The MySpace World Domination Conspiracy

OK, here it is. This blows the lid off of the totalitarian overlords once and for all. The mother of all conspiracies and MySpace is at the center of it.

Go back with me to February 2002, when the existence of the Total Information Awareness (TIA) Office at DARPA was disclosed by the New York times. John Poindexter, the former Reagan National Security Advisor who was convicted of lying to Congress about his management of the Iran-contra affair, was the head of TIA, whose mission was to:

…gather as much information as possible about everyone in a centralized location for easy perusal by the United States government, including Internet activity, credit card purchase histories, airline ticket purchases, car rentals, medical records, educational transcripts, driver’s licenses, utility bills, tax returns, and any other available data.

After having been revealed, the hue and cry from the public resonated through the halls of Congress. Russ Feingold introduced the Data-Mining Moratorium Act of 2003, to suspend operations at TIA until a review of its practices could be completed. Not surprisingly, the review was never initiated by the Republican majority and the program just seemed to fade away.

In fact, some of the critical technologies were surreptitiously transferred to other intelligence agencies including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA), a branch of the NSA. The NSA, of course, was already engaging in illegal covert programs to wiretap phone conversations and collect records from the phone companies. The NSA chief through much of that time was General Michael Hayden, who was also a deputy to John Negroponte, Director of DHS. Negroponte was also Ambassador to El Salvador while Poindexter was at the White House funding contras in Nicaragua. More recently we learned that the government is also tracking private banking transactions without obtaining warrants or submitting to any judicial oversight. And Hayden went on to become the Director of the CIA.

Stay with me now – here’s where it gets interesting. ARDA, which has changed its name to the Disruptive Technology Office (I’m not kidding), has been funding research into the mass harvesting of the information available on social networks like MySpace. The New Scientist reports that:

By adding online social networking data to its phone analyses, the NSA could connect people at deeper levels, through shared activities… the NSA could combine with social networking details includes information on purchases, where we go (available from cellphone records, which cite the base station a call came from) and what major financial transactions we make.

Combining that data with the personal information that MySpace collects, the recorded network of friends, and the communications that are made and stored online, will produce some pretty thorough profiles.

Now, with the government creating these clandestine agencies, shuffling them around and changing their names, supporting them with ever more technology to pry deeper into our personal lives, and attacking the media any time they report on some aspect of these activities so as to insure their secrecy, what is the next piece of this puzzle to fall into place?

Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp and Fox News, buys MySpace for $580 million dollars. Never mind that MySpace, while growing its membership exponentially, has lost money since its inception. What better steward for this program of privacy obliteration than the committed right-wing baron of one of the world’s largest media empires?

Am I just paranoid, or does it seem like there really is a governmental and corporate cabal that is positioning itself to become the Big Brother that Orwell warned us about?


4 thoughts on “The MySpace World Domination Conspiracy

  1. The idea of somehow connecting myspace data with phone or financial records is most likely not possible. Almost no one gives myspace their phone number, real name, ss# or anything that could be used to connect to phone/financial records. Also the government is decades away from being able to manage and utilize such a vast amount of data on normal people.

    I work with very large databases. Trust me, the government is far too incompetent to watch you… (or protect you) using such high tech information gathering.

  2. I’m not sure what large databases you work with, but the purpose of the programs described here is to advance DB management beyond anything disclosed to the public.

    As for connecting MySpace users with other DB info, it’s not that hard to take bits of what is known about users and match it to other DBs, which can then be matched to more DBs. Names, emails, IP addresses, and more can help to link these seemingly disperate items together.

  3. The purpose of these programs is not to advance DB management, but advanced link analysis and machine learning. You really need a technical advisor if you’re going to indulge your rampant paranoia.

    Politically, what I especially love is any absence of an idea regarding how to fight a networked enemy – just a villification of what is attempted. Yes, we know these programs seem ominous. What is YOUR idea for defeating the enemy?

    Oh, and look up the term “disruptive technology.” No need to appear foolish when you can learn a bit first.

  4. The purpose of these programs is to invade the privacy of American citizens. I am glad, at least, that we agree that these programs seem ominous.

    I don’t pretend to have solutions for every problem I observe. That doesn’t mean the problem should be ignored. I do believe that solutions exist that do not violate civil liberties.

    I know what “disruptive technology” is. No need to call people foolish when you can get a sense of humor first.

    And I don’t need a technical advisor to indulge my rampant paranoia. I’m doing it fine on my own.

Comments are closed.