Washington Hires Researchers to Spot Leakers Through Search

July 13, 2012

Wired’s Danger Room recently reported on “Fog Computing,” a spin off term from the cloud computing craze in the article “Feds Look to Fight Leaks With Fog of Disinformation.

Gripped by a frenzy to capture insider leaks, in addition to going through the traditional methods of tapping phone lines and emails, Washington has hired researchers to come up with a plan to spot leakers by how they search. Darpa,the pentagon’s research arm, has also created prototype that will create decoy documents of believable misinformation to trap leakers in the act.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of faith in the effectiveness of this system. One of the tactics is to bury potentially useful information in worthless data which makes it more difficult for the leaker to know what to disclose.

Steven Aftergood, who studies classification policies for the Federation of American Scientists, wrote in an email:

“If only researchers devoted as much ingenuity to combating spurious secrecy and needless classification. Shrinking the universe of secret information would be a better way to simplify the task of securing the remainder. The Darpa approach seems to be based on an assumption that whatever is classified is properly classified and that leaks may occur randomly throughout the system. But neither of those assumptions is likely to be true.”

While the system still has some bugs, it does seem like this new technology has the potential to prevent another Wikileaks.

Jasmine Ashton, July 13, 2012

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