Feeds

US pokes intelligence agencies into Web 2.0 overhaul

Facespook? Spyspace?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The US intelligence community plans to introduce an information-sharing portal for spies modelled on the operations of well-known parasite advertising operations MySpace and Facebook.

The spook web forum, however, will be taxpayer-supported rather than ad-based, and instead of lists of favourite boy bands it will presumably feature favourite terrorists, cells, doomsday plots, secret weapons, mysterious femme fatales, agents of malign foreign powers, martini recipes, and so forth.

According to a report in the Financial Times, the scheme has been dubbed "A-Space" and is the brainchild of Thomas Fingar, deputy director of US national intelligence for analysis. One of his officials from the office of the director, Mike Wertheimer, is running with it.

"I am unable to send email, and even make secure phone calls, to a good portion of the Intel community from my desktop because of firewalls," said Wertheimer. He finds that efforts to share information between the thousands of analysts working in the many American spook agencies tend to be frustrated by worries about blowing agents' covers and similar concerns.

"The risk for people under cover... is drawn out so starkly, even though it is speculative, that they tend to carry the day."

Wertheimer seems to argue that such concerns led to poor liaison in the run up to 9/11, and so contributed to the definite loss of thousands of innocent American lives - as opposed to the possible loss of an unknown (but presumably small) number of foreign traitors working for America, or perhaps the diplomatic expulsion of their US handlers.

"We are willing to experiment in ways that we have never experimented before," he says.

"It breaks a lot of traditional senses that people's lives are at risk, and how can you take any step that increases that risk."

It appears that the US would like certain unnamed foreign agencies to log on to A-Space, along with the American spook community. These would probably be the British security and secret-intelligence services (aka MI5 and MI6) and the Australian ASIO plus the Canadians and maybe the New Zealanders - the traditional, long-established Anglophone spying axis.

But apparently the Brits et al aren't too keen.

"I would say in the entire community, the folks most virulently against sharing the information are the foreign partners," says Mr Wertheimer.

Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, has apparently invited the chief executives of Facebook and MySpace to a conference at which the A-Space plans will be discussed. However, Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook is just too busy to do his bit for world security.

A Facebook spokeswoman, according to the FT report, said the decision was purely because of scheduling conflicts. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?