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Mind Reading -- 60 minutes CBS News video
June 28, 2009 4:50 PM
Neuroscience has learned so much about how we think and the brain activity linked to certain thoughts that it is now possible - on a very basic scale - to read a person's mind. Lesley Stahl reports.
How Technology May Soon "Read" Your Mind
Read more: 
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/1998/07/08/60minutes/main4694713.sht...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,426485,00.html

LiveScience Topics: Mind Reading

Mind-machine interfaces can read your mind, and the science is improving. Devices scan the brain and read brain waves with electroencephalography, or EEG, then use a computer to convert thoughts into action. Some mind-reading research has recorded electrical activity generated by the firing of nerve cells in the brain by placing electrodes directly in the brain. These studies could lead to brain implants that would move a prosthetic arm or other assistive devices controlled by a brain-computer interface.

http://utdev.livescience.com/topic/mind-reading

 

16:09 03/11/2010 © Alex Steffler

Rossiiskaya Gazeta
Mind-reading devices to help screen Russian cops

It reads like science fiction, but it’ll soon be science fact. Special mind-reading devices are to be rolled out across Russia’s revamped police force.
http://en.rian.ru/papers/20101103/161202851.html

 

Homeland Security Detects Terrorist Threats by Reading Your MindTuesday, September 23, 2008
By Allison Barrie
Baggage searches are SOOOOOO early-21st century. Homeland Security is now testing the next generation of security screening — a body scanner that can read your mind.

Most preventive screening looks for explosives or metals that pose a threat. But a new system called MALINTENT turns the old school approach on its head. This Orwellian-sounding machine detects the person — not the device — set to wreak havoc and terror.

MALINTENT, the brainchild of the cutting-edge Human Factors division in Homeland Security's directorate for Science and Technology, searches your body for non-verbal cues that predict whether you mean harm to your fellow passengers.

It has a series of sensors and imagers that read your body temperature, heart rate and respiration for unconscious tells invisible to the naked eye — signals terrorists and criminals may display in advance of an attack.

But this is no polygraph test. Subjects do not get hooked up or strapped down for a careful reading; those sensors do all the work without any actual physical contact. It's like an X-ray for bad intentions.

Currently, all the sensors and equipment are packaged inside a mobile screening laboratory about the size of a trailer or large truck bed, and just last week, Homeland Security put it to a field test in Maryland, scanning 144 mostly unwitting human subjects.

While I'd love to give you the full scoop on the unusual experiment, testing is ongoing and full disclosure would compromise future tests.

• Click here for an exclusive look at MALINTENT in action.

But what I can tell you is that the test subjects were average Joes living in the D.C. area who thought they were attending something like a technology expo; in order for the experiment to work effectively and to get the testing subjects to buy in, the cover story had to be convincing.

While the 144 test subjects thought they were merely passing through an entrance way, they actually passed through a series of sensors that screened them for bad intentions.

Homeland Security also selected a group of 23 attendees to be civilian "accomplices" in their test. They were each given a "disruptive device" to carry through the portal — and, unlike the other attendees, were conscious that they were on a mission.

In order to conduct these tests on human subjects, DHS had to meet rigorous safety standards to ensure the screening would not cause any physical or emotional harm.

So here's how it works. When the sensors identify that something is off, they transmit warning data to analysts, who decide whether to flag passengers for further questioning. The next step involves micro-facial scanning, which involves measuring minute muscle movements in the face for clues to mood and intention.

Homeland Security has developed a system to recognize, define and measure seven primary emotions and emotional cues that are reflected in contractions of facial muscles. MALINTENT identifies these emotions and relays the information back to a security screener almost in real-time.

This whole security array — the scanners and screeners who make up the mobile lab — is called "Future Attribute Screening Technology" — or FAST — because it is designed to get passengers through security in two to four minutes, and often faster.

If you're rushed or stressed, you may send out signals of anxiety, but FAST isn't fooled. It's already good enough to tell the difference between a harried traveler and a terrorist. Even if you sweat heavily by nature, FAST won't mistake you for a baddie.

"If you focus on looking at the person, you don't have to worry about detecting the device itself," said Bob Burns, MALINTENT's project leader. And while there are devices out there that look at individual cues, a comprehensive screening device like this has never before been put together.

While FAST's batting average is classified, Undersecretary for Science and Technology Adm. Jay Cohen declared the experiment a "home run."

As cold and inhuman as the electric eye may be, DHS says scanners are unbiased and nonjudgmental. "It does not predict who you are and make a judgment, it only provides an assessment in situations," said Burns. "It analyzes you against baseline stats when you walk in the door, it measures reactions and variations when you approach and go through the portal."

But the testing — and the device itself — are not without their problems. This invasive scanner, which catalogues your vital signs for non-medical reasons, seems like an uninvited doctor's exam and raises many privacy issues.

But DHS says this is not Big Brother. Once you are through the FAST portal, your scrutiny is over and records aren't kept. "Your data is dumped," said Burns. "The information is not maintained — it doesn't track who you are."

DHS is now planning an even wider array of screening technology, including an eye scanner next year and pheromone-reading technology by 2010.

The team will also be adding equipment that reads body movements, called "illustrative and emblem cues." According to Burns, this is achievable because people "move in reaction to what they are thinking, more or less based on the context of the situation."

FAST may also incorporate biological, radiological and explosive detection, but for now the primary focus is on identifying and isolating potential human threats.

And because FAST is a mobile screening laboratory, it could be set up at entrances to stadiums, malls and in airports, making it ever more difficult for terrorists to live and work among us.

Burns noted his team's goal is to "restore a sense of freedom." Once MALINTENT is rolled out in airports, it could give us a future where we can once again wander onto planes with super-sized cosmetics and all the bottles of water we can carry — and most importantly without that sense of foreboding that has haunted Americans since Sept. 11.

Allison Barrie, a security and terrorism consultant with the Commission for National Security in the 21st Century, is FOX News' security columnist.

 

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Advanced Brain Monitoring's research interests include neurocognitive profiling for personalized medicine, interactive neuroeducational technologies for enhancing performance, fatigue management, and the integration of neurophysiology into the human-computer interface. Further interests include mitigation of the effects of sleep deprivation, classification of physiological metrics, sleep neurotherapy for treatment of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and customized commercial EEG system development. We are currently conducting numerous research studies (see scientific publications) and continue to actively seek research collaborations in these and other areas.

http://www.b-alert.com/research.html

The New Thought Police

The NSA Wants to Know How You Think—Maybe Even What You Think

  • By James Bamford     Posted 01.01.09

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military/nsa-police.html

The National Security Agency (NSA) is developing a tool that George Orwell's Thought Police might have found useful: an artificial intelligence system designed to gain insight into what people are thinking.

With the entire Internet and thousands of databases for a brain, the device will be able to respond almost instantaneously to complex questions posed by intelligence analysts. As more and more data is collected—through phone calls, credit card receipts, social networks like Facebook and MySpace, GPS tracks, cell phone geolocation, Internet searches, Amazon book purchases, even E-Z Pass toll records—it may one day be possible to know not just where people are and what they are doing, but what and how they think.

The system is so potentially intrusive that at least one researcher has quit, citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability.

NSA headquarters

The National Security Agency's eavesdropping on phone calls, e-mails, and other communications skyrocketed after 9/11. But that was only the beginning of its high-tech invasiveness, as Bamford reports. Above, NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. Enlarge Photo credit: Courtesy NSA

Getting Aquaint

Known as Aquaint, which stands for "Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence," the project was run for many years by John Prange, an NSA scientist at the Advanced Research and Development Activity. Headquartered in Room 12A69 in the NSA's Research and Engineering Building at 1 National Business Park, ARDA was set up by the agency to serve as a sort of intelligence community DARPA, the place where former Reagan national security advisor John Poindexter's infamous Total Information Awareness project was born. [Editor's note: TIA was a short-lived project founded in 2002 to apply information technology to counter terrorist and other threats to national security.] Later named the Disruptive Technology Office, ARDA has now morphed into the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).

A sort of national laboratory for eavesdropping and other spycraft, IARPA will move into its new 120,000-square-foot home in 2009. The building will be part of the new M Square Research Park in College Park, Maryland. A mammoth two million-square-foot, 128-acre complex, it is operated in collaboration with the University of Maryland. "Their budget is classified, but I understand it's very well funded," said Brian Darmody, the University of Maryland's assistant vice president of research and economic development, referring to IARPA. "They'll be in their own building here, and they're going to grow. Their mission is expanding."

Man with headset

Bamford calls the widespread (and warrantless) monitoring of average citizens' communications overseen by the NSA "the surveillance-industrial complex." Enlarge Photo credit: © 2009 WGBH Educational Foundation

If IARPA is the spy world's DARPA, Aquaint may be the reincarnation of Poindexter's TIA. After a briefing by NSA Director Michael Hayden, Vice President Dick Cheney, and CIA Director George Tenet of some of the NSA's data mining programs in July 2003, Senator Jay Rockefeller IV, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote a concerned letter to Cheney. "As I reflected on the meeting today," he said, "John Poindexter's TIA project sprung to mind, exacerbating my concern regarding the direction the administration is moving with regard to security, technology, and surveillance."

Building "Hal"

The original goal of Aquaint, which dates back to the 1990s, was simply to develop a sophisticated method of picking the right needles out of a vast haystack of information and coming up with the answer to a question. As with TIA, many universities were invited to contribute brainpower to the project. But in the aftermath of the attacks on 9/11, with the creation of the NSA's secret warrantless eavesdropping program and the buildup of massive databases, the project began taking on a more urgent tone.

"Think of 2001: A Space Odyssey and the most memorable character, HAL 9000. We are building HAL."

In a 2004 pilot project, a mass of data was gathered from news stories taken from the New York Times, the AP news wire, and the English portion of the Chinese Xinhua news wire covering 1998 to 2000. Then, 13 U.S. military intelligence analysts searched the data and came up with a number of scenarios based on the material. Finally, using those scenarios, an NSA analyst developed 50 topics, and in each of those topics created a series of questions for Aquaint's computerized brain to answer. "Will the Japanese use force to defend the Senkakus?" was one. "What types of disputes or conflict between the PLA [People's Liberation Army] and Hong Kong residents have been reported?" was another. And "Who were the participants in this spy ring, and how are they related to each other?" was a third. Since then, the NSA has attempted to build both on the complexity of the system—more essay-like answers rather than yes or no—and on attacking greater volumes of data.

image from A Space Odyssey

The NSA would essentially like to create the spy-agency equivalent of "HAL 9000," the computer in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey that converses with the astronaut David Bowman (played by Keir Dullea). Enlarge Photo credit: © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

"The technology behaves like a robot, understanding and answering complex questions," said a former Aquaint researcher. "Think of 2001: A Space Odyssey and the most memorable character, HAL 9000, having a conversation with David. We are essentially building this system. We are building HAL." A naturalized U.S. citizen who received her Ph.D. from Columbia, the researcher worked on the program for several years but eventually left due to moral concerns. "The system can answer the question, 'What does X think about Y?'" she said. "Working for the government is great, but I don't like looking into other people's secrets. I am interested in helping people and helping physicians and patients for the quality of people's lives." The researcher now focuses on developing similar search techniques for the medical community.

Thought policeman

A supersmart search engine, capable of answering complex questions such as "What were the major issues in the last 10 presidential elections?" would be very useful for the public. But that same capability in the hands of an agency like the NSA—absolutely secret, often above the law, resistant to oversight, and with access to petabytes of private information about Americans—could be a privacy and civil liberties nightmare. "We must not forget that the ultimate goal is to transfer research results into operational use," said Aquaint project leader John Prange, in charge of information exploitation for IARPA.

Edmond O'Brien

In George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984, a civil servant named Winston Smith (played in the 1955 movie by Edmond O'Brien, seen here) loses all privacy as Big Brother and his Thought Police bring him under constant surveillance. Is the NSA today's Big Brother? Enlarge Photo credit: © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis

Once up and running, the database of old newspapers could quickly be expanded to include an inland sea of personal information scooped up by the agency's warrantless data suction hoses. Unregulated, they could ask it to determine which Americans might likely pose a security risk—or have sympathies toward a particular cause, such as the antiwar movement, as was done during the 1960s and 1970s. The Aquaint robospy might then base its decision on the type of books a person purchased online, or chat room talk, or websites visited—or a similar combination of data. Such a system would have an enormous chilling effect on everyone's everyday activities—what will the Aquaint computer think if I buy this book, or go to that website, or make this comment? Will I be suspected of being a terrorist or a spy or a subversive?

Controlling brain waves

Collecting information, however, has always been far less of a problem for the NSA than understanding it, and that means knowing the language. To expand its linguistic capabilities, the agency established another new organization, the Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL), and housed it in a building near IARPA at the M Square Research Park. But far from simply learning the meaning of foreign words, CASL, like Aquaint, attempts to find ways to get into someone's mind and understand what he or she is thinking.

Like something out of a B-grade sci-fi movie, CASL is even training employees to control their own brain waves.

One area of study is to attempt to determine if people are lying simply by watching their behavior and listening to them speak. According to one CASL document, "Many deception cues are difficult to identify, particularly when they are subtle, such as changes in verb tense or extremely brief facial expressions. CASL researchers are studying these cues in detail with advanced measurement and statistical analysis techniques in order to recommend ways to identify deceptive cue combinations."

control room at NSA headquarters

Ever watching and listening: a control room at NSA headquarters. Enlarge Photo credit: © 2009 WGBH Educational Foundation

Another area of focus explores the "growing need to work with foreign text that is incomplete," such as partly deciphered messages or a corrupted hard drive or the intercept of only one side of a conversation. The center is thus attempting to find ways to prod the agency's cipher-brains to fill in the missing blanks. "In response," says the report, "CASL's cognitive neuroscience team has been studying the cognitive basis of working memory's capacity for filling in incomplete areas of text. They have made significant headway in this research by using a powerful high-density electroencephalogram (EEG) machine acquired in 2006." The effort is apparently directed at discovering what parts of the brain are used when very good cryptanalysts are able to guess correctly the missing words and phrases in a message.

Like something out of a B-grade sci-fi movie, CASL is even trying to turn dull minds into creative geniuses by training employees to control their own brain waves: "The cognitive neuroscience team has also been researching divergent thinking: creative, innovative and flexible thinking valuable for language work. They are exploring ways to improve divergent thinking using the EEG and neurobiological feedback. A change in brain-wave activity is believed to be critical for generating creative ideas, so the team trains its subjects to change their brain-wave activity."

James Bamford is the author of three books on the National Security Agency, including the 2008 The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, from which this article was adapted with kind permission of Doubleday. Bamford coproduced, with Scott Willis, NOVA's "The Spy Factory," which was based on this book.

 

Online Impersonation Is A Crime Now In Carlifornia

http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/01/california-bill-criminalizing-online-impersonations-in-effect-starting-today/

So, whoever try to pretend he is Bill Gates in Facebook, think again.

 BRAIN SIGNATURE WAVE FORM DETECTOR

ULTIMO BRAINWAVE ANALYSIS & BIOFEEDBACK / BIOCONTROL DEVICE

http://peacepink.ning.com/profiles/blogs/commercially-available

Controlling the Brain with Light (Karl Deisseroth, Stanford University)


 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8bPbHuOZXg&feature=player_embedded

University of Cambridge :Mind-reading machines

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/research/rainbow/emotions/mrm.html

Rana el Kaliouby & Peter Robinson

Photographs of Florence Lawrence
Silent screen star Florence Lawrence
displaying a range of emotions

People express their mental states, including emotions, thoughts, and desires, all the time through facial expressions, vocal nuances and gestures. This is true even when they are interacting with machines. Our mental states shape the decisions that we make, govern how we communicate with others, and affect our performance. The ability to attribute mental states to others from their behaviour, and to use that knowledge to guide our own actions and predict those of others is known as theory of mind or mind-reading. It has recently gained attention with the growing number of people with Autism Spectrum Conditions, who have difficulties mind-reading.

Existing human-computer interfaces are mind-blind — oblivious to the user’s mental states and intentions. A computer may wait indefinitely for input from a user who is no longer there, or decide to do irrelevant tasks while a user is frantically working towards an imminent deadline. As a result, existing computer technologies often frustrate the user, have little persuasive power and cannot initiate interactions with the user. Even if they do take the initiative, like the now retired Microsoft Paperclip, they are often misguided and irrelevant, and simply frustrate the user. With the increasing complexity of computer technologies and the ubiquity of mobile and wearable devices, there is a need for machines that are aware of the user’s mental state and that adaptively respond to these mental states.

A computational model of mind-reading

Processing stages
Processing stages in the mind-reading system

Drawing inspiration from psychology, computer vision and machine learning, our team in the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge has developed mind-reading machines — computers that implement a computational model of mind-reading to infer mental states of people from their facial signals. The goal is to enhance human-computer interaction through empathic responses, to improve the productivity of the user and to enable applications to initiate interactions with and on behalf of the user, without waiting for explicit input from that user. There are difficult challenges:

  • It involves uncertainty, since a person’s mental state can only be inferred indirectly by analyzing the behaviour of that person. Even people are not perfect at reading the minds of others.
  • Automatic analysis of the face from video is still an area of active research in its own right.
  • There is no ‘code-book’ to interpret facial expressions as corresponding mental states.

Using a digital video camera, the mind-reading computer system analyzes a person’s facial expressions in real time and infers that person’s underlying mental state, such as whether he or she is agreeing or disagreeing, interested or bored, thinking or confused. The system is informed by the latest developments in the theory of mind-reading by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, who leads the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge.

Prior knowledge of how particular mental states are expressed in the face is combined with analysis of facial expressions and head gestures occurring in real time. The model represents these at different granularities, starting with face and head movements and building those in time and in space to form a clearer model of what mental state is being represented. Software from Nevenvision identifies 24 feature points on the face and tracks them in real time. Movement, shape and colour are then analyzed to identify gestures like a smile or eyebrows being raised. Combinations of these occurring over time indicate mental states. For example, a combination of a head nod, with a smile and eyebrows raised might mean interest. The relationship between observable head and facial displays and the corresponding hidden mental states over time is modelled using Dynamic Bayesian Networks.

Results

Images from the Mind-reading DVD
Images from the Mind-reading DVD

The system was trained using 100 8-second video clips of actors expressing particular emotions from the Mind Reading DVD, an interactive computer-based guide to reading emotions. The resulting analysis is right 90% of the time when the clips are of actors and 65% of the time when shown video clips of non-actors. The system’s performance was as good as the top 6% of people in a panel of 20 who were asked to label the same set of videos.

Previous computer programs have detected the six basic emotional states of happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise and disgust. This system recognizes complex states that are more useful because they come up more frequently in interactions. However, they are also harder to detect because they are conveyed in a sequence of movements rather than a single expression. Most other systems assume a direct mapping between facial expressions and emotion, but our system interprets the facial and head gestures in the context of the person’s most recent mental state, so the same facial expression may imply different mental states in diffrent contexts.

Current projects and future work

Monitoring a car driver
Monitoring a car driver

The mind-reading computer system presents information about your mental state as easily as a keyboard and mouse present text and commands. Imagine a future where we are surrounded with mobile phones, cars and online services that can read our minds and react to our moods. How would that change our use of technology and our lives? We are working with a major car manufacturer to implement this system in cars to detect driver mental states such as drowsiness, distraction and anger.

Current projects in Cambridge are considering further inputs such as body posture and gestures to improve the inference. We can then use the same models to control the animation of cartoon avatars. We are also looking at the use of mind-reading to support on-line shopping and learning systems. The mind-reading computer system may also be used to monitor and suggest improvements in human-human interaction. The Affective Computing Group at the MIT Media Laboratory is developing an emotional-social intelligence prosthesis that explores new technologies to augment and improve people’s social interactions and communication skills.

We are also exploring the ethical implications and privacy issues raised by this research. Do we want machines to watch us and understand our emotions? Mind-reading machines will undoubtedly raise the complexity of human-computer interaction to include concepts such as exaggeration, disguise and deception that were previously limited to communications between people.

'Mind-reading' software could record your dreams

 

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16267-mindreading-software-co...

Released:11/22/2010 9:30 AM EST
Columbia University and Neuromatters, LLC announced that they have entered into an agreement to develop a novel brain-computer interface (BCI) technology for rapid identification of relevant images.

http://techventures.columbia.edu/news/columbia-university-and-neuro... 

Columbia University and Neuromatters, LLC to develop brain-computer interface technology for rapid image analysis of visual images


New York, NY – Columbia University and Neuromatters, LLC announced that they have entered into an agreement to develop a novel brain-computer interface (BCI) technology for rapid identification of relevant images.

The human brain reacts to images of interest at a pace that is far faster than a person can consciously register.  Researchers at Columbia University have developed a technology, “Cortically Coupled Computer Vision (C3Vision)”, that takes advantage of this near-subconscious ability and pairs it with the processing power and efficiency of computers for rapid identification of images that the brain finds relevant.

C3Vision relies on a suite of patented machine learning algorithms which are trained to recognize what is of interest to a human viewer in a given context.  Wearing an electroencephalography (EEG) cap with electrodes that capture electrical activity of the brain, a person is shown a sequence of images at a rapid pace.  Each time an image of interest is displayed, the brain emits a distinctive electrical signal which is captured and decoded by the technology.  Based on the strength of these neural responses, images are ranked.  Over time, the technology learns what types of images are of interest to the viewer, and can eventually identify such images on its own.     

“Computer vision systems are good at crunching through lots of data, but rather poor at characterizing images and scenes based on abstract and subjective concepts such as ‘that’s interesting’ or ‘I like that’ ,” said Paul Sajda, PhD, Director of the Laboratory for Intelligent Imaging and Neural Computing and a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and of Radiology at Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and Columbia University Medical Center, respectively. “In contrast, the human visual system is exceedingly good at abstract and subjective scene analysis and image understanding, though would obviously be overwhelmed by having to analyze information from millions of images. 

With a combined $4.6 million of support from DARPA Neuromatters and Columbia are collaborating on the development of an integrated image triage system based on the C3Vision technology. The system will be used and evaluated in operational environments by government image analysts to examine vast areas of satellite imagery for specific physical characteristics. The system may also extend to video surveillance and security, where the aim is to identify suspicious activity.

“We are very excited about our collaboration with Columbia University on the DARPA program and look forward to exploring new applications for C3Vision,” said Barbara Hanna, CEO of Neuromatters. “Our goal is to push the envelope of brain-machine interfaces and establish them in areas where information overload is already emerging as a huge problem, and C3Vision has the potential to provide transformative possibilities to help address this problem.”

Donna See, the officer at Columbia Technology Ventures who manages the C3Vision patent portfolio, believes there could be significant potential for the technology in consumer markets, “We can certainly envision C3Vision applied to image-rich online contexts, such as fashion, furnishings, even real estate and travel, learning the preferences of tastemakers and buyers to create truly customized and targeted retail experiences.”

###

About Columbia Technology Ventures
A leading academic and research university, Columbia University continually seeks to advance the frontiers of knowledge and to foster a campus community deeply engaged in understanding and addressing the complex global issues of our time. Columbia University's technology transfer office, Columbia Technology Ventures, manages Columbia's intellectual property portfolio and serves as the university's gateway for companies and entrepreneurs seeking novel technology solutions. Our core mission is to facilitate the transfer of inventions from academic research to outside organizations for the benefit of society on a local, national and global basis. For more information on Columbia Technology Ventures, please visit www.techventures.columbia.edu.

About Neuromatters, LLC
Neuromatters (www.neuromatters.com) is a New-York based neurotechnology research & development company designing and building neural signal processing and brain-computer interface systems for capturing and decoding brain activity. Founded by recognized neuroengineering and machine learning experts, Neuromatters' mission is to help people navigate the digital information tsunami, by quickly and effectively helping them find and focus on information that matters to them.

The app that can read your mind: iPhone brainwave detector arrives (it was only a matter of time)

By Matt Blake

Last updated at 10:24 AM on 14th January 2011

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1346900/The-app-read...

It's a device that would be more at home on the set of a Star Wars movie than the streets of Britain.

But an iPhone application has been developed that can read minds.

The XWave allows users to control on-screen objects with their minds as well as train their brains to control attention spans and relaxation levels.

Scroll down for video

No-brainer: The XWave allows users to control on-screen objects with their minds as well as train their brains to control attention spans and relaxation levels

No-brainer: The XWave allows users to control on-screen objects with their minds as well as train their brains to control attention spans and relaxation levels

The device - that could confuse Luke Skywalker himself - is the latest in the field of emerging mind-controlled games and devices and works via a headset strapped around the user's forehead, plugging into the iPhone jack.

A state-of-the-art sensor within the device can then read the user's brainwaves through the skull, converting them into digital signals before displaying them in various colours on the iPhone screen.

State of the art: A sensor within the device can then read the user's brainwaves through the skull, converting them into digital signals before displaying them in various colours on the iPhone screen

State of the art: A sensor within the device can then read the user's brainwaves through the skull, converting them into digital signals before displaying them in various colours on the iPhone screen

And as the mind focuses on a particular task the graphics change, indicating the user's level of concentration or relaxation.

The high-tech sensor was developed by innovations giant PLX Devices using technology that has for years been used by doctors to treat epilepsy and seizures in patients.

Brain train: As the mind focuses on a particular task the graphics change, indicating the user's level of concentration or relaxation

Brain train: As the mind focuses on a particular task the graphics change, indicating the user's level of concentration or relaxation

But PLX Devices founder and CEO Paul Lowchareonkul said it was a matter of time before such contraptions entered the mainstream.

He said: 'The human brain is the most powerful, complex thing in the universe, and for the first time, we're able to harness its amazing power and connect it to everyday technology.

'With the development of 3rd party apps, the potential for innovation is limitless.'

Brain-training exercises include levitating an on-screen ball for a certain amount of time or changing a colour by relaxing the brain in a bid to maximise the brain's attention span.

And designers say it won't stop there.

Incredibly, another app, called XWave Tunes allow users to connect with each other through the type of music that most stimulates their brainwaves.

The company says it is working on other ways in which the futuristic technology can be applied such as playing games through the mind, controlling the lights at home and even choosing what music to listen to on an iPod depending on the user's mood.

Its designers claim the possibilities are endless, whether it is for relaxation, brain training, entertainment, games, social networking, sports or sleep.

 

can a satellite read your thoughts?
http://deepthought.newsvine.com/_news/2010/07/13/4656599-can-a-satellite-read-your-thoughts-physics-revealed
http://deepthought.newsvine.com/_news/2010/09/20/5139785-can-a-satellite-read-your-thoughts-physics-revealed-part-2
http://deepthought.new.newsvine.com/_news/2010/10/03/5223971-can-a-satellite-read-your-thoughts-physics-revealed-part-3
http://deepthought.newsvine.com/_news/2010/10/09/5262967-can-a-satellite-read-your-thoughts-physics-revealed-part-4

very good blurbing.  I enjoyed a lot of your talking points and am very happy to see that you are bringing your neighbors up to date on their current events. The right to privacy is our right to keep a domain around us, which include all of those things that are part of us, such as our body, thoughts, home, feelings, secrets, and identity. The right to privacy gives us the ability to choose which parts in this domain can be accessed by others and to control the extent, manner, timing of the use of the parts we choose to disclose.

Soleilmavis said:

Monitoring America

By DANA PRIEST and WILLIAM M. ARKIN

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/moni...

Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.

 

The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation's history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

 

The government's goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States.

 

Other democracies - Britain and Israel, to name two - are well acquainted with such domestic security measures. But for the United States, the sum of these new activities represents a new level of governmental scrutiny.

 

This localized intelligence apparatus is part of a larger Top Secret America created since the attacks. In July, The Washington Post described an alternative geography of the United States, one that has grown so large, unwieldy and secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs or how many programs exist within it.

 

Today's story, along with related material on The Post's Web site, examines how Top Secret America plays out at the local level. It describes a web of 4,058 federal, state and local organizations, each with its own counterterrorism responsibilities and jurisdictions. At least 935 of these organizations have been created since the 2001 attacks or became involved in counterterrorism for the first time after 9/11.

 

(Search our database for your state to find a detailed profile of counterterrorism efforts in your community.)

 

The months-long investigation, based on nearly 100 interviews and 1,000 documents, found that:

 

* Technologies and techniques honed for use on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan have migrated into the hands of law enforcement agencies in America.

 

* The FBI is building a database with the names and certain personal information, such as employment history, of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents whom a local police officer or a fellow citizen believed to be acting suspiciously. It is accessible to an increasing number of local law enforcement and military criminal investigators, increasing concerns that it could somehow end up in the public domain.

 

* Seeking to learn more about Islam and terrorism, some law enforcement agencies have hired as trainers self-described experts whose extremist views on Islam and terrorism are considered inaccurate and counterproductive by the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies.

 

* The Department of Homeland Security sends its state and local partners intelligence reports with little meaningful guidance, and state reports have sometimes inappropriately reported on lawful meetings.

 

The need to identify U.S.-born or naturalized citizens who are planning violent attacks is more urgent than ever, U.S. intelligence officials say. This month's FBI sting operation involving a Baltimore construction worker who allegedly planned to bomb a Maryland military recruiting station is the latest example. It followed a similar arrest of a Somali-born naturalized U.S. citizen allegedly seeking to detonate a bomb near a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore. There have been nearly two dozen other cases just this year.

 

"The old view that 'if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won't have to fight them here' is just that - the old view," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told police and firefighters recently.

 

The Obama administration heralds this local approach as a much-needed evolution in the way the country confronts terrorism.

 

However, just as at the federal level, the effectiveness of these programs, as well as their cost, is difficult to determine. The Department of Homeland Security, for example, does not know how much money it spends each year on what are known as state fusion centers, which bring together and analyze information from various agencies within a state.

 

The total cost of the localized system is also hard to gauge. The DHS has given $31 billion in grants since 2003 to state and local governments for homeland security and to improve their ability to find and protect against terrorists, including $3.8 billion in 2010. At least four other federal departments also contribute to local efforts. But the bulk of the spending every year comes from state and local budgets that are too disparately recorded to aggregate into an overall total.

 

The Post findings paint a picture of a country at a crossroads, where long-standing privacy principles are under challenge by these new efforts to keep the nation safe.

 

The public face of this pivotal effort is Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona, which years ago built one of the strongest state intelligence organizations outside of New York to try to stop illegal immigration and drug importation.

 

Napolitano has taken her "See Something, Say Something" campaign far beyond the traffic signs that ask drivers coming into the nation's capital for "Terror Tips" and to "Report Suspicious Activity."

 

She recently enlisted the help of Wal-Mart, Amtrak, major sports leagues, hotel chains and metro riders. In her speeches, she compares the undertaking to the Cold War fight against communists.

 

"This represents a shift for our country," she told New York City police officers and firefighters on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary this fall. "In a sense, this harkens back to when we drew on the tradition of civil defense and preparedness that predated today's concerns."

 

----------------------------------------------------------------

From Afghanistan to Tennessee

 

On a recent night in Memphis, a patrol car rolled slowly through a parking lot in a run-down section of town. The military-grade infrared camera on its hood moved robotically from left to right, snapping digital images of one license plate after another and analyzing each almost instantly.

 

Suddenly, a red light flashed on the car's screen along with the word "warrant."

 

"Got a live one! Let's do it," an officer called out.

 

The streets of Memphis are a world away from the streets of Kabul, yet these days, the same types of technologies and techniques are being used in both places to identify and collect information about suspected criminals and terrorists.

 

The examples go far beyond Memphis.

 

* Hand-held, wireless fingerprint scanners were carried by U.S. troops during the insurgency in Iraq to register residents of entire neighborhoods. L-1 Identity Solutions is selling the same type of equipment to police departments to check motorists' identities.

 

* In Arizona, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Facial Recognition Unit, using a type of equipment prevalent in war zones, records 9,000 biometric digital mug shots a month.

 

* U.S. Customs and Border Protection flies General Atomics' Predator drones along the Mexican and Canadian borders - the same kind of aircraft, equipped with real-time, full-motion video cameras, that has been used in wars in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan to track the enemy.

 

The special operations units deployed overseas to kill the al-Qaeda leadership drove technological advances that are now expanding in use across the United States. On the front lines, those advances allowed the rapid fusing of biometric identification, captured computer records and cellphone numbers so troops could launch the next surprise raid.

 

Here at home, it's the DHS that is enamored with collecting photos, video images and other personal information about U.S. residents in the hopes of teasing out terrorists.

 

The DHS helped Memphis buy surveillance cameras that monitor residents near high-crime housing projects, problematic street corners, and bridges and other critical infrastructure. It helped pay for license plate readers and defrayed some of the cost of setting up Memphis's crime-analysis center. All together it has given Memphis $11 million since 2003 in homeland security grants, most of which the city has used to fight crime.

 

"We have got things now we didn't have before," said Memphis Police Department Director Larry Godwin, who has produced record numbers of arrests using all this new analysis and technology. "Some of them we can talk about. Some of them we can't."

 

One of the biggest advocates of Memphis's data revolution is John Harvey, the police department's technology specialist, whose computer systems are the civilian equivalent of the fancier special ops equipment used by the military.

 

Harvey collects any information he can pry out of government and industry. When officers were wasting time knocking on the wrong doors to serve warrants, he persuaded the local utility company to give him a daily update of the names and addresses of customers.

 

When he wanted more information about phones captured at crime scenes, he programmed a way to store all emergency 911 calls, which often include names and addresses to associate with phone numbers. He created another program to upload new crime reports every five minutes and mine them for the phone numbers of victims, suspects, witnesses and anyone else listed on them.

 

Now, instead of having to decide which license plate numbers to type into a computer console in the patrol car, an officer can simply drive around, and the automatic license plate reader on his hood captures the numbers on every vehicle nearby. If the officer pulls over a driver, instead of having to wait 20 minutes for someone back at the office to manually check records, he can use a hand-held device to instantly call up a mug shot, a Social Security number, the status of the driver's license and any outstanding warrants.

 

The computer in the cruiser can tell an officer even more about who owns the vehicle, the owner's name and address and criminal history, and who else with a criminal history might live at the same address.

 

Take a recent case of two officers with the hood-mounted camera equipment who stopped a man driving on a suspended license. One handcuffed him, and the other checked his own PDA. Based on the information that came up, the man was ordered downtown to pay a fine and released as the officers drove off to stop another car.

 

That wasn't the end of it, though.

 

A record of that stop - and the details of every other arrest made that night, and every summons written - was automatically transferred to the Memphis Real Time Crime Center, a command center with three walls of streaming surveillance video and analysis capabilities that rival those of an Army command center.

 

There, the information would be geocoded on a map to produce a visual rendering of crime patterns. This information would help the crime intelligence analysts predict trends so the department could figure out what neighborhoods to swarm with officers and surveillance cameras.

 

But that was still not the end of it, because the fingerprints from the crime records would also go to the FBI's data campus in Clarksburg, W.Va. There, fingerprints from across the United States are stored, along with others collected by American authorities from prisoners in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

There are 96 million sets of fingerprints in Clarksburg, a volume that government officials view not as daunting but as an opportunity.

 

This year for the first time, the FBI, the DHS and the Defense Department are able to search each other's fingerprint databases, said Myra Gray, head of the Defense Department's Biometrics Identity Management Agency, speaking to an industry group recently. "Hopefully in the not-too-distant future," she said, "our relationship with these federal agencies - along with state and local agencies - will be completely symbiotic."

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------

The FBI's 'suspicious' files

 

At the same time that the FBI is expanding its West Virginia database, it is building a vast repository controlled by people who work in a top-secret vault on the fourth floor of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington. This one stores the profiles of tens of thousands of Americans and legal residents who are not accused of any crime. What they have done is appear to be acting suspiciously to a town sheriff, a traffic cop or even a neighbor.

 

If the new Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, or SAR, works as intended, the Guardian database may someday hold files forwarded by all police departments across the country in America's continuing search for terrorists within its borders.

 

The effectiveness of this database depends, in fact, on collecting the identities of people who are not known criminals or terrorists - and on being able to quickly compile in-depth profiles of them.

 

"If we want to get to the point where we connect the dots, the dots have to be there," said Richard A. McFeely, special agent in charge of the FBI's Baltimore office.

 

In response to concerns that information in the database could be improperly used or released, FBI officials say anyone with access has been trained in privacy rules and the penalties for breaking them.

 

But not everyone is convinced. "It opens a door for all kinds of abuses," said Michael German, a former FBI agent who now leads the American Civil Liberties Union's campaign on national security and privacy matters. "How do we know there are enough controls?"

 

The government defines a suspicious activity as "observed behavior reasonably indicative of pre-operational planning related to terrorism or other criminal activity" related to terrorism.

 

State intelligence analysts and FBI investigators use the reports to determine whether a person is buying fertilizer to make a bomb or to plant tomatoes; whether she is plotting to poison a city's drinking water or studying for a metallurgy test; whether, as happened on a Sunday morning in late September, the man snapping a picture of a ferry in the Newport Beach harbor in Southern California simply liked the way it looked or was plotting to blow it up.

 

Suspicious Activity Report N03821 says a local law enforcement officer observed "a suspicious subject . . . taking photographs of the Orange County Sheriff Department Fire Boat and the Balboa Ferry with a cellular phone camera." The confidential report, marked "For Official Use Only," noted that the subject next made a phone call, walked to his car and returned five minutes later to take more pictures. He was then met by another person, both of whom stood and "observed the boat traffic in the harbor." Next another adult with two small children joined them, and then they all boarded the ferry and crossed the channel.

 

All of this information was forwarded to the Los Angeles fusion center for further investigation after the local officer ran information about the vehicle and its owner through several crime databases and found nothing.

 

Authorities would not say what happened to it from there, but there are several paths a suspicious activity report can take:

 

At the fusion center, an officer would decide to either dismiss the suspicious activity as harmless or forward the report to the nearest FBI terrorism unit for further investigation.

 

At that unit, it would immediately be entered into the Guardian database, at which point one of three things could happen:

 

The FBI could collect more information, find no connection to terrorism and mark the file closed, though leaving it in the database.

 

It could find a possible connection and turn it into a full-fledged case.

 

Or, as most often happens, it could make no specific determination, which would mean that Suspicious Activity Report N03821 would sit in limbo for as long as five years, during which time many other pieces of information about the man photographing a boat on a Sunday morning could be added to his file: employment, financial and residential histories; multiple phone numbers; audio files; video from the dashboard-mounted camera in the police cruiser at the harbor where he took pictures; and anything else in government or commercial databases "that adds value," as the FBI agent in charge of the database described it.

 

That could soon include biometric data, if it existed; the FBI is working on a way to attach such information to files. Meanwhile, the bureau will also soon have software that allows local agencies to map all suspicious incidents in their jurisdiction.

 

The Defense Department is also interested in the database. It recently transferred 100 reports of suspicious behavior into the Guardian system, and over time it expects to add thousands more as it connects 8,000 military law enforcement personnel to an FBI portal that will allow them to send and review reports about people suspected of casing U.S. bases or targeting American personnel.

 

And the DHS has created a separate way for state and local authorities, private citizens, and businesses to submit suspicious activity reports to the FBI and to the department for analysis.

 

As of December, there were 161,948 suspicious activity files in the classified Guardian database, mostly leads from FBI headquarters and state field offices. Two years ago, the bureau set up an unclassified section of the database so state and local agencies could send in suspicious incident reports and review those submitted by their counterparts in other states. Some 890 state and local agencies have sent in 7,197 reports so far.

 

Of those, 103 have become full investigations that have resulted in at least five arrests, the FBI said. There have been no convictions yet. An additional 365 reports have added information to ongoing cases.

 

But most remain in the uncertain middle, which is why within the FBI and other intelligence agencies there is much debate about the effectiveness of the bottom-up SAR approach, as well as concern over the privacy implications of retaining so much information on U.S. citizens and residents who have not been charged with anything.

 

The vast majority of terrorism leads in the United States originate from confidential FBI sources and from the bureau's collaboration with federal intelligence agencies, which mainly work overseas. Occasionally a stop by a local police officer has sparked an investigation. Evidence comes from targeted FBI surveillance and undercover operations, not from information and analysis generated by state fusion centers about people acting suspiciously.

 

"It's really resource-inefficient," said Philip Mudd, a 20-year CIA counterterrorism expert and a top FBI national security official until he retired nine months ago. "If I were to have a dialogue with the country about this . . . it would be about not only how we chase the unknowns, but do you want to do suspicious activity reports across the country? . . . Anyone who is not at least suspected of doing something criminal should not be in a database."

 

Charles Allen, a longtime senior CIA official who then led the DHS's intelligence office until 2009, said some senior people in the intelligence community are skeptical that SARs are an effective way to find terrorists. "It's more likely that other kinds of more focused efforts by local police will gain you the information that you need about extremist activities," he said.

 

The DHS can point to some successes: Last year the Colorado fusion center turned up information on Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan-born U.S. resident planning to bomb the New York subway system. In 2007, a Florida fusion center provided the vehicle ownership history used to identify and arrest an Egyptian student who later pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorism, in this case transporting explosives.

 

"Ninety-nine percent doesn't pan out or lead to anything" said Richard Lambert Jr., the special agent in charge of the FBI's Knoxville office. "But we're happy to wade through these things."

 

---------------------------------------------------------------

Expert training?

 

Ramon Montijo has taught classes on terrorism and Islam to law enforcement officers all over the country.

 

"Alabama, Colorado, Vermont," said Montijo, a former Army Special Forces sergeant and Los Angeles Police Department investigator who is now a private security consultant. "California, Texas and Missouri," he continued.

 

What he tells them is always the same, he said: Most Muslims in the United States want to impose sharia law here.

 

"They want to make this world Islamic. The Islamic flag will fly over the White House - not on my watch!" he said. "My job is to wake up the public, and first, the first responders."

 

With so many local agencies around the country being asked to help catch terrorists, it often falls to sheriffs or state troopers to try to understand the world of terrorism. They aren't FBI agents, who have years of on-the-job and classroom training.

 

Instead, they are often people like Lacy Craig, who was a police dispatcher before she became an intelligence analyst at Idaho's fusion center, or the detectives in Minnesota, Michigan and Arkansas who can talk at length about the lineage of gangs or the signs of a crystal meth addict.

 

Now each of them is a go-to person on terrorism as well.

 

"The CIA used to train analysts forever before they graduated to be a real analyst," said Allen, the former top CIA and DHS official. "Today we take former law enforcement officers and we call them intelligence officers, and that's not right, because they have not received any training on intelligence analysis."

 

State fusion center officials say their analysts are getting better with time. "There was a time when law enforcement didn't know much about drugs. This is no different," said Steven W. Hewitt, who runs the Tennessee fusion center, considered one of the best in the country. "Are we experts at the level of [the National Counterterrorism Center]? No. Are we developing an expertise? Absolutely."

 

But how they do that is usually left up to the local police departments themselves. In their desire to learn more about terrorism, many departments are hiring their own trainers. Some are self-described experts whose extremist views are considered inaccurate and harmful by the FBI and others in the intelligence community

 

Like Montijo, Walid Shoebat, a onetime Muslim who converted to Christianity, also lectures to local police. He too believes that most Muslims seek to impose sharia law in the United States. To prevent this, he said in an interview, he warns officers that "you need to look at the entire pool of Muslims in a community."

 

When Shoebat spoke to the first annual South Dakota Fusion Center Conference in Sioux Falls this June, he told them to monitor Muslim student groups and local mosques and, if possible, tap their phones. "You can find out a lot of information that way," he said.

 

A book expanding on what Shoebat and Montijo believe has just been published by the Center for Security Policy, a Washington-based neoconservative think tank. "Shariah: The Threat to America" describes what its authors call a "stealth jihad" that must be thwarted before it's too late.

 

The book's co-authors include such notables as former CIA director R. James Woolsey and former deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, along with the center's director, a longtime activist. They write that most mosques in the United States already have been radicalized, that most Muslim social organizations are fronts for violent jihadists and that Muslims who practice sharia law seek to impose it in this country.

 

Frank Gaffney Jr., director of the center, said his team has spoken widely, including to many law enforcement forums.

 

"Members of our team have been involved in training programs for several years now, many of which have been focused on local law enforcement intelligence, homeland security, state police, National Guard units and the like," Gaffney said. "We're seeing a considerable ramping-up of interest in getting this kind of training."

 

Government terrorism experts call the views expressed in the center's book inaccurate and counterproductive. They say the DHS should increase its training of local police, using teachers who have evidence-based viewpoints.

 

DHS spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said the department does not maintain a list of terrorism experts but is working on guidelines for local authorities wrestling with the topic.

 

So far, the department has trained 1,391 local law enforcement officers in analyzing public information and 400 in analytic thinking and writing skills. Kudwa said the department also offers counterterrorism training through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which this year enrolled 94 people in a course called "Advanced Criminal Intelligence Analysis to Prevent Terrorism."

 

-----------------------------------------------

A lack of useful information

 

The DHS also provides local agencies a daily flow of information bulletins.

 

These reports are meant to inform agencies about possible terror threats. But some officials say they deliver a never-ending stream of information that is vague, alarmist and often useless. "It's like a garage in your house you keep throwing junk into until you can't park your car in it," says Michael Downing, deputy chief of counterterrorism and special operations for the Los Angeles Police Department.

 

A review of nearly 1,000 DHS reports dating back to 2003 and labeled "For Official Use Only" underscores Downing's description. Typical is one from May 24, 2010, titled "Infrastructure Protection Note: Evolving Threats to the Homeland."

 

It tells officials to operate "under the premise that other operatives are in the country and could advance plotting with little or no warning." Its list of vulnerable facilities seems to include just about everything: "Commercial Facilities, Government Facilities, Banking and Financial and Transportation . . ."

 

Bart R. Johnson, who heads the DHS's intelligence and analysis office, defended such reports, saying that threat reporting has "grown and matured and become more focused." The bulletins can't be more specific, he said, because they must be written at the unclassified level.

 

Recently, the International Association of Chiefs of Police agreed that the information they were receiving had become "more timely and relevant" over the past year.

 

Downing, however, said the reports would be more helpful if they at least assessed threats within a specific state's boundaries.

 

States have tried to do that on their own, but with mixed, and at times problematic, results.

 

In 2009, for instance, after the DHS and the FBI sent out several ambiguous reports about threats to mass-transit systems and sports and entertainment venues, the New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center's Threat Analysis Program added its own information. "New Jersey has a large mass-transit infrastructure," its report warned, and "an NFL stadium and NHL/NBA arenas, a soccer stadium, and several concert venues that attract large crowds."

 

In Virginia, the state's fusion center published a terrorism threat assessment in 2009 naming historically black colleges as potential hubs for terrorism.

 

From 2005 to 2007, the Maryland State Police went even further, infiltrating and labeling as terrorists local groups devoted to human rights, antiwar causes and bike lanes.

 

And in Pennsylvania this year, a local contractor hired to write intelligence bulletins filled them with information about lawful meetings as varied as Pennsylvania Tea Party Patriots Coalition gatherings, antiwar protests and an event at which environmental activists dressed up as Santa Claus and handed out coal-filled stockings.

 

---------------------------------------------------

'We have our own terrorists'

 

Even if the information were better, it might not make a difference for the simplest of reasons: In many cities and towns across the country, there is just not enough terrorism-related work to do.

 

In Utah on one recent day, one of five intelligence analysts in the state's fusion center was writing a report about the rise in teenage overdoses of an over-the-counter drug. Another was making sure the visiting president of Senegal had a safe trip. Another had just helped a small town track down two people who were selling magazine subscriptions and pocketing the money themselves.

 

In the Colorado Information Analysis Center, some investigators were following terrorism leads. Others were looking into illegal Craigslist postings and online "World of Warcraft" gamers.

 

The vast majority of fusion centers across the country have transformed themselves into analytical hubs for all crimes and are using federal grants, handed out in the name of homeland security, to combat everyday offenses.

 

This is happening because, after 9/11, local law enforcement groups did what every agency and private company did in Top Secret America: They followed the money.

 

The DHS helped the Memphis Police Department, for example, purchase 90 surveillance cameras, including 13 that monitor bridges and a causeway. It helped buy the fancy screens on the walls of the Real Time Crime Center, as well as radios, robotic surveillance equipment, a mobile command center and three bomb-sniffing dogs. All came in the name of port security and protection to critical infrastructure.

 

Since there hasn't been a solid terrorism case in Memphis yet, the equipment's greatest value has been to help drive down city crime. Where the mobile surveillance cameras are set up, criminals scatter, said Lt. Mark Rewalt, who, on a recent Saturday night, scanned the city from an altitude of 1,000 feet.

 

Flying in a police helicopter, Rewalt pointed out some of the cameras the DHS has funded. They are all over the city, in mall parking lots, in housing projects, at popular street hang-outs. "Cameras are what's happening now," he marveled.

 

Meanwhile, another post-9/11 unit in Tennessee has had even less terrorism-related work to do.

 

The Tennessee National Guard 45th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, one of at least 50 such units around the country, was created to respond to what officials still believe is the inevitable release of chemical, biological or radiological material by terrorists.

 

The unit's 22 hazardous-materials personnel have the best emergency equipment in the state. A fleet of navy-blue vehicles - command, response, detection and tactical operations trucks - is kept polished and ready to roll in a garage at the armory in Smyrna.

 

The unit practices WMD scenarios constantly. But in real life, the crew uses the equipment very little: twice a year at NASCAR races in nearby Bristol to patrol for suspicious packages. Other than that, said Capt. Matt Hayes, several times a year they respond to hoaxes.

 

The fact that there has not been much terrorism to worry about is not evident on the Tennessee fusion center's Web site. Click on the incident map, and the state appears to be under attack.

 

Red icons of explosions dot Tennessee, along with blinking exclamation marks and flashing skulls. The map is labeled: "Terrorism Events and Other Suspicious Activity.

 

But if you roll over the icons, the explanations that pop up have nothing to do with major terrorist plots: "Johnson City police are investigating three 'bottle bombs' found at homes over the past three days," one description read recently. ". . . The explosives were made from plastic bottles with something inside that reacted chemically and caused the bottles to burst."

 

Another told a similar story: "The Scott County Courthouse is currently under evacuation after a bomb threat was called in Friday morning. Update: Authorities completed their sweep . . . and have called off the evacuation."

 

Nine years after 9/11, this map is part of the alternative geography that is Top Secret America, where millions of people are assigned to help stop terrorism. Memphis Police Director Godwin is one of them, and he has his own version of what that means in a city where there have been 86 murders so far this year.

 

"We have our own terrorists, and they are taking lives every day," Godwin said. "No, we don't have suicide bombers - not yet. But you need to remain vigilant and realize how vulnerable you can be if you let up."

 

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this story.

This is information about electronic mind reading not about mind reading.

Mind reading is natural. Check out Uri Geller's web site.

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