Occupy the Internet

Does Tartan Tie TrapWire to Surveillance of Occupy Wall Street?

Some days it's hard to choose between the Guy Fawkes mask and the tinfoil hat.
tartan Does Tartan Tie TrapWire to Surveillance of Occupy Wall Street?

Tartan Metrics (Screen grab)

Russian news outlet RT.com has been excitedly suggesting that the TrapWire surveillance system marks the advent of an American police state. Now RT is suggesting a fairly direct connection between the shady ex-CIA types behind TrapWire and something called Tartan Metrics.

Tartan certainly uses dense doublespeak to describe itself, stating on its site landing page that it “quantifies key influencers and hidden connections in social networks using mathematical algorithms” for “un-biased output.” RT doesn’t note that Tartan is so secretive those interested in its services can try them for free over the web, but maybe they have more important information to impart–Tartan expressly mentions using its software and services to analyze Occupy Wall Street and related movements:

Tartan is advertised on their site as a must-have application for the national security sector, politicians and federal law enforcement, and makes a case by claiming that “an amorphous network of anarchist and protest groups,” made up of Occupy Oakland, PBS, Citizen Radio, Crimethinc and others, relies on “influential leaders,” “modern technology” and “illegal tactics” to spread a message of anarchy across America.

“The organizers of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy DC have built Occupy networks through online communication with anarchists actively participating in the movements’ founding,” the executive summary reads. On the chart that accompanies their claim, the group lists several political activism groups and broadcast networks within a ring of alleged anarchy, which also includes an unnamed FBI informant.

RT also reports a Margaret A. Lee registered TrapWire Inc. with the Virginia Commonwealth’s State Corporation Commission in March of 2009. Margaret A. Lee appears to also be on the board of Ntrepid Corporation, which produces Tartan.

Simply stated: Ntrepid links TrapWire and Tartan, and the latter may be actively investigating the Occupy movement.

While there are clear documented links between these shadowy outfits, it’s hard to separate fact from frenzied theorizing and assumptions made from tenuous links.

So for now just know basically that someone may always watching and analyzing whatever you do online and in public. That’s creepy enough.

Follow Steve Huff via RSS. shuff@observer.com