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CIA Developing Software to Scour Photos

The CIA is bankrolling efforts to improve technology designed to scour millions of digital photos or video clips for particular cars or street signs or even, some day, human faces. The innovative software from fledgling PiXlogic LLC of Los Altos, Calif., promises to help analysts make better use of the CIA’s enormous electronic archives. Analysts also could be alerted whenever a helicopter or other targeted item appeared in a live video broadcast. PiXlogic plans to announce Wednesday that the CIA’s venture-capital organization, In-Q-Tel, has invested an unspecified amount to help the company improve the software. In-Q-Tel — named for “Q,” the fictional inventor of fanciful spy gadgetry for James Bond — makes about a dozen such investments annually with roughly $35 million it receives from the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology. In-Q-Tel was created in February 1999 and has gained favorable reviews from Capitol Hill. “There was a great deal of interest in these capabilities,” Mike Griffin, In-Q-Tel’s president said of the picture-monitoring effort. “Because more and more of what is on the Internet is in visual form, the ability to search on those materials is important and getting more important all the time.” Full Story

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