The NSA Reads Your Myspace profile, apparently

My god, if the American spooks ever get wise to me, I’ll be off to Gitmo before you can say “Donald Rumsfeld”!

“… far from alone in noticing that fast-growing social networking websites such as MySpace and Friendster are a snoop’s dream. New Scientist has discovered that Pentagon’s National Security Agency, which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks. And it could harness advances in internet technology – specifically the forthcoming “semantic web” championed by the web standards organisation W3C – to combine data from social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals.”

“Meanwhile, the NSA is pursuing its plans to tap the web, since phone logs have limited scope. They can only be used to build a very basic picture of someone’s contact network, a process sometimes called “connecting the dots”. Clusters of people in highly connected groups become apparent, as do people with few connections who appear to be the intermediaries between such groups. The idea is to see by how many links or “degrees” separate people from, say, a member of a blacklisted organisation.”

“By adding online social networking data to its phone analyses, the NSA could connect people at deeper levels, through shared activities, such as taking flying lessons. Typically, online social networking sites ask members to enter details of their immediate and extended circles of friends, whose blogs they might follow. People often list other facets of their personality including political, sexual, entertainment, media and sporting preferences too. Some go much further, and a few have lost their jobs by publicly describing drinking and drug-taking exploits. Young people have even been barred from the orthodox religious colleges that they are enrolled in for revealing online that they are gay.”

New Scientist: Pentagon sets its sights on social networking websites »
Me on myspace »

Chief Bottle Washer at Blather
Writer, photographer, environmental campaigner and "known troublemaker" Dave Walsh is the founder of, described both as "possibly the most arrogant and depraved website to be found either side of the majestic Shannon River", and "the nicest website circulating in Ireland". Half Irishman, half-bicycle. He lives in southern Irish city of Barcelona.


  1. One way of judging a good employer is by looking at how much they wish to pry into their employees business. Jobseekers should find this new procedure useful. If an employer is unduly paranoid and expresses it by following employees around the web, it is best to look elsewhere for work.
    The web is great, I find. An exceptionally good way to educate oneself and make contact with interesting posters.
    Thanks for a really good link.

  2. shite, no wonder the Homelands chappies keep eyeing me suspiciously and asking what i think about bicycles, cod and the quare colour of lahinch sunsets.
    *burns the ip logs and puts at least 7 degrees of seperation between myself and daev wlash, known troublemaker*

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