Monday, July 03, 2006

Bloggers Under Military Watch

I received an email this weekend which detailed a relatively new program as part of the apparently endless War on Terror, which says that the U.S. Dept. of Defense has decided that blogs and bloggers are now under watch.

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research has received funding to begin a study of blogs in order to:

"Dr. Brian E. Ulicny, senior scientist, and Dr. Mieczyslaw M. Kokar, president, Versatile Information Systems Inc., Framingham, Mass. said ... 'It can be challenging for information analysts to tell what'’s important in blogs unless you analyze patterns.'

"Patterns include the content of the blogs as well as what hyperlinks are contained within the blog."

This new program is part of an overall program created since 9-11 which has been dubbed "Transformation".

Of course, there is much understandable wisdom in a philosophy of action aimed at modernizing military operations, and in the last year or so, a serious effort has been made to target blogs and bloggers to provide information which may be incomplete or, in their minds, incorrect.

The concept is large in scope and is steadily working to provide levels of modernization involving everything from MREs to nanotechnologies.

Drawing quite a bit of attention from onlookers, Staff Sgt. Robert Atkinson, of Natick's Future Warrior Concepts Lab, represented what soldiers may look like several decades from now.

Wearing a black padded suit and black helmet, he said, "I've been called everything from Darth Vader to RoboCop and the character from the Halo video games."

The prototype suit, though generations away in development, is a visionary project of the Future Force Warrior project and the Future Combat System program.

The helmet system for the suit will have a tiny computer system and monitor that will keep soldiers in contact with commanders; it also will have thermal night vision goggles.

But most amazing, Atkinson said, researchers are looking to use "nanotechnology" on the uniform to give soldiers superhuman strength. Electrical impulses sent to the human muscles will provide soldiers with extra strength, he said."

I'm all for a prepared military so we don't have to hear about celebrities like Cher raising money for armor for personnel or reports of equipment lacking in proper defenses.

What I am less sure about is the trolling of blogs for data collection.

Reality Me has a post about this topic today as well and comes to the same question I had - couldn't they just use Technorati for such informational opportunities? At least the information about the program is easily available to those who bother to seek it out. (hat tip to CSW for the info)

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