US Software to Monitor Global Press

The Bush administration is developing software to analyze and summarize opinion articles worldwide, providing a possible tool for better monitoring what is written about the United States in the global press.

US Software to Monitor Global Press

"The work is really designed to get information extraction that would help the Department of Home Security (DHS) review statements for sentiments or beliefs contained in statements, and to provide intelligence analysts within DHS," said Homeland Security spokesperson Christophe Kelly, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Kelly said the software would offer the department staff "another resource to conduct their work".

The DHS says it will spend 2.4 million dollars over the next three years supporting research at three US universities using computer science to analyze human language in texts.

More than 270,000 articles from 180 news sources have been gathered by the research team from around the world between June 2001 and May 2002.

The articles covered a variety of subjects including elections in Zimbabwe, relations between China and Taiwan, treatment of detainees at Guantanamo and the Kyoto protocol.

Each article has been manually annotated "with the meanings we want the software to learn to understand," said Janyce Wiebe of the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, who will direct the research project.

He said the research will seek to "develop accurate and robust techniques for extracting and summarizing information about events and opinions described in a text."

Researchers from Cornell University and the University of Utah will also participate in the work, in a field computer scientists call "natural language processing."

The envisaged software would be capable of tracking the ambiguities of human language, distinguishing the meaning of a sentence depending on context and summarizing descriptions and opinions that appear in several different texts.

What For

The researchers and DHS officials decline to discuss the possible uses of the US software.

Asked if the software could allow authorities one day to determine which media or journalist appeared hostile to the United States, Kelly said it was too early to say.

"It's just too early to speculate about what it would evolve into," he said.

Press freedom advocates have expressed concern that the Bush administration wants to create a data base of certain media, particularly outlets that are the most critical of Washington.

"We're taking a very hard look to make sure that the outcomes of this are really in line with the missions of the DHS to protect the United States from attack," said Kelly.

Ever since the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration has secretly been tapping into a vast global database of confidential financial transactions under the pretext of terror combat.

The monitoring involves millions of records held by the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), an international cooperative that serves as a clearing house for the transactions.

The United States and Europe clinched a deal on Friday, October 6, on sharing detailed data about airline passengers traveling to the Unites Sates.

A US judge on August 17, halted Bush's "unconstitutional" domestic spying program, dealing a blow to Bush's attempts to expand sweeping access to people's data.



Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16