Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

CIA-Funded Software To Scour For Clues (millions of digital photos)
Associated Press ^ | Jun 9, 2003 | TED BRIDIS

Posted on 06/08/2003 9:34:28 PM PDT by certify

CIA-Funded Software To Scour For Clues

WASHINGTON - The CIA is bankrolling efforts to improve technology designed to scour millions of digital photos or video clips for particular cars or street signs or even, some day, human faces. The innovative software from fledgling PiXlogic LLC of Los Altos, Calif., promises to help analysts make better use of the Central Intelligence Agency's enormous electronic archives. Analysts also could be alerted when a helicopter or other targeted item appears in a live video broadcast.

PiXlogic is set to announce that the CIA's venture-capital organization, In-Q-Tel, has invested an unspecified amount to help the company improve the software.

In-Q-Tel - named for ``Q,'' the fictional inventor of fanciful spy gadgetry for James Bond - makes about a dozen such investments annually with roughly $35 million it receives from the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology. In-Q-Tel was created in February 1999 and has gained favorable reviews from Capitol Hill.

``There was a great deal of interest in these capabilities,'' Mike Griffin, In-Q-Tel's president, said of the picture-monitoring effort. ``Because more and more of what is on the Internet is in visual form, the ability to search on those materials is important and getting more important all the time.''

Neither In-Q-Tel nor PiXlogic would disclose terms of the deal, though executives said similar arrangements typically have been between $500,000 to $2.5 million. In-Q-Tel is organized as a nonprofit firm, and Griffin said it doesn't put onerous conditions on companies that earn its funding.

``We're making a bet. We want them to succeed,'' he said. ``This is a way for government to tap into cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology.''

PiXlogic's chief executive, Joseph Santucci, said the company is probably one year from adding effective face-recognition features to its software to help the CIA track photographs or videos of specific people.

The cloak-and-dagger software presently has only rudimentary ability to recognize a face and then find other photos and video footage of that person, although a demonstration of this feature by Santucci worked almost flawlessly.

Many current visual-search products rely on photographers or editors to manually assign keywords, dates or categories to photographs or videos describing their content, such as ``soccer game'' or ``President Bush speech.'' A few systems can study prominent colors in a picture to recognize that objects, for example, are mostly yellow or blue.

PiXlogic's software analyzes each photograph or video frame, identifies items by geometry, color and other qualities, and stores those details in tiny computer files associated with each image. It can quickly compare details from a sample image against details from millions of other images in a private picture library or on the Web.

Some photography experts expressed doubt that an automated system could yet categorize and find images as well as humans.

``That stuff has not been widely adapted so far,'' said John Harrison, a vice president at MerlinOne Inc. of Quincy, Mass., which makes photo-retrieval software. ``It's not that the technology or concept isn't interesting, but its current level of development isn't quite there.''


TOPICS: Breaking News; Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cia; facerecognition; inqtel; intelligence; pictures; pixlogic; q; software; technology

1 posted on 06/08/2003 9:34:28 PM PDT by certify
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: certify
NSA sex month http://washingtontimes.com/national/20030606-123327-5080r.htm
2 posted on 06/08/2003 9:38:12 PM PDT by certify
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: certify
SCAMMER MADE FBI SUCKERShttp://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/36199.htm
3 posted on 06/08/2003 9:41:11 PM PDT by certify
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: certify
This reminds me of photofinishing. Sometimes we would be running tests on automatic printing equipment. We'd queue up a reel with maybe fifty rolls of 35mm negatives and set the selection parameters in the negative scanner to look for the hue and saturation that is typical of flesh, then have the machine print only negatives that had a lot of it. It always found some nice nudes. Never send nude shots to a photofinisher.
4 posted on 06/08/2003 10:06:02 PM PDT by gcruse (Superstition is a mind in chains.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: hollywood; Myrddin; PatrioticAmerican; Poohbah
Smart guys ping.
6 posted on 06/08/2003 11:28:06 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: gcruse
And why not?
*chuckle*
7 posted on 06/09/2003 7:36:44 AM PDT by Darksheare (Nox aeternus en pax.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: certify
They're going to integrate this technology with red light cameras (among many others) and no one will notice that they live in a surveillance saturated police state even worse than East Germany.

I have no idea why people call this a free country.

8 posted on 06/09/2003 7:44:16 AM PDT by freeeee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: certify
Does the president have the power to overrule such policies at the NSA? I'd think he does, although I seriously doubt Bush would. He has essentially continued the Clinton policy on homosexuality.

MM

9 posted on 06/09/2003 7:59:52 AM PDT by MississippiMan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Travis McGee
They actually think finding hidden data in a picture hard? It is so easy, even the Linux crowd can do it. /haha

Seriously, data is found in a picture by finding data that doesn't conform to the picture format. Image drawers simply skip over that data when found. This isn't rocket science, and I know, because I am a rocket scientist.
10 posted on 06/09/2003 8:09:10 AM PDT by PatrioticAmerican (If the only way an American can get elected is through Mexican votes, we have a war to be waged.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: certify
CIA is using top secret Krusgnet technology.
11 posted on 06/09/2003 8:18:57 AM PDT by adam_az
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PatrioticAmerican
Sounds reasonable. I am interested in the ability of the govt to crunch vast oceans of data. In the book I use the Patriot Act and Patriot Two as background, the TIA as ongoing, and have the President just passing the USA, or "Universal Surveillance Act", which sucks together all digital imagery from all cameras everywhere.

Did you know that under the HSA and other bills the fed is subsidizing corporations to upgrade their video systems to digital, with the proviso that the fed gets a pipe? My fictional "USA" merely ratifies and formalizes the system.

12 posted on 06/09/2003 8:29:40 AM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: certify
This reminded me of the stories about the possibility that terrorists were communicating with each other via encrypted messages hidden within digital images:
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/DailyNews/webwatch011011.html

On a lighter note, there's that classic Hitchcock (1938, "The Lady Vanishes" with Dame Mae Whitty) WWII spy movie in which a few bars of music contain a secret message.

Of course this is different from the invasion of privacy that this article is talking about. I wonder though, how long it will be before other countries can spy on us in this way (via satellite). Maybe we have no choice.
13 posted on 06/09/2003 8:55:27 AM PDT by LibertyAndJusticeForAll
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PatrioticAmerican
I don't think that they are looking for hidden data -- they are talking about recognizing faces, cars, etc in the actual images. Not looking for some sort of steganography (sp?).
14 posted on 06/09/2003 11:42:08 AM PDT by Grit (Tolerance for all but the intolerant...and those who tolerate intolerance etc etc)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Travis McGee
...for example scouring the world's thousands of live web cam feeds in case Osama Bin Laden happens to stroll by in the background. (it could happen) ;)
15 posted on 06/09/2003 11:44:07 AM PDT by Grit (Tolerance for all but the intolerant...and those who tolerate intolerance etc etc)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Grit
Face recognition software works well, but it also can be defeated. It relies on geometric comparisons, sort of like fingerprints. i.e.; The nose is 1.25 centimeters long and 37.5 degree in alignment with the outer left eye. The Right eye is 3.5 centimeters from the left, etc. Sunglasses, a beard, some makeup, can defeat these things, but it is difficult.

I fear this technology, like any other, can seriously abused. Need to make a person guilty? Simply say they are it and the “fool proof” system proves it. Who argues with “fool proof” systems?

16 posted on 06/09/2003 12:33:37 PM PDT by PatrioticAmerican (If the only way an American can get elected is through Mexican votes, we have a war to be waged.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: certify
body>

The CIA is bankrolling efforts to improve technology designed to scour millions of digital photos or video clips for particular cars or street signs or even, some day, human faces.

Some day?   HAHAHAHAHAHAHA... that is the primary reason they want it.  Why would a stationary camera pic be of value if it included a street sign?  What is the difference between identical cars except license plates?

This entire statement is bs.

17 posted on 06/09/2003 7:43:31 PM PDT by TLI ( RKBA in the USA, hey! . . . . RKBA in the USA, hey!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gcruse
LOL....
I love American ingenuity.
18 posted on 06/09/2003 7:45:49 PM PDT by eddie willers
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson