[star]The American Mind[star]

November 29, 2004

Spying on Chat Rooms

Consider this the next time you're using IRC (Internet Relay Chat):

In April 2003, the CIA agreed to fund a series of research projects that the documents indicate were intended to create "new capabilities to combat terrorism through advanced technology." One of those projects is research at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., devoted to automated monitoring and profiling of the behavior of chat-room users.


Yener and Krishnamoorthy, both associate professors of computer science, wrote that their research would involve writing a program for "silently listening" to an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel and "logging all the messages." One of the oldest and most popular methods for chatting online, IRC attracts hundreds of thousands of users every day. A history written by IRC creator Jarkko Oikarinen said the concept grew out of chat technology for modem-based bulletin boards in the 1980s.

The Yener and Krishnamoorthy proposal says their research will begin Jan. 1, 2005 but does not say which IRC servers will be monitored.

I figured government intel agencies were already monitoring certain chat rooms. Maybe the importance of the research is that a program would be developed to monitor conversations silently. But all this means is that terrorists will stop using IRC and move on to other chat systems including plain old instant message. The neverending game of espionage cat and mouse would continue.

"Security Officials to Spy on Chat Rooms"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)