Ground Report – by Robert Tilford
Move rover George Orwell – the Defense Advanced Research (DARPA) announced recently its new “deep web” search program for police and law enforcement called: “Memex” which will be able to search the far corners of internet content that is unattainable by modern, mainstream search engines, offering DARPA“technological superiority in the area of content indexing and Web search on the Internet.”
According to DARPA’s website:
“Today’s web searches use a centralized, one-size-fits-all approach that searches the Internet with the same set of tools for all queries. While that model has been wildly successful commercially, it does not work well for many government use cases. For example, it still remains a largely manual process that does not save sessions, requires nearly exact input with one-at-a-time entry, and doesn’t organize or aggregate results beyond a list of links. Moreover, common search practices miss information in the deep web—the parts of the web not indexed by standard commercial search engines—and ignore shared content across pages.
To help overcome these challenges, DARPA has launched the Memex program. Memex seeks to develop the next generation of search technologies and revolutionize the discovery, organization and presentation of search results. The goal is for users to be able to extend the reach of current search capabilities and quickly and thoroughly organize subsets of information based on individual interests. Memex also aims to produce search results that are more immediately useful to specific domains and tasks, and to improve the ability of military, government and commercial enterprises to find and organize mission-critical publically available information on the Internet.
“We’re envisioning a new paradigm for search that would tailor indexed content, search results and interface tools to individual users and specific subject areas, and not the other way around,” said Chris White , DARPA program manager. “By inventing better methods for interacting with and sharing information, we want to improve search for everybody and individualize access to information. Ease of use for non-programmers is essential.”
Memex would ultimately apply to any public domain content; initially, DARPA intends to develop Memex to address a key Defense Department mission: fighting human trafficking. Human trafficking is a factor in many types of military, law enforcement and intelligence investigations and has a significant web presence to attract customers. The use of forums, chats, advertisements, job postings, hidden services, etc., continues to enable a growing industry of modern slavery. An index curated for the counter-trafficking domain, along with configurable interfaces for search and analysis, would enable new opportunities to uncover and defeat trafficking enterprises” Source: DARPA http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2014/02/09.aspx
Memex, DARPA says, will be first employed against human trafficking, which, “especially for the commercial sex trade, is a line of business with significant Web presence to attract customers and is relevant to many types of military, law enforcement, and intelligence investigations.”
DARPA says that dark places online where trafficking occurs enables “a growing industry of modern slavery” that can be stopped with Memex capabilities.