Crowd-Sourced Intelligence Agency (CSIA) | 2015 - ongoing

The Crowd-Sourced Intelligence Agency (CSIA) is an interactive artwork that allows users to perform the role of an intelligence analyst through an online interface. The CSIA was created using technical manuals, research reports, academic papers, leaked documents, and Freedom of Information Act files. The goal of the CSIA is to expose potential problems, assumptions, or oversights inherent in current dataveillance processes in order to help people understand both the effectiveness of OSINT processing and its impact on our privacy.

The app consists of several components: 1) The Social Media Monitor, a surveillance interface where users evaluate Tweets based on their threat to national security. 2) Two Naïve Bayes supervised machine-learning classifiers that automatically label tweets as suspicious or not suspicious. The Agent Bayes classifier is trained on a corpus of manually labeled tweets created by researching and simulating the process and judgments of intelligence agents. The Crowd-Sourced Classifier is trained on a corpus labeled by visitors to Science Gallery Dublin’s SECRET exhibition. Users can review the algorithms’ suggestions for accuracy and idiosyncrasies. 3) The Social Media Post Inspector, where users can submit text to see if a post is likely to be considered threatening by intelligence agencies before sharing it on social media. 4) The Watchlist, where users can target themselves and others as subjects of social media monitoring, and which provides automated evaluations from our machine-learning classifiers to show how social media posts may be treated by OSINT surveillance systems. And 5) a Resource Library that links to documents that informed the creation of the app. The CSIA provides first-hand experience with social media monitoring, allowing users to choose how they want to navigate social media surveillance.

This work was made possible by the generous support of Science Gallery Dublin, and is done in collaboration with Derek Curry.