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Liat Clark of Wired UK reports, “The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched a programme aimed at developing the next generation of task-orientated search engines that will help index and organise ‘mission-critical publically available information’ on the web and deep web. The first domain it wants to target with this new technology, it says, is human trafficking. ‘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,’ commented Darpa programme manager Chris White in a release. ‘By inventing better methods for interacting with and sharing information, we want to improve search for everybody and individualise access to information. Ease of use for non-programmers is essential.’ “

 

Clark continues, “The agency has issued a broad agency announcement – essentially a public job advert for the programme, Memex, which it describes as addressing ‘the inherent shortcomings of centralised search by developing technology for domain-specific indexing of web content and domain-specific search capabilities’. For you or me, current search engines might be sufficient for everyday use. But finding, collating and categorising information others hope to hide, found somewhere between page 50 and 60 in mainstream search results or anything that is not indexed by common means, proves tricky. Combine this with information in adverts, forums, shared content or chat rooms — places cited by Darpa as potential access points for accessing human trafficking rings — and you have a messy network of hidden data that could together provide security services or law enforcement agencies with a wealth of information.”

 

Read more here.

Image: Courtesy DARPA