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GCHQ to trawl Facebook and Twitter for intelligence – Guardian


For those who say that GCHQ does not read Twitter feeds or Facebook walls.


Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest: all of them could be the source of valuable intelligence that the UK’s intelligence agencies want to know about – and now government eavesdropping and security agency GCHQ is developing new tools to sift through them for nuggets of useful data.

The Cheltenham-based organisation is recruiting maths, physics and computing experts to devise groundbreaking algorithms that will automatically extract information from huge volumes of speech, text and image content gathered “across the full range of modern communications media”.

The secretive listening post plans to use the algorithms to help its surveillance systems make sense of human language, training its computers to automatically identify “valuable intelligence” within huge troves of intercepted data. This will enhance the agency’s ability to pick out keywords and phrases from phone calls and emails as they are passing over networks in near real-time, enabling government spies to “find meaningful patterns and relationships” between people deemed a threat, such as suspected terrorists.

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