- The Washington Times - Friday, February 27, 2015

The Pentagon’s research arm tasked with coming up with breakthrough technologies is using an experimental deep web tool to “scoop up” valuable data on the Islamic State terrorist group and its supporters.

Arati Prabhakar, a physicist and director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), disclosed some information about the tool, known as Memex, while speaking earlier this at a Washington, D.C. conference put on by the New America Foundation.

“Our law enforcement colleagues, they were sort of taken aback, I think, initially by how rich that data set was,” Ms. Prabhakar said Tuesday of a Dallas demonstration of the technology, Military.com reported. “You can imagine how that might give you a way to see how the [Islamic State] global community that’s spreading like this cancer — how they are using that infrastructure similarly.”

Ms. Prabhakar wouldn’t get into too many specifics because “it’s live and we’re in a wartime situation,” but said the technology helped Dallas law enforcement trace a sex-trafficking ring back to North Korea.

“We looked at back page ads … and from that we were able to build a very quick assessment of where the same phone numbers kept showing up on multiple websites,” Ms. Prabhakar said, Military.com reported. “If you’re looking across thousands and thousands manually, you wouldn’t have seen it. But we were able to scoop up these high-value phone numbers and hand them to law enforcement.”

Memex is headed by Christopher White, an engineer with a doctoral degree in electrical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, the website reported.

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• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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