Memo from the Acting Director, Central Intelligence Agency, John E. McLaughlin, Langley, Virginia to President George W Bush
People, on the one hand, are paranoid about privacy. They jump up and down every time there’s any kind of new legislation to monitor or track them. God forbid you should try and monitor their internet usage or telephone calls for national security purposes. However, in a completely contradictory manner, people are also insanely keen to share everything about themselves with countless strangers. See the whole social networking phenomenon.
So, what if we built the ultimate social networking website. They’d be encouraged to upload detailed profile information, link themselves to all their friends, tell us how they met them, tag photographs of themselves — current and historical. And keep requesting more and more information, little by little. We’ll add a little “status” facility where they can publish exactly what they’re up to all day long. They might exaggerate or lie a little, but they’ll tire of that. Maybe, if we’re lucky, they’ll come to depend on this system a little.
So, instead of monitoring everyone, at our expense, they’ll monitor themselves for us. If we’re looking for someone, we’ll look for them here first. Find out who they hang out, what they like to do, where they’ve been. If we need a photo of them, we’ll have a large choice. And, because social networking does this, the lies will get filtered out by others. Like Wikipedia.
If we’re lucky and this goes viral, we’ll build the most comprehensive database of human activity on the planet, that feeds itself, no-one will resent (in fact, they’ll love it) and will be accessible at the touch of a button to any CIA operative.
What we show the users will be the tip of the iceberg: mainly information gathering. We will have exclusive use to the information mining tools. And that’ll be a list as long as you can imagine.
Sure, no terrorist is going to make himself a page on this system. But they’re not the ones we’re interested in here. This is for profiling the context in which crime takes place. It’s for the good, after all, of society.
And since it’s mainly about identifying people, how about we call it Facesearch? Too obvious? What about something else…how about…Facebook?
Please send me your suggestions and thoughts.
Note: This article is fictional, and in now way represents itself as official documentation of the CIA or anyone else. It’s a joke. At least, I hope it is.