Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 12, 2006

DHS IG identifies data mining programs

Filed under: Intelligence and Info-Sharing,Technology for HLS — by Christian Beckner on September 12, 2006

The DHS inspector general released a report last week entitled “Survey of DHS Data Mining Activities” which identifies and describes 12 systems and capabilities at DHS, some of which are operational, others of which are under development. Many of the 12 have received little to no public scrutiny until this report, most notably the Intelligence and Information Fusion (I2F) program under the DHS Office of Intelligence Analysis, which was previously alluded in the IT spending analysis for the FY 2007 budget request and at a conference in May, but has not been really discussed until this report. The report notes:

The purpose of the I2F is to make operational an integrated intelligence and information capability for DHS. This capability will enable intelligence analysts to understand relationships that would otherwise not be readily apparent. I2F is in early development and is primarily dependent on the analyst manually processing, compiling, and analyzing data. The next version of the system will be a set of tools and technologies integrated to support the intelligence analyst.

I2F provides intelligence analysts with tools that aid in the discovery and tracking of terrorism threats to the United States population and infrastructure. I2F is principally made up of commercial off-the-shelf software, but also integrates government off-the-shelf programs. These programs are used for entity extraction, search capabilities, and link analysis.

The report also discusses the ADVISE program, which has been the subject of occasional worried speculation over the past year and a half. The report adds additional details to previous official accounts of ADVISE, describing how it uses semantic graph techniques to “connect information extracted from text and images, databases, and simulation and modeling tools to provide a watch-and-warning system for analysts.”

Overall, an informative report. For more info, see these stories last week from Washington Technology and the Washington Times.

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