AF developing DEA Wiretap Echelon-like Development Projects

Bill Stewart bill.stewart at
Tue Oct 8 18:09:49 PDT 2002

The following web page is about recent projects at the
Air Force Research Laboratory.  Item 8 is about new wiretap technology,
designed to monitor large numbers of conversations for drug activity.
The accompanying artwork has a large and small version of a
wiretapper logo, which should be possible to abuse for something :-)
Google cache:|lang_nl|lang_en|lang_fr|lang_de|lang_is|lang_es&ie=UTF-8
Wiretapper Logo:

The Information Directorate's Multisensor Exploitation Branch and Research 
Associates for Defense Conversion (RADC) jointly developed, tested, and 
demonstrated an experimental model capability that automatically extracts 
information from telephone background sounds and conversational speech to 
identify drug networks and the participants. The work, sponsored by the 
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), addresses the problem of monitoring large 
numbers of telephone conversations for drug activity, while protecting the 
privacy of citizens in accordance with wiretap laws.

The capability called Automated Title Three Audio Correlation (ATTAC) makes 
it possible to automatically segment and flag drug- related activity and 
identify its participants without understanding the message content of the 
conversation. A background sound recognizer technology identifies sounds, 
such as dial tone, number dialed, ringing, and other sounds, while a Vector 
Quantization speaker-recognition technology identifies the persons involved 
in the conversations.

The DEA and RADC collected a database of conversations through 74 
individuals who made over 1300 calls from cellular phones, and office 
phones, and who used message machines. The results in identifying the 
participants in conversational speech varied widely. DEA and RADC 
technicians obtained good results (90%) when individuals used the same 
phones; however, when the same individuals used different phones, the 
performance could drop to as low as 55%.

The directorate is conducting research work to improve recognition across 
multiple phone types. Although the directorate developed ATTAC for DEA use, 
the technology developed advances the state-of-the-art in speaker 
segmentation and in information extraction for the Air Force intelligence, 
surveillance, and reconnaissance mission. (Mr. S. E. Smith, AFRL/IFEC, 
(315) 330-7894)

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