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<div id="featuretext"> <pre> [Some notes regarding the NSA getting into the library database business and what, if any, privacy threats this might entail.] From merriman@metronet.com Sun Oct 16 23:54:26 EDT 1994 Article: 40201 of comp.org.eff.talk Newsgroups: alt.security,alt.privacy,comp.org.eff.talk Path: eff!news.umbc.edu!europa.eng.gtefsd.com!howland.reston.ans.net!wupost!psuvax1!news .ecn.bgu.edu!feenix.metronet.com!net44.metronet.com!merriman From: merriman@metronet.com (David K. Merriman) Subject: Friendly neighborhood NSA Sender: usenet@metronet.com (UseNet news admin) Message-ID: <merriman.40.00699063@metronet.com> Date: Sat, 1 Oct 1994 05:23:26 GMT Lines: 56 Nntp-Posting-Host: net44.metronet.com Organization: Texas Metronet, Internet for the Individual 214-705-2901 (info) X-Newsreader: Trumpet for Windows [Version 1.0 Rev B final beta #4] Xref: eff alt.security:17436 alt.privacy:19457 comp.org.eff.talk:40201 iiti.doc.gov /pub/newitems/ii_inventory/app_projs/library ================================================== IITF APPLICATIONS PROJECT INVENTORY APPLICATION AREA: Adv. Network Tech. Education Libraries STATUS: PILOT DESCRIPTIVE DATA:

PROJECT: Digital Librarian LEAD AGENCY/ORGANIZATION: NSA CONTACT NAME: Norma Davila PHONE #: 301/688-7353 LEVEL OF EFFORT: START DATE: ongoing COMPLETION DATE: DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT: The "Digital Librarian" links together the libraries where information of any type (books, texts, pictures, audio, video, multi-media, etc.) is stored to the librarians who assist the users in navigating through these storehouses of knowledge. This project brings these ideas to the desktop by allowing a user to gain access to any number of information sources, independent of the originating development of the sources. The information sources can be anything from databases to online reference materials to online training materials. The user interacts with these sources through one common interface. In addition, this project enhances textual material searches by providing a hypertext link capability for a user to navigate a document in a more meaningful way. Instead of just paging through a document one page at a time, the system can bring the user to the place in the document where the information is located. In the future, natural language and artificial intelligence techniques will be exercised to increase user efficiency in searching through the library storehouses of knowledge. KEY PRIVATE SECTOR ACTORS: ORGANIZATION NAME: CONTACT: TELEPHONE #: ==================================================================== Out of the kindness of it's heart, the NSA is going to build us all a nice, new, improved WWW! Isn't that just *too* kind of them? I wonder why I have this feeling I'd better not turn my back on them.....

From tcmay@netcom.com Sun Oct 16 23:54:37 EDT 1994 Article: 40255 of comp.org.eff.talk Newsgroups: comp.org.eff.talk Path: eff!news.kei.com!yeshua.marcam.com!usc!elroy.jpl.nasa.gov!decwrl!netcomsv!ix.netco m.com!netcom.com!tcmay From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May) Subject: Re: Friendly neighborhood NSA Message-ID: <tcmayCx14o7.8I9@netcom.com> Organization: NETCOM On-line Communication Services (408 261-4700 guest) X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL1] References: <merriman.40.00699063@metronet.com> <5ezV4Xh.dchaos@delphi.com>

Distribution: inet Date: Sun, 2 Oct 1994 05:02:31 GMT Lines: 37 Dr. David Chaos (dchaos@delphi.com) wrote: : : : : : : : : : : Why is an intelligence agency designing library search engines? We fund many other, more qualified agencies, to do just that? Unless, of course, there is some overriding national security issue in data retrieval. Hmmmm, must be those feelthy terrorists/drug dealers/child pornographers that NSA has been warning us about. There isn't any possibility that, while doing a school research project, your child pulls up data on hydrogen bombs, and his name appears in some NSA computer? Nawwww the NSA would never spy on U.S. citizens and monitor their data retrievals. Too farfetched, even for them, right?

The FBI did just this with their "Library Awareness Program," in the mid- to late-1980s. They contacted school librarians and suggested to them that records be kept of information requests which fit certain criteria. Caveats: I have no idea how widespread the program was, wha material was targetted, etc. Carl Kadie often comments on matters involving this system, so perhaps if he sees this post he'll comment. The LAP met with resistance from librarians, their professional organizations, etc., and some guidelines were issued for libraries to follow. Basically, they repudiated censorship or cooperation with law enforcement in such matters. I have no idea how this applices to the "Information Superhighway Bookmobiles" the Feds plan to run, but I'm opposed to the NII/GII crap on general principles anyway. --Tim May -.......................................................................... Timothy C. May | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money, tcmay@netcom.com | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero 408-688-5409 | knowledge, reputations, information markets, W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA | black markets, collapse of governments. Higher Power: 2^859433 | Public Key: PGP and MailSafe available. Cypherpunks list: majordomo@toad.com with body message of only: subscribe cypherpunks. FAQ available at ftp.netcom.com in pub/tcmay

From tighe@convex.com Sun Oct 16 23:55:04 EDT 1994 Article: 40318 of comp.org.eff.talk Path: eff!news.duke.edu!MathWorks.Com!yeshua.marcam.com!insosf1.infonet.net!convex!notfor-mail From: Mike Tighe <tighe@convex.COM> Newsgroups: comp.org.eff.talk Subject: Re: Friendly neighborhood NSA Date: 3 Oct 1994 09:40:14 -0500

Organization: Engineering, Convex Computer Corporation, Richardson, Tx USA Lines: 24 Sender: tighe@convex.com Distribution: inet Message-ID: <36p54e$3ul@cxsoft.convex.com> References: <merriman.40.00699063@metronet.com> <5ezV4Xh.dchaos@delphi.com> Reply-To: tighe@convex.com NNTP-Posting-Host: cxsoft.convex.com Dr. David Chaos <dchaos@delphi.com> writes: >David K. Merriman <merriman@metronet.com> writes: > >>Out of the kindness of it's heart, the NSA is going to build us all a nice, new, improved WWW! >> >>Isn't that just *too* kind of them? > >Why is an intelligence agency designing library search engines? We fund >many other, more qualified agencies, to do just that? Unless, of course, >there is some overriding national security issue in data retrieval. Hmmmm, >must be those feelthy terrorists/drug dealers/child pornographers that NSA >has been warning us about. I do not think it is to far-fetched to think that if you are collecting all of those signals, you might want to save them in a database and refer to them later. And since the NSA and its predecessors have been collecting signals since about WWII, they might know a thing or two about database management, and are actually more qualified than other agencies. Not that I think they should have any role in developing technologies for use in the public sector. -Mike Tighe, (214) 497-4206 tighe@convex.com From dchaos@delphi.com Sun Oct 16 23:56:14 EDT 1994 Article: 40354 of comp.org.eff.talk Path: eff!news.kei.com!MathWorks.Com!news2.near.net!news.delphi.com!usenet From: Dr. David Chaos <dchaos@delphi.com> Newsgroups: comp.org.eff.talk Subject: Re: Friendly neighborhood NSA Date: Tue, 4 Oct 94 02:11:35 -0500 Organization: Delphi (info@delphi.com email, 800-695-4005 voice) Lines: 18 Distribution: inet Message-ID: <ZO0XxqH.dchaos@delphi.com> References: <merriman.40.00699063@metronet.com> <5ezV4Xh.dchaos@delphi.com> <1994Oct3.132345@sdg.dra.com> NNTP-Posting-Host: bos1d.delphi.com X-To: Sean Donelan <sean@sdg.dra.com> Sean Donelan <sean@sdg.dra.com> writes: >I have no first-hand knowledge how competant NSA's librarians are, >but a competant intelligence agency should have lots of experience >organizing, searching and finding information. Collecting intelligence >information is useless if you can't find the important nuggets later.

I think we may have drifted a bit here. As a previous poster and yourself have pointed out, the NSA is likely quite competent to design database systems. My point had little to do with their competency. It had more to do with the the propriety of them doing so for public access. As the Clipper chip was put forth as a "public service", I am a wee bit suspicious when NSA wants to do me, John-Q-Public, a favor. As we were so fond of saying in medical school "BOHICA!!", which translated means, "Bend over, here it comes again". I believe that expression is appropriate here. Dr. David Chaos From bap@learning.scr.siemens.com Sun Oct 16 23:56:56 EDT 1994 Article: 40373 of comp.org.eff.talk Newsgroups: comp.org.eff.talk Path: eff!news.kei.com!MathWorks.Com!europa.eng.gtefsd.com!howland.reston.ans.net!cs.ute xas.edu!uunet!siemens!siemens.com!bap From: bap@gull.scr.siemens.com (Barak Pearlmutter) Subject: Re: Friendly neighborhood NSA In-Reply-To: Dr. David Chaos's message of Tue, 4 Oct 94 02:11:35 -0500 Message-ID: <BAP.94Oct4161127@gull.scr.siemens.com> Sender: news@scr.siemens.com (NeTnEwS) Nntp-Posting-Host: gull.scr.siemens.com Reply-To: Barak Pearlmutter <bap@learning.scr.siemens.com> Organization: Siemens Corporate Research, Princeton (Plainsboro), NJ References: <merriman.40.00699063@metronet.com> <5ezV4Xh.dchaos@delphi.com> <1994Oct3.132345@sdg.dra.com> <ZO0XxqH.dchaos@delphi.com> Date: Tue, 4 Oct 1994 20:11:27 GMT Lines: 20 About six months ago, I heard a talk by an NSA scientist about his wonderful new textual database search technique, which he felt would revolutionize the field. Of course he had patented it. The idea is to hash all the n-grams in a document, and represent the document as the resultant vector of normalized counts (emphirical probabilities.) Then do hierarchical clustering, searches, etc, on these vectors. In the talk, he mentioned that this method was much superior to everything else the NSA has, which is all **manually assisted**. He also desperately wanted to find civilian applications and licensees, and said that the NSA is under intense pressure to commercialize their technology. My guess is that (1) this library initiative part of this effort, perhaps in fact this particular technique, which I doubt found much industrial interest, and (2) their software is not as far advanced beyond the mainstream as many conjecture. (In this case, it would not even stand up to peer review.) </pre>

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