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U.S. Spies on Chat Rooms 

U.S. Spies on Chat Rooms 
source :  link to www.wired.com

TROY, N.Y. -- Amid the torrent of jabber in internet chat rooms -- flirting by QTpie and BoogieBoy, arguments about politics and horror flicks -- are terrorists plotting their next move?

The government certainly isn't discounting the possibility. It's taking the idea seriously enough to fund a yearlong study on chat room surveillance under an anti-terrorism program.

A Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute computer science professor hopes to develop mathematical models that can uncover structure within the scattershot traffic of online public forums.

Chat rooms are the highly popular and freewheeling areas on the internet where people with self-created nicknames discuss just about anything: teachers, Kafka, cute boys, politics, love, root canals. They are also places where malicious hackers have been known to trade software tools, stolen passwords and credit card numbers. The Pew Internet & American Life Project estimates 28 million Americans have visited internet chat rooms.

Trying to monitor the sea of traffic on all the chat channels would be like assigning a police officer to listen in on every conversation on the sidewalk -- virtually impossible.

Instead of rummaging through megabytes of messages, RPI professor Bulent Yener will use mathematical models in search of patterns in the chatter. Downloading data from selected chat rooms, Yener will track the times that messages were sent, creating a statistical profile of the traffic.

If, for instance, RatBoi and bowler1 consistently send messages within seconds of each other in a crowded chat room, you could infer that they were speaking to one another amid the "noise" of the chat room.

"For us, the challenge is to be able to determine, without reading the messages, who is talking to whom," Yener said. In search of "hidden communities," Yener also wants to check messages for certain keywords that could reveal something about what's being discussed in groups.

The $157,673 grant comes from the National Science Foundation's Approaches to Combat Terrorism program. It was selected in coordination with the nation's intelligence agencies.

The NSF's Leland Jameson said the foundation judged the proposal strictly on its broader scientific merit, leaving it to the intelligence community to determine its national security value. Neither the CIA nor the FBI would comment on the grant, with a CIA spokeswoman citing the confidentiality of sources and methods.

Security officials know al-Qaida and other terrorist groups use the internet for everything from propaganda to offering tips on kidnapping. But it's not clear if terrorists rely much on chat rooms for planning and coordination.

Michael Vatis, founding director of the National Infrastructure Protection Center and now a consultant, said he had heard of terrorists using chat rooms, which he said offer some security as long as code phrases are used. Other cybersecurity experts doubted chat rooms' usefulness to terrorists given the other current options, from web mail to hiding messages on designated web pages that can only be seen by those who know where to look.

"In a world in which you can embed your message in a pixel on a picture on a homepage about tea cozies, I don't know whether if you're any better if you think chat would be any particular magnet," Jonathan Zittrain, an Internet scholar at Harvard Law School.

Because they are focusing on public chat rooms, authorities are not violating constitutional rights to privacy when they keep an eye on the traffic, experts said. Law enforcement agents have trolled chat rooms for years in search of pedophiles, sometimes adopting profiles making it look like they are young teens.

But the idea of the government reviewing massive amounts of public communications still raises some concerns.

Mark Rasch, a former head of the Justice Department's computer crimes unit, said such a system would bring the country one step closer to the Pentagon's much-maligned Terrorism Information Awareness program. Research on that massive data-mining project was halted after an uproar over its impact on privacy. "It's the ability to gather and analyze massive amounts of data that creates the privacy problem," Rasch said, "even though no individual bit of data is particularly
p 12.Oct.2004 16:21


the govt. should be concerned with errent police forces such as exist in bellingham wa.they are going to instigate the downfall, of their status quo.

To RPI Professor Bulent Yener 12.Oct.2004 17:14

Pravda or Consequences

Model this!

My government, in its lust for power, is the terrorist.

You would do a better service for our country if you were to create algorithms that defined their madness (because there decisions have more far reaching consequences) than some whacko on the Internet.

We have more than evened the score in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Latin America than those who perished at the World Trade Center.



The presidents state of the union speech was just another time he could get on television and just try to brain wash more americans into acepting what he is trying to do with the patriot act, that he has been trying to ram down every ones throat, we do not need to continue an
act, "the patriot act" that will continue to take away even more constitutional rights from americans, we need an act that will protect our
constitutional rights and work properly as a tool against terrorism, by creating a new plan and rewriting thee patriot act properly.

Maybe the president should spend a little more time correcting one of the many errors he has let happen-THE PATRIOT ACT-during his terms
in office instead of constantly going on to television trying to convince and brain wash the general public into believing that he is correct.

The PATRIOT ACT is just a failure that he does not want coming out while he is in office. But eventully it will.

It would not be to hard to re-wright the patriot act correctly so that it does not infringe on any americans constitutional rights and freedoms
but apparently the president doesnt care about your rights only his. so he has spoken .

I have never seen someone go onto television so many times in a row and try to convcince people -BRAIN WASH PEEOPLE- into doing what he wants

There is only a few months left for people in this country to stand up and stop this injustice being perpitrated to the public as something
that will be good for thee american people -THE PATRIOT ACT- there is only a short time left for americans to stand up and fight for the
last of what they have left of there rights and freedoms, instead of letting some mealy mouth little punk like-george herber walker-bush tell
them what to do and how to live there lives, its time for you people to get off your asses & do something about 6 6 6 1 what
is going on with your country.

Once the patriot act fails to continue as it is written, a new act can be installed that will work properly for the peoples interests, not
for some greedy political motivations and politacl megalo maniac that is in charge write now.

It is really a shame that the majority of american people can not even see whats going on right in front of there faces, they just continue
to allow there rights and freedoms to constantly be stripped away from them day by day, you see it all of the time people giving away there
rights along with everyone elses rights over & over again, i guess the'll never learn, i guess they injoy being turned into the mindless
slaves that they are becoming so thee government can have complete and utter control over there lives with no rights at all, others would
rather die than let that happen to the.

Just remember people there are 280,000,000 million of us and only a few thousand of them so do not tremble in your boots at the allmighty
government in charge of your lives - so called lives.



be carefull what you type when you chat.

be carefull what you say while your on your cell phone. key words will pop up on there computer raidar.

be carefull what you say in your home, fcc. the u.s. government have put into affect fcc rules that allow them to listen in to your home anytime they please , go ahead look on thee back of your nice newer phone, youll find the fcc.##### s on the back, go ahead and look up the
fcc rulings on the net and find out what they say you might be a little surprised. they can listen in on you any time they please. and all it
takes is a flip of a switch at the office.

maybe you better check all of your home electronics and be real carefull what you buy. go head look at thee fcc #s up on all of your items,
you might enjoy what you find.

be carefull what you watch on your satilite television your being profiled.

be carefull what you look at on the net your being profiled, and watched!

be carefull what you charge on your credit cards, were you use them, and what you buy, your being watched and profiled. naw they wouldnt
do that would they.

be carefull how much money you take out of your bank accounts , or put into your accounts anything over $4,999.00 worth of funds taken out
or put into any account you have sends a red flag to your almighty government. just to let them know what your up to .

o-yeh you have lost your right to buy gold , silver , and most precios metals in this country also no gold or silver ingets for you,your
not allowed. you definately can not own a gold or silver brick. youll be lucky if they allow you to have jewelry or coins made of precios metals pretty soon.

by the way your new cell phone tells them where you are 24 hours a day, so make sure you don't forget to give them your full name!

e-mails are continually monitured, just for your benifit, gee i wonder why. so go ahead give everyone your e-mail address why not.

instant messages, aw you all really love to send those cute little messages, they've got there eye on that to believe it.

and lets just give them control over our cars also, starting in 2001 all vehicles are being monitored by big brother its all ready in your
automobile computer system they can tell were you are 24-7.

so do you all have any other ways or ideas you could give away some more of our rights and freedoms ,
if you do go head and post them on this web site, come on you can do better than that, im sure you can thinnk of some other ways to throw
away what little rights we have left, come on lets see what you got, any more bright ideas.

ever heard of sneak a peak!

ever had a sneak a peak done to you!, i dobt if you'de even know if it had been done to you.

your home hasnt been broken into lately, has it ?

anything turn up missing lately ?

thats ok don't worry about it, its just your mind playing tricks on you !

they wouldnt do that, would they!

just because the patriot act allows them to they wouldnt do that now would they ?

i havent even scratched thee surface yet, believe me more to come---

have fun with your safe & secure lives with your so called freedoms, and enjoy your grand illusions !

but don't worry what you don't know wont hurt you !!! so enjoy the blinders while they last---



soon all of the people in this great nation of the united states will know what you have done bush,

how you have illegally searched and siezed personal information & property of peoples without just cause,

how you are illegally monitoring the general people of this great land for no other reason but your greedyness,

how you have manipulated our government into doing your bidding for your own gains, soon everyone will know what you
and your " skull and bones " croneys have been doing to people, and what this is really all about.

see you at your next secret meeting bush!