TIME National Security

Secret Service Plans to Get Really, Really Good at the Internet

A new software program will help the Secret Service monitor Internet activity by detecting sarcasm and analyzing users' feelings, among other things

Detecting sarcasm on the Internet can be a challenge even for humans who don’t spend every waking minute on the web, so the Secret Service is saving itself some trouble by buying software that will detect sarcasm for the agency, according to a work order posted Monday.

That’s not all: the new software will also track web surfers’ feelings, mine their Twitter histories and perform several other functions related to collecting and analyzing vast amounts of Internet data, Nextgov reports.

The full list of software needs is easy to make fun of, especially with the witty use of irony, but when your job is to protect the president’s life and watch for potential dangers, the ability to analyze sarcasm and weed out “false positives”—like dumb teenagers making joking threats—is probably worth the money.

[Nextgov]

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