Photograph: U.S. Air Force

Computers may soon be able to spot terrorists instantly

June 10, 2016 Duncan Amos

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What you should know today: The intelligence community wants computers to spot terrorists; DHS gives cybersecurity contract back to Raytheon; connecting with Congress is harder than tapping Silicon Valley.

Intelligence Community Wants Computers to Spot Terrorists

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) wants to develop Deep Intermodal Video Analytics (DIVA), a video surveillance technology that can recognize people and objects in real time.

According to an IARPA synopsis, “The DIVA program will produce a common framework and software prototype for activity detection, person/object detection and recognition across a multi-camera network. The impact will be the development of tools for forensic analysis, as well as real-time alerting for user-defined threat scenarios.”

IARPA is hosting a July 12 proposer’s day in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. As NextGov notes, the issue isn’t just technological: privacy laws complicate how video surveillance can be used.

In other IARPA news, the agency is also looking at capabilities for protecting data and systems by confusing or deceiving enemies, according to Federal Times.


DHS Sticks With Raytheon for Cyber Contract

The Homeland Security Department (DHS) re-awarded a $1 billion cybersecurity contract to Raytheon Co., an award that had been pulled after a protest by Northrop Grumman Corp., according to Federal News Radio. Under the contract, Raytheon will run the DOMino program, which maintains the EINSTEIN infrastructure protection and detection system, as well as other National Cybersecurity Protection System tools.

Federal News Radio reports: “Few details about DOMino have come out over the past few years since it’s a classified contract. A 2014 presentation by DHS acquisition officials shows the program as a limited competition indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with a five-year performance period.”

Following the 2015 theft of Office of Personnel Management data, the use of the threat-blocking EINSTEIN 3A has grown, and it has broad support from Congress. The Government Accountability Office announced in January that DHS, which protects dot-gov networks, needs greater cybersecurity capabilities. That could make the DOMino contract even more valuable to Raytheon.


Connecting With Congress Is Harder Than Tapping Silicon Valley

It remains to be seen whether the Pentagon can connect successfully with innovators in Silicon Valley. The House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4909) would hold back 20 percent of the funds needed to reboot and run the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), the Pentagon’s Silicon Valley outpost, until the Defense secretary submits a report to Congress on the unit’s performance. DIUx is a “pet project” of Defense Secretary Ash Carter, according to Bloomberg News.

Even if DIUx gets all the money, Bloomberg reports, “the retooled innovation office may have only months to prove itself — in Washington and in Silicon Valley — before the next president takes office and Carter, its champion, is replaced.”

The Pentagon rebooted DIUx last month by replacing its director and expanding toother tech sites. Though launched with great fanfare, it soon ran into trouble. The Pentagon’s red tape and bureaucracy was too much for an industry used to quick pitches and product launches.

The Defense Department has identified around 20 Silicon Valley projects for potential funding, three of which are already on contract, Bloomberg reports.

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