Spies to get hi-tech boost


Spies to get hi-tech boost

Chris Jenkins

December 13, 2004

AUSTRALIA'S spies are to have their intelligence gathering capacity boosted by a new highly classified IT and communications project being run by the Defence Signals Directorate.

Under the heading of "Information Technology Broadcasting and Telecommunications, the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) has revealed some details of the signals intelligence (SIGINT) project, which includes database and storage, real time processing and intriguingly, a variety of radio interface technologies.

"Ultimately, work to be performed will be highly classified," Defence documents say.

Since the advent of the so-called "war on terror" in the wake on the terrorist attacks on the US in September 2001, improved capability in intelligence gathering has become a priority for the Federal Government.

The Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) has evolved to become the government's peak IT security advisor, while at the same time maintaining its traditional role in intelligence gathering and secure communications.

In the last federal Budget, Defence alone was allocated $54.5 million to boost its counter-terrorist capabilites, through improved analysis and signals intelligence. Australian-based spy agency ASIO received a $127 million boost over four years, while offshore intelligence organisation ASIS was given $45.6 million.

A request for tender issued to industry by Defence breaks the new project into two categories. The first encompasses the design, implementation and support of object oriented databases, with related standards including C++, Java and J2ee, Oracle, Cobra and Unix.

The first category also includes "near real-time processing, large data stores, and GUI or web-based presentation systems", the request for tender says.

The second radio interface category of work calls for HF, VHF and UHF radio systems, with digital signal processing and direction finding. The radio portion of the project also involves "software design and development (C++, Java/J2EE, COBRA) associated with systems management, signals and protocol processing and analysis".

The classified nature of the work means that all companies and their staff engaged in the project will be extensively vetted by DSD.

"Companies will be subject to further evaluation through the opportunity to deliver against minor to medium projects from DSD's development program," tender documents say.

Despite the extensive restrictions and caveats on the project though, a successful bid would open the door to a long term relationship with Defence's intelligence gathering operations.

"DSD is seeking to establish a strategic working relationship (necessitating the establishment of cleared and accredited facilities and information systems) with a limited number of industry organisations for the provision of ... development services over the coming decade," the request for tender says.

Australian IT

Informant: susan

Gait advances in emerging biometrics


Retinal scans, finger printing or facial recognition get most of the publicity but researchers across the world are quietly labouring away at alternative types of biometrics.

Recognition by the way someone walk (their gait), the shape of their ears, the rhythm they make when they tap and the involuntary response of ears to sounds all have the potential to raise the stock of biometric techniques.

According to Professor Mark Nixon, of the Image Speech and Recognition Research Group at the University of Southampton, each has unique advantages which makes them worth exploring.

Informant: susan

Otoacoustic Emissions


I wonder if we could record their voices this way?

Delgado perfected a device whereby he could talk into a cat's ear in one room, and hear it on a radio in the other room.


Informant: susan

Electronic Medical Implants - Promises & Perils


Mind Control


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