Tag Archive | National Security

Is Social Media a Cybersecurity Gamechanger?

February 27, 2013

The Commons Lab just released a new policy memo analyzing the increased potential of social media to exacerbate conflict situations and create cybersecurity threats – a potential “gamechanger” as the United States seeks to ramp up its cybersecurity efforts. The brief is the first in the program’s Policy Memo Series. Author: Dr. Rebecca Goolsby.

Summary: Social media is responsible for much positive change in the world. But these new tools can be used by bad actors to foment strife and undermine stability, as seen during violent incidents in the Assam state of northeast India in July 2012. Cybersecurity efforts must take into account the growing potential for cyber-attack using social media, where hoax messages are incorporated into a stream of otherwise legitimate messages, and understand how quickly mobile apps and text services can disseminate false information. Authorities and volunteers must develop a healthy skepticism about information derived from these systems and new research and tools are needed to facilitate the self-policing of social media.

To download a copy of the report On Cybersecurity, Crowdsourcing, and Social Cyber-Attack (PDF), go to the Commons Lab Reports Collection on Scribd.

via Is Social Media a Cybersecurity Gamechanger? | Commons Lab.

Next generation Total Information Awareness? Software tracks people’s movements and behavior with social media

Software that tracks people on social media created by defence firm, by Ryan Gallagher, The Guardian, Feb 10, 2013

A multinational security firm has secretly developed software [named RIOT, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology] capable of tracking people’s movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites. A video obtained by the Guardian reveals how an “extreme-scale analytics” system created by Raytheon, the world’s fifth largest defence contractor, can gather vast amounts of information about people from websites including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. …But the Massachusetts-based company has acknowledged the technology was shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing “trillions of entities” from cyberspace. ….

For full text of the article, visit Software that tracks people on social media created by defence firm | World news | The Guardian.


New NRC Report: Future U.S. Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence

Mapping Sciences Committee, National Research Council Preview Report Release, Jan 2013

Committee on the Future U.S. Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence; Board on Earth Sciences and Resources; Board on Higher Education and Workforce; Division on Earth and Life Studies; National Research Council

Abstract: We live in a changing world with multiple and evolving threats to national security, including terrorism, asymmetrical warfare (conflicts between agents with different military powers or tactics), and social unrest. Visually depicting and assessing these threats using imagery and other geographically-referenced information is the mission of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). As the nature of the threat evolves, so do the tools, knowledge, and skills needed to respond. The challenge for NGA is to maintain a workforce that can deal with evolving threats to national security, ongoing scientific and technological advances, and changing skills and expectations of workers.

Future U.S. Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence assesses the supply of expertise in 10 geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) fields, including 5 traditional areas (geodesy and geophysics, photogrammetry, remote sensing, cartographic science, and geographic information systems and geospatial analysis) and 5 emerging areas that could improve geospatial intelligence (GEOINT fusion, crowdsourcing, human geography, visual analytics, and forecasting). The report also identifies gaps in expertise relative to NGA’s needs and suggests ways to ensure an adequate supply of geospatial intelligence expertise over the next 20 years.

To download a PDF copy of the report, visit Future U.S. Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence.

Drone Programs Sparks Budgetary and Privacy Concerns

By Steve Aftergood, Secrecy News, January 31, 2013

The development of unmanned aerial systems (or drones) for military and civilian applications appears to be accelerating faster than the normal policy process can adapt to it.  Aside from festering doubts about the legality, propriety and wisdom of their routine use in targeted killing operations, drone programs are beset by budgetary confusion, and a host of privacy and other legal problems are poised to emerge with the expanded use of drones in domestic airspace. … Meanwhile, “Perhaps the most contentious issue concerning the introduction of drones into U.S. airspace is the threat that this technology will be used to spy on American citizens,” said a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

For full text of the article visit Secrecy News here.

A copy of the CRS report was obtained by Secrecy News.  See Integration of Drones into Domestic Airspace: Selected Legal Issues, January 30, 2013.

See also Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Manufacturing Trends, January 30, 2013.

Additional resources on drone policy issues are available from the Electronic Privacy Information Center here.

GAO Says OMB and Feds Need to Make Coordination a Priority

Geospatial Information

GAO-13-94, Nov 26, 2012

What GAO Found

While the President and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have established policies and procedures for coordinating investments in geospatial data, governmentwide committees and federal departments and agencies have not effectively implemented them. The committee that was established to promote the coordination of geospatial data nationwide–the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)–has developed and endorsed key standards– including a metadata standard that includes descriptive information about a particular set of geospatial data–and established a clearinghouse of metadata; however, the clearinghouse is not being used by agencies to identify planned geospatial investments to promote coordination and reduce duplication. The FGDC has not yet planned or implemented an approach to manage geospatial data as related groups of investments to allow agencies to more effectively plan geospatial data collection efforts and minimize duplicative investments; and its strategic plan is missing key elements, such as performance measures for many of its defined objectives. Further, none of the three federal departments in GAO’s review have fully implemented important activities for coordinating geospatial data, such as preparing and implementing a strategy for advancing geospatial activities within their respective departments.

Read More…

Drone Reading Roundup (Updated)

Disclaimer: These links were collected and accessed on April 8, 2012. This list is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather is a short bibliography of recent articles on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV/ sUAV) and drones, with a primary focus on the legal and policy issues surrounding their use within the United States.


  • Conference Report on H.R. 658, FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2012, Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 16 (February 1, 2012), House of Representatives, Pages H230 – H304, Posted to FAS Website: http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2012/02/faa-uas.html



Read More…

The Impact of Domestic Drones on Privacy, Safety and National Security

On April 4, 2012, Governance Studies at Brookings Institution will hold a forum focused on the privacy, safety and national security implications of drones in American airspace. A panel of experts will address the challenge of realizing the many potential benefits of drones while minimizing the risks that will accompany their growing use.

For more information and to register for this event, visit The Impact of Domestic Drones on Privacy, Safety and National Security – Brookings Institution.


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