE: Big Brother
By RIPPolaris on 9/6/2008 8:50:12 PM , Rating: 2
Dude.. its purpose is to share work-related information. It's not a place to 'think aloud'.

RE: Big Brother
By BarkHumbug on 9/8/2008 4:04:36 AM , Rating: 2
It's not a place to 'think aloud'.

I didn't know thinking was allowed in government jobs... ;)

C'mon folks... it's a decoy.
By BigMTBrain on 9/7/2008 3:33:09 AM , Rating: 5
Do you really think they're that dumb. Well, um, don't answer that.

But really,

a) what better way to set a POTENTIAL trap and secretly track those who try to track them?

b) what better way to feed bogus information or to feign ignorance or misguidedness when it comes to the affairs of those they are tracking, all the while making information deposited there look so so legit and serious?

c) what better way to keep attention away from the REAL A-Space whose existence might've already been leaked? What do you do? You make people believe that that one over there, yes, that one over there, the one that they are announcing/acknowledging, is the real deal and you let supposed top-secret access information fall into the hands of those they wish to track. All other hackers not using those deliberately leaked access codes will be ignored.

RE: C'mon folks... it's a decoy.
By SiN on 9/7/2008 6:13:55 AM , Rating: 2
go back to sleep!

Vampires vs Zombies
By cherrycoke on 9/6/2008 3:29:46 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder which department will have the highest level vampires, or the hisghest score of "The Office" group trivia.

RE: Vampires vs Zombies
By daniyarm on 9/8/2008 10:56:48 AM , Rating: 2
This one is easy, NSA of course. They might even build a secret room and run all the cables through it just so they can monitor everybody else without sys admins knowing it.

A nightmare
By foolsgambit11 on 9/6/2008 3:12:59 PM , Rating: 3
This system has got to be a nightmare. The article didn't make clear if it's going to be on a classified or unclassified network, but I'll assume classified because NIPRNet would be practically useless for exchanging details of enemy movements and the like, so we should assume it's on SIPRNet or even JWICS. Or even a specialized network. But still we have to worry about theater of operations, and need to know. Then we have to worry about whether people with SCI information are making reference to intelligence unavailable at the classification level of the network. And somebody has to try to moderate all of this activity.

I agree, it's good to have a place where people who should be talking can talk and hash things out without worrying about report formats and formalities. But I'm not sure the social networking site model is optimal - I'd think forums would be easier to moderate, and to control access to threads based on a need to know.

RE: Spies Like Us
By Simgamer on 9/7/2008 10:47:45 AM , Rating: 3
Very curious that Intelligence officers would actually implement a system like this. Sounds like dis-information, or a deliberate trap.

By SiliconAddict on 9/7/2008 7:37:00 PM , Rating: 3
OMG! So yesterday I was on the Iraq\Iran border when my contact in Iran met in in the Qallaji region. We talked shop for a bit but then he presented me with something for my wife. I have NO idea how he knew it was her birthday next week but he got her a Hijab. I was like WTF...then whoa. Because we don't subscribe to such things. But was I supost to offend him and kill my relationship with my contact over this? Hell no. So I took it. I did give it ti sarah. She got a kick out of it, and is keeping it but she'll be damned if she'll wear it.
Anyways I have a briefing with my handler in 20 so I really need to get going. Later. And as always you tell anyone about this I'll kill you.

CUDA Vs. MasterCard
By albundy2 on 9/6/2008 4:33:37 PM , Rating: 2
So how long before this get's hacked?

By Oralen on 9/7/2008 1:07:11 PM , Rating: 2
Imagine a conversation, spy-troll versus spy-troll:

- "Dude, we should totally bomb afganistan, and the rest of south america. That continent is ours!"

- "Afganistan is not in south america, you moron"

- "What are you a communist? Shut-up, you a**hole!"

- "Yeah! US of A rules ! Let's nuke the taliban bastards out of Brasil!"

America, F*ck yeah...


Re: Spies like us
By sethofdeath on 9/8/2008 12:48:53 AM , Rating: 2
do you think they will have their own sort of "tom"?...

By andylawcc on 9/8/2008 4:39:37 AM , Rating: 2
... the a-space page is under your My Favorite folder.

so how long
By senbassador on 9/9/2008 12:31:41 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder how long before their discussions will turn into big flame wars between the departments.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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