Gina couldn't be trusted.......
The NSA has been using software to convert intercepted phone calls into transcripts stored in searchable databases, it is claimed. It is also entirely believable: Dragon Dictate isn't exactly top secret, is it? Documents leaked by Edward Snowden and published by The Intercept on Tuesday show that Uncle Sam's spies, and their …
Go raibh maith agat Micheal. Ta se an dia go deas.
While we are on the subject. Wasn't there another famous Operation Reinhart or Reinhardt as spelling varies? I believe it was the termination with extreme prejudice of large amounts of civilians of the Jewish faith by nasty men in lederhosen.
Personally, I can't see GCHQ having to worry much about interpreting sexual innuendo when eavesdropping on conversations between the ultra-religious, bomb-happy bores of Islamic State or Al-Qaeda.
But on the other hand, if "I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue" is deemed a threat to national security, then yes, we may be in a spot of bother if we just leave the GCHQ mainframe to get on with monitoring it.
'Today the police issued a warrant for a suspected terrorist who goes by the code name of "Samantha". They are also looking for her handler.'
She is believed to be somewhere in North Wales. The capture plan is that after they have picked her up, they are going to Bangor in the van.
Sorry, best I could do at short notice. And you're not really surprised at the anon.
According to some studies, that "ultra-religious" is only certain ones at the top. The rest are just guys (mostly) who are bomb happy. So sexual innuendo will still a problem. It's not all that it appears over there... remember Bin Laden's supposed porn stash? It could be a problem then.....
Content recognition, and contextual/cultural analysis is extremely difficult for a computer to do on its own. Sometimes you really have to have someone fluent or from the culture in question to pick up on what's really being said.
But shifting all of the translation and some analysis work to a computer, even if it was possible (which it isn't, at least not yet) would be a nightmare for everyone involved. It'd just add another layer of Male Bovine Feces to work through but one that's completely unresponsive. I can tell you with near 100% certainty that it would also seriously piss off the voice and non-voice collectors who are hanging their asses out in some very hot places a lot of times to get the linguists and analysts their product. You have to be able to talk to the analysts if they or you have questions, and you can't do that with some dumb-ass computer. And I can see that kind of extra bullshit getting people killed.
"Imagine programming a machine to scan El Reg forums for keywords, and trying to interpret correctly all of the innuendo, double meanings, etc"
The biggest problem is the volume of data that they have and mining it successfully. The more they collect the less efficient the algorithms become to the point where data analysts are swamped with referrals to grease guns,over the counter drugs, explosive situations etc.
Add to that the fact that linguistic exegesis is a difficult thing for example one man's irony could be another man's deadly serious answer, and the fact that a gnu might be an animal or might be a typo of a thing that goes bang whereby context to the word is needed. There are so many potential variations my head is starting to hurt.
They are slurping more data than they can handle and also investing more money in technical solutions at the expense of analysts. The flip side of this coin is that they need more analysts to sift through the data as the Mk1 human eyeball will never be replaced by technology.
Re: "near-infinite budget" NSA funded 8 FTEs at an average grade of about GS-12, and an unknown number of contractor personnel (probably in the neighborhood of 15 to no more than 20), with a total expenditure of uncer $30 million per year. That is to say, it was a fairly small program for a major DoD agency. That probably was R&D only, and evidently did not include any significant equipment purchase for deployment.
I'm pretty sure that the Army at least is still taking anyone who can qualify for at least 35S, 35P, 35N, 35F, 35G, 350F, 350G, 351L, 351M, 352N, 352S, 353T, 35A on the commissioned officer side and 09L.
Then again, spaces change around day to day. One day an Enlisted or Warrant MOS or commissioned officer Career Management Field will be open, the next it ain't. Its a hell of alot more flexible on the Enlisted side than for either type of Officers, but there simply aren't as many spaces for Warrant Officers that ain't flying a helicopter and Commissioned Officers as there are for Enlistedmen.
Knowing the Army, I would seriously doubt that the two Military Intelligence brigades at Fort Meade aren't using all the personnel spaces that they can possibly get from HRC. Two brigades is quite alot of people really. I also seriously doubt a computer program's being substituted for a linguist and analyst going over it.
Black helicopter because it looks like a
Kiowa misshapen blackhawk.
Who's to say that El Reg isn't an Open Steganographic Source XSSXXXXXchange for Spooks APTly ACTivated and SMARTR Enabling in the Fields of Virtual Reality and Future Orderly ProgramMING.
And yes, revolutions nowadays are always televisualised, and produced and directed off screen and online against the buffers of mainstream. And IT makes for Great IntelAIgent Game Edutainment too.
AIMMORPG Rules with Causes and Courses for Humanity ‽ Yeah, of course it and IT does. That's a real no-brainer, for sure.
Pashtun (Pashto? Where did you get that?) is at least semi-tonal and extremely heavily contextual, even more so than Arabic. I tried to learn it but ended up relying on our local translators* as accents change wildly from village to village. You're looking at an insane amount of false positives from any software "solution" to this unless it's absolutely supergenius-level software and frankly, I have my doubts about that.
Not many trained military translators write software. I know this because I'm one of the not many and I know none of my colleagues are up to this task and neither am I.
(* Who, by the way, have been treated appallingly by the Army and HMG. Automatic citizenship for a year's tour would be fair. What we do to those people and their families is barbaric).
Pashtun (Pashto? Where did you get that?) is at least semi-tonal and extremely heavily contextual, even more so than Arabic. I tried to learn it but ended up relying on our local translators* as accents change wildly from village to village. You're looking at an insane amount of false positives from any software "solution" to this unless it's absolutely supergenius-level software and frankly, I have my doubts about that."
<snip a lot I agree with>
In Afghanistan the languages or range of dialects are very interesting as they tend to be concentrated in tribal pools due to the lack of travel and intermarriage. I speak 6 or 7 languages and I find it fascinating that cultural and ethnicity can predispose us to ways of thinking and behaving. Translating a text as opposed to properly interpreting and presenting it is very difficult indeed. We even have problems effectively translating strains of English from one version to the other.
Add argot, slang, street talk, common interpretations of a word that technically means something else and you have a veritable mine fieldl Try explaining to an Afghan why the term tosser can be both pejorative and proper at the same time or that the term fanny can be a name, a front bottom or a back bottom etc.
The list is endless and a joy to contemplate and peruse.
"In a 2006 memo, the NSA said: "We are entering a golden age for Human Language Technology (HLT). Powerful and inexpensive computers, high-speed networking, and advanced algorithms are being combined to revolutionize the analyst desktop." The resultant software was the equivalent of "Google for Voice," the memo boasts, saying one system could process "one million cuts a day." -
Its wonderful being a patsy of this crowd... Are they working on eliminating the orgasm too?
That was a valid observation which doesn't shine a bright light on the workings of services charging for intelligence supply.They need to up their game quite considerably, methinks.
Can you imagine the terror made easily available, and most probably already fully recognised as being an unbeatable devastating concern by parties, for launching against the politically incorrect and inept in support of corrupt and perverse SCADA Systems with control laundered through fiat banking organisations, if special forces and secret secure intelligence services and servers got their Sublime InterNetworking ACT and APT Apps working together in defence and provision of Live Operational Virtual Environment Fields for CyberIntelAIgent Realm Rule and Reign‽
However, one man’s terror because of their discovered and uncovered errors though is another man’s pleasure to enjoy and exploit towards eradication.
It is hard to not conclude that the current executive heads of that which are presumed to be able to do such things for the good of the nation and all, are not well enough intellectually equipped to presently supply such necessary future leadership, given the compounding evidence which media mainlines in the mainstream to subjects/objects.
But don't real people use code words instead of 'bomb', 'president', 'roadside', 'cell', 'payment' etc?
The USA and its friends repeatedly tortured Mohamedou Ould Slahi (still in Gitmo) and they tried to get him to explain what he meant by 'tea' in a recorded phonecall. That he may really just have been talking about tea never seems to have occurred to them.
"But don't real people use code words instead of 'bomb', 'president', 'roadside', 'cell', 'payment' etc?"
Or steg pgp encrypted text into the picture of a kitty and post it on Facebook, Pinterest at al.
It would be an interesting exercise to actually do this to see what happens. One might find out if the NSA/GCHQ spend time and resource running kitty pics through statistical analysis. I would imagine that for known suspects they would run every media file sent/posted to the web through steg detection tools.
After reading the Intercept article and all of the documents referenced at the end I conclude that we should not be surprised, that the program as hyped in the documents from ~2006 may not have met its objectives all that well. GCHQ's commentary from ~2009 suggests that it was not a stunning success at that time, and the budget of 8 government employees with an average grade of GS-12 (mid-level technical/managerial) and a total annual budget of < $30 million over the period from 2011 - 2013 suggests an ongoing moderate size research undertaking, not a major operational program to suck in all the world's voice and text traffic, analyze it, and search it automatically to identify the unruly among us for further watching and correction..
This Intercept article, like most of them dealing with signals intelligence agencies, has a great deal of innuendo and statements about potential for misuse and nothing in the way of evidence that the spies are doing anything other with the technology, whatever its state and degree of deployment, than what we should expect of them. It certainly is possible that the technology described, if developed to a degree of operational effectiveness that the documents presented fail rather badly to support, could be used against us, but in democratic regimes like those of the US, UK, other Five Eyes, and most European countries, the evidence for that risk is between nonexistent and small.
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