Social networks such as Facebook and MySpace have revolutionised the way we communicate with people. Often, you’ll find something out via an update on a friend’s profile before you get informed by anyone in real life. While for most of us, these updates are likely to be concerning an upcoming wedding, a pregnancy, or a relationship break-up, they could be a matter of life or death for spies working for the intelligence agencies.
You’re highly unlikely to find a spy from the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), or NSA (National Security Agency) on your Facebook or MySpace. Or even you do, they’re probably not going to tell you what their job is. But these spies, or intelligence analysts do need somewhere to communicate with each other and share information. Which is where A-Space comes in.
According to CNN, A-Space is a social network designed for every analyst working for the 16 US intelligence agencies. The site has been tested over the last few months and will officially launch on September 22nd.
Michael Wertheimer, assistant deputy director of national intelligence for analysis, said:
It’s every bit Facebook and YouTube for spies, but it’s much, much more.
It’s a place where not only spies can meet but share data they’ve never been able to share before. This is going to give them for the first time a chance to think out loud, think in public amongst their peers, under the protection of an A-Space umbrella.
While Facebook is used to meet new friends, share jokes, and play online games together, A-Space is going to be helping to protect the US against national security threats. It means that information delivered to one organisation will be shared with the others, hopefully preventing important details, which could be key to stopping a terrorist attack, from being missed.
While the existence of A-Space has been made public, the details on the network are highly classified, and will never be revealed to the public. So while spies will be able to add colleagues to their friends list, we’ll never know who is talking on the “Facebook for spies.”