Inside DARPA's secret Afghan spy machine


Noah Shachtman at Wired has an exclusive up involving "A secret intelligence program, never-before-revealed... a mad scientist who believes he can change the world.... an ambitious Pentagon official determined to make her mark on the war... deep questions about the strategy in Afghanistan... and an oddball balloon hunt, which (believe it or not) sparked the whole thing."

(photo: Wired)


  1. If I read into their modus operandi correctly; this is the very essence of big brother. Instead of tracking foreground (positivew space) they track background (negative space). Anything moving against that background is noticed. The logical extension of this strategy is nothing less than the complete virtualization of literally everything on the planet. They are “studying” a native population. The most obvious use for this kind of inforamation/approach is to apply it to your own native population (i.e. good ‘ol U.S.of A.). It is any accident that this is rushed through and Petraeus is poised for the C.I.A.?

      1. So Google Earth, Foursquare, and “augmented” reality apps are OK but this isn’t? This project is nothing more then an extension of the very ideals championed by the tech community itself; a grand vision of aggregated information delivered in digestible format. I think many people don’t like this technology simply because the government is involved.

        After all its not like the Shadow Agencies haven’t kept tabs on certian people since long before the existance of the internet’s power of aggregation.

  2. Newer concepts … were embodied at Crediton Hill. There, top-rank analysts constantly monitored the national Delphi pools to maintain a high social-mollification index. Three times since 1990 agitators had nearly brought about a bloody revolution, but each had been aborted. What the public currently yearned for could be deduced by watching the betting, and steps could be taken to ensure that what was feasible was done, what was not was carefully deeveed. It was a task that taxed the skills of top CIMA experts to ensure that when the government artificially cut Delphi odds to distract attention from something undesirable no other element in the mix was dragged down with it.

    The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner (set sometime between 2010 and 2015)

    On a similar note: journalist Ford Rowan had some cautionary things to say on this topic (military computing of social conditions) in his book Techno Spies (1978).

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