***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** From Association of Computing Machinery TechNet digest for June 9, 2006 "Pentagon Sets Its Sights on Social Networking Websites" New Scientist (06/10/06); Marks, Paul The NSA is funding research into technologies that could extract meaning from the mountains of personal data posted on social networking Web sites. The NSA research could bring the vision of the Semantic Web closer to reality, as it could combine information from social networking sites with other data, such as banking, retail, and property records to create comprehensive profiles of individual users. The focus on social networking sites comes as Americans are still reeling from the revelation that the NSA has been collecting phone call records since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The NSA plans to conduct similar surveillance of the Web, piecing together a composite picture of individuals by analyzing their contact networks. The Semantic Web will make the comparison of data in disparate formats possible thanks to the common structure known as the Resource Development Framework (RDF). "RDF turns the Web into a kind of universal spreadsheet that is readable by computers as well as people," said David de Roure, an advisor to the W3C. Every piece of numerical data would have its own tag, and different references to the same concept would link to each other. While the Semantic Web is expected to transform Internet search, it will also make it much easier to snoop into people's private lives. Nevertheless, the organization known as the Advanced Research Development Activity, charged with disbursing NSA funds, has taken an active interest in harvesting social networking data to make meaningful connections between people. http://www.newscientisttech.com/article/mg19025556.200.html _____________________________________________________________________ Barry Wellman Professor of Sociology NetLab Director wellman at chass.utoronto.ca http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman Centre for Urban & Community Studies University of Toronto 455 Spadina Avenue Toronto Canada M5S 2G8 fax:+1-416-978-7162 _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.