11.30.10

Funny of Day: Ask DARPA To Save US from WikiLeaks

Posted in War On Terror at 4:26 pm by George Smith

“How can the US stop an insider with an agenda?” was the headline on one of the more insipid articles on WikiLeads today — courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.

The newspaper tasked reporter Ken Dilanian with finding out.

Dilanian went and dug up Pieter Zatko, who is now in charge of something fierce called “Cyber Insider Threat program” at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Zatko, aka Mudge, is a white hat/black hat hacker now working for the US government. The media used to love him, particularly when he told everybody he could shut down the Internet in thirty minutes or something.

The newspaper relates that Zatko’s involved in developing an app to detect the next Bradley Mannings but that it is “years from producing deployable solutions because the technology is in its infancy.”

As everyone knows, Julian Assange deployed the more well known and used app, so to speak, known as WikiLeaks.

“The Cyber Insider Threat program … will award grants to companies that propose ways of detecting improper activity by users … It is aimed at finding, for example, a network of corrupt employees …” adds the newspaper.

Only the people who drive and furnish WikiLeaks do not view themselves as corrupt. And the very nature of there motivation is a phenomenon that is now embedded socially, presenting problems which cannot be handled by devices.

Any technology that serves them is developing and being fielded more quickly than countermeasures can be mounted.

And what one thinks of Bradley Manning or Julian Assange depends on where you stand.

And what does DARPA work on these days? The things it brags about?

Not such innovative or world-shaking stuff.

EXACTO, a smart guided bullet for sniper teams, more funding for research and development in a variety of military robot assassins.

Its bid description for Persistant Close Air Support is catchy: “Key improvements are a positively controlled kill chain, digitally connected equipment for the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) … ”

Here’s another coming innovation: “DARPA\TTO announces Phase I of the ArcLight program to significantly advance enabling technologies for high speed, long range strike weapons. ArcLight is a demonstration program to design, build and flight test a boost/glide vehicle capable of carrying a 100-200 pound payload over a 2,000 nautical miles range in approximately 30 minutes.”

Better, faster guided missiles.

Earlier this year, DARPA’s director — Regina E. Dugan, testified before Congress on innovation at her agency.

Mostly, it was about more and more weapons, sometimes comically so.

DARPA wanted to make the sky black with unmanned aerial vehicles, it was implied at one point.

The country, Dugan noted, had lost much of its manufacturing base and so DARPA believed that to “innovate” want has “to make,” to — in other words, return to manufacturing again.

Manufacture what? More weapons, of course. And better prosthetic limbs for when yours have been blown off by the other guy’s weapons.

Over the years, this has led to a falling out with America’s research universities. And a look at many of DARPA’s contractors confirms it’s top heavy with US arms makers and defense contractors.

Even Dugan’s testimony showed a lack of vision.

She was delighted by an app called Trapster, something that informs users on how to steer clear of speed traps. She also imagined that a Google map app had made North Korea transparent. In an alternate universe, apparently.

That’s some progress. Like thinking that if only everyone could write something like Jerk In a Box or Harmonica, such engine of invention would lead to a new industrial revolution.

DARPA, Dugan said, wanted to also aid science education at the public school level in the country. And to do this, DARPA solicited ideas from defense contractors.

One of them, unnamed, came up with — get ready, it’s great — Box O’ Radar.

Box O’ Radar, Dugan said, was “a kit for teachers to give students hands-on experience with radar systems.”

Yes, you can’t start training students how to man Lockheed Martin aerial and naval defense systems too early.

Box O’ Radar — not a joke, really. Here.

Whatever one thinks of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, he’s sure as hell a better thinker than any platoon from that place.

1 Comment

  1. Dick Destiny » Self-impeaching said,

    February 8, 2011 at 10:13 am

    […] Then the long trudge of goofball-isms. Immune building. The jumping mine-field. The hafnium bomb. EXACTO — the smart-guided sniper bullet. […]