The Pentagon’s military research arm wants to create computer tools that can monitor all suspect conversations on Twitter and Facebook and then analyze those talks and group dynamics to determine possible acts of cyber terrorism and terrorism.
The project is being funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and will include a set of algorithms that can monitor the talk for more than 1 million internet users while also tracking how certain groups evolve into terrorist cells.
If the program is a success law enforcement agencies could better learn how groups recruit new members and then collaborate. The algorithm could also help determine targets and even shifting allegiances.
If DARPA has its way the software will allow military officials to find weaknesses in support chains which can than be used to exploit “strategic military operations.”
According to the official proposal:
“Little attention has been paid to how the groups compete with each other for members and influence on opinions of other teams and communities.”
The internet chatter program will be handled in stages with the first phase supporting the identification of group dynamic and the second phase will work towards a demo program to create a narrative environment among more than 1,000 groups and 1 million members who post an estimated 100,000 posts per day.
In the third phase funding will help create the actual tools that analyze the type of data the military needs to find terrorism which relies on online chatter.
The program will begin accepting proposals from outside firms on August 27 and the solicitation period will end on September 26.
This is the first known project to focus on large scale groups, scientists have had some success when dealing with smaller organizations on a focused level.