nov 262013
 

These 4 slides are from the powerpoint “BOUNDLESSINFORMANT: Describing Mission Capabilities from Metadata Records.” They include the cover page and pages 3, 5, and 6 of the presentation. The powerpoint, leaked to the Guardian newspaper’s Glenn Greenwald by Edward Snowden, was first released by the Guardian newspaper on June 8, 2013 at this web page: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2013/jun/08/nsa-boundless-informant-data-mining-slides

Also included with this collection is a “heat map” of parts of the world most subject to surveillance by Boundless Informant. This image was embedded in the Guardian’s story, which described Boundless Informant as “the NSA’s secret tool to track global surveillance data,” which collected “almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/08/nsa-boundless-informant-global-datamining

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
BOUNDLESSINFORMANT – Frequently Asked Questions
09-06-2012

 

(U/FOUO) Questions

 

1) What is BOUNDLESSINFORMANT! What is its purpose?

2) Who are the intended users of the tool?

3) What are the different views?

4) Where do you get your data?

5) Do you have all the data? What data is missing?

6) Why are you showing metadata record counts versus content?

7) Do you distinguish between sustained collect and survey collect?

8) What is the technical architecture for the tool?

9) What are some upcoming features/enhancements?

1 0) How are new features or views requested and prioritized?

1 1) Why are record counts different from other tools like ASDF and What’s On Cover?

12) Why is the tool NOFORN? Is there a releasable version?

13) How do you compile your record counts for each country?

 

Note: This document is a work-in-progress and will be updated frequently as additional
questions and guidance are provided.

1) (U) What is BOUNDLESSINFORMANT? What is its purpose?

(U//FOUO) BOUNDLESSINFORMANT is a GAO prototype tool for a self-documenting SIGINT
system. The purpose of the tool is to fundamentally shift the manner in which GAO describes its
collection posture. BOUNDLESSINFORMANT provides the ability to dynamically describe GAO’s
collection capabilities (through metadata record counts) with no human intervention and graphically
display the information in a map view, bar chart, or simple table. Prior to

BOUNDLESSINFORMANT, the method for understanding the collection capabilities of GAO’s
assets involved ad hoc surveying of repositories, sites, developers, and/or programs and offices. By
extracting information from every DNI and DNR metadata record, the tool is able to create a near real-
time snapshot of GAO’s collection capability at any given moment. The tool allows users to select a
country on a map and view the metadata volume and select details about the collection against that
country. The tool also allows users to view high level metrics by organization and then drill down to a
more actionable level – down to the program and cover term.

Sample Use Cases

• (U//FOUO) How many records are collected for an organizational unit (e.g. FORNSAT)?

• (U//FOUO) How many records (and what type) are collected against a particular country?

• (U//FOUO) Are there any visible trends for the collection?

• (U//FOUO) What assets collect against a specific country? What type of collection?

• (U//FOUO) What is the field of view for a specific site? What countriees does it collect
against? What type of collection?

2) (U) Who are the intended users of the tool?

• (U//FOUO) Mission and collection managers seeking to understand output characteristics
of a site based on what is being ingested into downstream repositories. .

(U//FOUO) Strategic Managers seeking to understand top level metrics at the

 

organization/office level or seeking to answer data calls on NSA collection capability.

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BOUNDLESSINFORMANT – Frequently Asked Questions

09-06-2012

• (U//FOUO) Analysts looking for additional sites to task for coverage of a particular

technology within a specific country.

3) What are the different views?

(U//FOUO) Map View – The Map View is designed to allow users to view overall DNI, DNR, or
aggregated collection posture of the agency or a site. Clicking on a country will show the collection
posture (record counts, type of collection, and contributing SIGADs or sites) against that particular
country in addition to providing a graphical display of record count trends. In order to bin the records
into a country, a normalized phone number (DNR) or an administrative region atom (DNI) must be
populated within the record. Clicking on a site (within the Site Specific view) will show the viewshed
for that site – what countries the site collects against.

(U//FOUO) Org View – The Organization View is designed to allow users to view the metadata record
counts by organizational structure (i.e. GAO – SSO – RAM-A – SPINNERET) all the way down to the
cover term. Since it’s not necessary to have a normalized number or administrative region populated,
the numbers in the Org View will be higher than the numbers in the Map View.

(U//FOUO) Similarity View – The Similarity View is currently a placeholder view for an upcoming
feature that will graphically display sites that are similar in nature. This can be used to identify areas
for a de-duplication effort or to inform analysts of additional SIGADs to task for queries (similar to
Amazon’s “if you like this item, you’ll also like these” feature).

 

4) (U) Where do you get your data?

(U//FOUO) BOUNDLESSINFORMANT extracts metadata records from GM-PLACE post-
FALLOUT (DNI ingest processor) and post-TUSKATTIRE (DNR ingest processor). The records are
enriched with organization information (e.g. SSO, FORNSAT) and cover term. Every valid DNI and
DNR metadata record is aggregated to provide a count at the appropriate level. See the different views
question above for additional information.

 

5) (U) Do you have all the data? What data is missing?

• (U//FOUO) The tool resides on GM-PLACE which is only accredited up to TS//SI//NOFORN.
Therefore, the tool does not contain ECI or FISA data.

• (U//FOUO) The Map View only shows counts for records with a valid normalized number
(DNR) or administrative region atom (DNI).

• (U//FOUO) Only metadata records that are sent back to NSA-W through FASCIA or
FALLOUT are counted. Therefore, programs with a distributed data distribution system (e.g.
MUSCULAR and Terrestrial RF) are not currently counted.

• (U//FOUO) Only SIGINT records are currently counted. There are no ELINT or other “INT”
records included.

6) (U) Why are you showing metadata record counts versus content?

(U//FOUO)

7) (U ) Do you distin g uish between sustained collect and survey collect?

(U//FOUO) The tool currently makes no distinction between sustained collect and survey collect. This
feature is on the roadmap.

 

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BOUNDLESSINFORMANT – Frequently Asked Questions
09-06-2012

 

8) What is the technical architecture for the tool?

Click here for a graphical view of the tool’s architecture

(U//FOUO) DNI metadata (ASDF), DNR metadata (FASCIA) delivered to Hadoop
Distributed File System (HDFS) on GM-PLACE

(U//FOUO) Use Java MapReduce job to transform/filter and enrich FASCIA/ASDF data with
business logic to assign organization rules to data

(U//FOUO) Bulk import of DNI/DNR data (serialized Google Protobuf objects) into
Cloudbase (enabled by custom aggregators)

(U//FOUO) Use Java web app (hosted via Tomcat) on MachineShop (formerly Turkey Tower)
to query Cloudbase

(U//FOUO) GUI triggers queries to CloudBase – GXT (ExtGWT)

 

9) What are some upcoming features/enhancements?

• (U//FOUO) Add technology type (e.g. JUGGERNAUT, LOPER) to provide additional
granularity in the numbers

(U//FOUO) Add additional details to the Differential view

(U//FOUO) Refine the Site Specific view

(U//FOUO) Include CASN information

(U//FOUO) Add ability to export data behind any view (pddg,sigad,sysid,casn,tech,count)

(U//FOUO) Add in selected (vs. unselected) data indicators

(U//FOUO) Include filter for sustained versus survey collection

 

10) How are new features or views requested and prioritized?

(U//FOUO) The team uses Flawmill to accept user requests for additional functionality or
enhancements. Users are also allowed to vote on which functionality or enhancements are most
important to them (as well as add comments). The BOUNDLESSINFORMANT team will periodically
review all requests and triage according to level of effort (Easy, Medium, Hard) and mission impact
(High, Medium, Low). The team will review the queue with the project champion and government
steering committee to be added onto the BOUNDLESSINFORMANT roadmap.

1 1) Why are record counts different from other tools like ASDF and What’s On

Cover?

(U//FOUO) There are a number of reasons why record counts may vary. The purpose of the tool is to
provide

 

BOUNDLESSINFORMANT – FAQ

 

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July 13, 2012

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