Privacy SOS

Anarchist threat modeling and private data-mining for intelligence

Yesterday the independent surveillance researcher Asher Wolf tweeted an astonishing link to a private intelligence corporation's website containing a document entitled: "Tartan Influence Model: Anarchist Groups." The document was published  by a corporation called Tartan Metrics, a division of the information security, cyberwar and surveillance company NTREPID — a company that reportedly has a contract worth millions of dollars to create fake ("sockpuppet") Twitter accounts to spread US military propaganda. (UPDATE/Correction: The person who initially discovered this document is actually Twitter user @TelecomixBSRE, according to Wolf. Another update: Apparently @not_me was the first to discover the document.)

The "threat modeling" program appears to be intelligence and data mining software that alleges it can reveal "a hidden network of relationships," in this case "among anarchist leaders; a network that facilitates the spread of violent and illegal tactics to the broader protest movement in the United States." 

NTREPID's "influence model" program works as an add-on to the i2 software platform, which is in use nationwide at police surveillance "fusion centers," including here in Massachusetts. i2 manufactures the COPLINK program, a private platform used by public law enforcement and intelligence agencies to share information about suspects and other targets. 

Perhaps the strangest part of the NTREPID "influence model" sales sheet Wolf stumbled upon is this graph, allegedly portraying the patterns of power that connect the "anarchist" movement in the United States. Note that the radio program Citizen Radio, PBS, and Occupy Oakland are all noted as primary influencers (see left of diagram; click to enlarge). 

It's impossible to know whether this graph is a real model of what NTREPID thinks is the true network of anarchist power in the United States, or whether it's just a made up example. If it's the former, it appears as if an FBI informant sits at the center of two large anarchist networks in the US (the light blue supposedly denotes "FBI informant").

That raises a really important question: How does the NTREPID corporation know the identities of the FBI informants in the anarchist movement?

Look out for more on this story coming soon. For now, read more on data-mining.

© 2023 ACLU of Massachusetts.