Fact: Chris Anderson, WIRED editor in chief and author of the Internet-era classic book “The Long Tail,” also runs a couple of Ning social networks focusing on what the intelligence community would call IMINT, or imagery intelligence – specifically DIY Drones, “a site for all things about amateur Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): How-to’s, videos, discussion and more,” and PictEarth, “a Social Network used to collect, link and geotag RC, UAV/UAS or Kite derived Earth imagery for use in 3D Globe Programs including Google Earth, Virtual Earth, World Wind and ArcGIS Explorer.”
Analysis: With these sites, Chris Anderson is promoting what he calls “Crowdsourced Aerial Imagery.” In the mission statement for DIY Drones, he writes that “Reasons to make your own UAV range from a fun technical challenge, student contests, aerial photography and mapping (what we call “GeoCrawling”), and scientific sensing. We are primarily interested in civilian, not military, UAV uses here.” (Emphasis is in the original.)
Let’s presume that individual DoD or intelligence-agency personnel have an interest in such issues, and maybe even in spending their personal time by keeping current and following the crowd’s interest in such topics, by participating in these new social networks. One can then assume that others from foreign intelligence might have some interest in tracking those very IC personnel, by observing their activities within social networks (and not just Ning ones). No spectacular logic needed for that.
The CIA has had some challenges in understanding their field presence within the Long Tail.
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