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[infowar.de] US Intelligence Agencies Get Their Own Top Secret Version Of Wikipedia
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American Intelligence Agencies Get Their Own Top Secret Version Of Wikipedia
While the US military has been putting pressure on blogging soldiers to
shut down their blogs, it appears that the government isn't completely
against making use of social software where appropriate. Apparently, the
U.S. intelligence community has been hard at work coming up with their
own, internal, version of Wikipedia, dubbed Intellipedia. The idea is to
get the various parts of the intelligence community to more easily
collaborate and share this kind of information, rather than burying it
silos. This seems like a perfectly reasonable use of the technology, and
we're pretty sure it didn't cost the hundreds upon hundreds of millions of
dollars that organizations like the FBI have thrown away on computer
systems recently. The real question is whether or not people will really
use it -- and the initial answer seems to be that they're off to a good
start. 28,000 pages and 3,600 registered users in just seven months.
While, obviously, we can't see how it's actually being used, it sounds
like the type of basic, collaborative tool that should be available to the
U.S. intelligence unveils spy version of Wikipedia
Tue Oct 31, 2006 6:39 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. intelligence community on Tuesday unveiled
its own secretive version of Wikipedia, saying the popular online
encyclopedia format known for its openness is key to the future of
The office of U.S. intelligence czar John Negroponte announced
Intellipedia, which allows intelligence analysts and other officials to
collaboratively add and edit content on the government's classified
Intelink Web much like its more famous namesake on the World Wide Web.
A "top secret" Intellipedia system, currently available to the 16 agencies
that make up the U.S. intelligence community, has grown to more than
28,000 pages and 3,600 registered users since its introduction on April
17. Less restrictive versions exist for "secret" and "sensitive but
The system is also available to the Transportation Security Administration
and national laboratories.
Intellipedia is currently being used to assemble a major intelligence
report, known as a national intelligence estimate, on Nigeria as well as
the State Department's annual country reports on terrorism, officials said.
Some day it may also be the path intelligence officials take to produce
the president's daily intelligence briefing.
But the system, which makes data available to thousands of users who would
not see it otherwise, has also stirred qualms about potential security
lapses following the recent media leak of a national intelligence estimate
that caused a political uproar by identifying Iraq as a contributor to the
growth of global terrorism.
"We're taking a risk," acknowledged Michael Wertheimer, the intelligence
community's chief technical officer. "There's a risk it's going to show up
in the media, that it'll be leaked."
Intelligence officials say the format is perfect for sharing information
between agencies, a centerpiece of the reform legislation that established
Negroponte's office as national intelligence director after the September
They also said it could lead to more accurate intelligence reports because
the system allows a wider range of officials to scrutinize material and
keeps a complete, permanent record of individual contributions including
dissenting points of view.
That might help avoid errors of the kind that led to the widely criticized
2002 national intelligence estimate that said Saddam Hussein possessed
large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.
Intelligence officials are so enthusiastic about Intellipedia that they
plan to provide access to Britain, Canada and Australia.
Even China could be granted access to help produce an unclassified
intelligence estimate on the worldwide threat posed by infectious diseases.
"We'd hope to get down to the doctor in Shanghai who may have a useful
contribution on avian flu," senior intelligence analyst Fred Hassani said.
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