Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

The NSA Actually Has A Program Called SKYNET-And It Might Be Labeling Innocent People As Terrorists

Published on February 18, 2016 by   ·   1 Comment

Uncle-Sam-SKYNET

Claire Bernish

A recent examination of National Security Agency documents previously released by whistleblower Edward Snowden shows that the CIA and other U.S. agencies may be killing innocent people as a result of their reliance on metadata.

The NSA’s SKYNET is a program that surveils phone metadata in order to track suspected terrorists. Through SKYNET, the security agency engages in mass surveillance of Pakistan’s mobile phone network, affecting 55 million people — but that’s not all. Once the data is gathered, it’s run through amachine learning algorithm that attempts to rate whether a particular individual is more or less likely to be a terrorist.

According to Human Rights Data Analysis’ executive director Patrick Ball, the NSA’s methods are “ridiculously optimistic” and “completely bullshit.” If Ball is correct, SKYNET’s methodology may be putting thousands of innocent lives in danger because they are being falsely identified as terrorists.

While Ball has raised many issues, one of the most important points, which NSA officials appear to be ignoring, is that the machine is only able to identify a terrorist if it has access to details pertaining to a great number of other known terrorists. According to New York Magazine, however, “there just aren’t that many known terrorists” who could be added to the machine’s list, “especially in comparison to the number of phones the NSA is monitoring in Pakistan.”

The documents made available by The Intercept show the NSA works with the data of only seven known terrorists. NSA officials reportedly feed six of the terrorists’ information into the machine, tasking SKYNET with the duty of finding the seventh in a random group of 100,000 citizens.

Ball says this system cannot work.

According to Ars Technica, there were about 120 million cellular handsets in use in Pakistan at the end of 2012. At the time, the NSA analyzed 55 million of those records. With only “80 variables on 55 million Pakistani mobile phone users, there is obviously far too much data to make sense of manually,” Ars Technica explained.

Like any other application targeting big data, SKYNET is used as a substitute for “human reason and judgment,”Ars Technica’s Christian Grothoff and J.M. Porup explain.

Similar apps, like the one used by Facebook, are prone to making major mistakes, but the consequences of Facebook’s errors are relatively innocuous. When SKYNET makes similar mistakes by wrongly identifying a terrorist, the consequences are deadly.

Read More HERE

Share the Truth:
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Global Grind
  • MySpace
  • Ping.fm
  • Tumblr
  • email

Readers Comments (1)




Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

Daily News and Blogs

Listen to the TIS Network on blogtalkradio.com

Check Out Pop Culture Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with TIS Network on BlogTalkRadio

Like us on Facebook

Advertise Here

Advertise Here