SQUEAKY DOLPHIN is a GCHQ pilot programme demonstrating the ability to monitor social media in real time (NBC01). The programme monitors the following information extracted from GCHQ’s bulk collection programmes:
- Facebook ‘likes’
- YouTube video views
- Blogger visits
- Specific Twitter accounts
The programme uses off-the-shelf analytics and visualisation software (Splunk, Fire Ant and Distillery).
SQUEAKY DOLPHIN uses sentiment analysis to predict future events based on online behaviour patterns and demographic and geographic information.
Service providers have encrypted some of the content analysed by SQUEAKY DOLPHIN since the programme’s existence was revealed.
- Real-time monitoring and analysis of online activity
- Digital content from major social media companies:
TEMPORA – GCHQ programme for bulk data collection and buffering.
AIRWOLF – GCHQ programme for collecting YouTube profiles, comments and videos.
Layers of operation:
- Social layer: Analysis of patterns and trends in online activity.
The GCHQ presentation is titled “Psychology: A New Kind of SIGDEV: Establishing the Human Science Operation Cell”. The aim of the programme is to discover trends within given populations, and to extract personal information about specific users (NBC01). The programme also aims to ‘disrupt and strategically influence’ (NBC02).
The programme is operated by the GCHQ division known as Global Telecoms Exploitation (GTE), which collects Internet traffic that passes through UK territory. It is estimated that roughly 11% of global Internet traffic passes through the UK (NBC01). The programme’s aim is to understand human behaviour and sentiments across different social and cultural layers from individual, group and socio-cultural perspectives (NBC02).
Both Facebook and Google deny giving GCHQ access to their systems (BBC01). Facebook and Twitter have since encrypted their services, which could prevent governments from collecting data. Google has not encrypted YouTube or Blogger data.
BBC News (BBC)
NBC News (NBC)