GOVT TO SEARCH FOREIGN NEWSPAPERS FOR "NEGATIVE OPINION"

Eric Lipton writes in the International Herald Tribune (10/5/2006) that software is being developed to make electronic surveys of "negative opinion" in overseas publications. Called "sentiment analysis," the software is being developed in such institutions as Cornell University, the University of PIttsburgh, and the University of Utah, Lipton reports.

"The new software would allow much more rapid and comprehensive monitoring of news media, as the Homeland Security Department and, perhaps, intelligence agencies look 'to identify common patterns from numerous sources of information wihch might be indicative of potential threats to the nation,'" says Lipton, quoting from a statement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Lipton notes that such research and implementation of the program has generated concern among foreign news organizations, journalism groups and privacy advocates.

Among them was one who worried that the information will be used to "stifle criticism about an American president or administration," Lipton reports.

The research is current and ongoing, and is funded by a group associated with the Central Intelligence Agency, according to Lipton.

A database used by researchers includes articles from American newspapers such as The New York Times and the Miami Herald, Lipton reports.

Comment: Now our opinions are spied upon?
Posted by Peter Duveen 10/26/2006