SKYNET Is Here, At Least For The NSA


According to documents released by Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, the intelligence organization uses a program they call SKYNET to analyze location and communication records in order to detect suspicious patterns from bulk call records.

In the off chance you are unaware, SKYNET was the name of the military computer system in The Terminator movies that became self-aware and subsequently attempted to exterminate the human race through nuclear war and armies of robots.

The information about SKYNET appears in a series of NSA slides dated June 2012 which describes the program, which according to The Intercept was used to wrongly label an Al Jazeera journalist as a member of Al Qaeda.

According to the presentation, the NSA uses its version of SKYNET to identify people that it believes move like couriers used by Al Qaeda’s senior leadership. The program assessed Zaidan as a likely match, which raises troubling questions about the U.S. government’s method of identifying terrorist targets based on metadata.

Further leaked documentation indicates that over 55 million Pakistani cell phone records were dumped into the system, and SKYNET then analyzed the data based on questions such as “who has traveled from Peshawar to Faisalabad or Lahore (and back) in the past month? Who does the traveler call when he arrives?” and specific behaviours like visits to airports, overnight trips, excessive SIM or handset swapping, and receiving incoming calls only. The NSA measured SKYNET’s success by noting that 21 of the top 500 potential matches that SKYNET found were previously on other NSA surveillance or watch lists.

The fact that the NSA has and uses this technology aside, either they’re big fans of SKYNET or have no idea of what they may have just unleashed on the world.

Let us know what you think about the NSA using the SKYNET moniker for one of their data analysis computer programs? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: The Intercept
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