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iPad app access for US secret surveillance cloud system

1990s: UNIX. 2000s: Windows. 2010s: Fondle-slab

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Latest news on the iPad front: an app has been developed for the costly, much-hyped fondle-slab allowing users to access top-secret video and imagery from petabyte-scale databases holding the harvest from the USA's huge clandestine surveillance apparatus.

This we hear from global arms and aerospace behemoth Boeing, which has announced that the spook-portal app - if not, perhaps, very much of the associated content - will be on public show at a symposium in New Orleans this week. The giant company says that its Datamaster Lite "situational-awareness" software is for "military and civilian users of the latest portable devices, including the iPad".

In this context, situational awareness doesn't mean a fighter pilot's ability to remember where all the planes in a dogfight are (perhaps one of the first applications for the buzz phrase). In modern-day defence jargon "situational awareness" usually refers to a sort of Google Maps mashup style of intelligence analysis, for instance pulling together video and pics showing recent activity in a village or insurgent base targeted for a special-forces operation or similar.

"This new application adds a better level of situational awareness to our customers' most critical missions," says Boeing spyware exec Dewey Houck. "With its ability to quickly search for and retrieve critical information, DataMaster Lite gives intelligence analysts access to timely, relevant geospatial information that, in turn, provides a foundation for situational awareness."

Along with the Lite mobile apps, Boeing are touting the DataMaster 5.0 cloudware, which offers "(web-based) applications and supports the common querying and secure sharing of large datasets, including video, imagery and maps".

DataMaster uses the National Imagery Transmission Format Standard, a standard developed for sharing imagery among the US intelligence community dating from the 1980s. Boeing acquired the suite when it purchased veteran geospatial-intel specialist Autometric in 2000.

The DataMaster software was originally developed for use by UNIX workstations. In 2002 the capability was added to access it via Windows machines.

The spooky Boeing Datamaster Lite app is not available on the App Store, but similarly-named, unrelated personal-data 'wares are. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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