Who would have thought that Twitter, a place for so many people to muse about their lunches and rant about their boring lives would actually be used to help triangulate bombing targets in Libya? Yes, NATO is now including Tweets as part of its "intelligence picture" in an attempt to locate Gaddafi and his nefarious forces.
Rest assured, while Twitter has proven to be a great source for citizen reporting, especially in recent happenings in Egypt and Japan, all "relevant tweets" still need to be "fed into an intelligence pool then filtered for relevancy and authenticity, and are never passed on without proper corroboration." Good, that ensures that Twitter hoaxes like this one involving last year's Haiti earthquakes don't lead NATO forces to shoot off missiles at a town of innocent folk.
According to Wing Commander Mike Bracken, a NATO spokesman:
"Any military campaign relies on something that we call 'fused information'," he told a briefing. "So we will take information from every source we can. And if we get information from a press conference in Rome or we get information from somebody passing secondhand, we'll get information from open source on the internet, we'll get Twitter, you name any source of media and our fusion centre will deliver all of that into useable intelligence.
"The commander will assess what he can use, what he can trust, and the experience of the operators, the intelligence officers, and the trained military personnel and civilian support staff will give him those options. And he will decide if that's good information, I'm going to act on it. Where it comes from, again, it's not relevant to the commander. He will use all that is available to deliver his mission."
Bracken couldn't have said it any better. With time, as communication channels change, so must our means to decipher the new forms. Twitter is no different than Morse Code from the World Wars. It's just that there's so much more going on in the Twitterverse than there was through clicks that it's pretty incredible to imagine the scale of people and tools NATO officials are using to monitor the Libyan situation. If you think you have a hard time managing your Twitter followers and feeds, think about how the NATO boys and girls feel.
Via The Guardian