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The TAG Challenge: $5k Global Manhunt Using Social Media 53

An anonymous reader writes "CNET just published an article about a new challenge to photograph 5 target individuals in 5 different cities on March 31st. The TAG challenge will pay the winner $5k. Target mobility means this will be much harder than the DARPA Red Balloon Challenge which was won by MIT. From the article: 'On March 31, mug shots of five "suspects" will be published, and it'll be game on in a global hunt for "jewel thieves" in Bratislava, Slovakia; Stockholm; London; Washington, D.C.; and New York City, each of whom will spend 12 hours that day in public areas. The first team to upload photographs of each of the five by noon eastern time on April 1 will win the competition--and with it, a ton of international glory.'"
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The TAG Challenge: $5k Global Manhunt Using Social Media

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  • Things like this are why the internet is awesome.
    It's also worth pointing out that the DARPA challenge was done strictly in the states, since this one spans several countries.
    I'll be curious to see how this turns out.
  • Whoop-de-damn-doo...
  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @12:34PM (#39475561)

    Now would someone, or a lot of someones, purposely disguise themselves to look like the targets individuals in the fives cities? And romp around all day in public? Nah, couldn't happen.

    The volume of false positives will be amusing at least.

    "There he is! Right next to Elvis, flipping burgers! With Angelina Jolie's leg!"

  • Real fugitives... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Covalent ( 1001277 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @12:35PM (#39475571)
    Don't announce where they're going, tend to shy away from appearing in public places for 12 hours consecutively, are capable of wearing disguises, etc.

    This is possibly useful for finding the average citizen.

    Oh, I see where they're going with this now...
    • by RogueLeaderX ( 845092 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @12:40PM (#39475625)
      The problem is average citizens are as yet unaware they're fugitives.

      There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers -- and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system. - Ayn Rand

      Note: I don't agree with most of Ms. Rand's sentiments, but this is proving increasingly true.

      • Replace "laws" for basic primitive desires, like hunger or desire to sex. Forbid everyone from feeling these desires. Taboo the most primitive desire of all, one that every adult feels, and... presto. Religion is there. Not much different at all.
      • She may have been right, but the problem I have with this is that she thought this was a good thing!
      • i would hate to point out to ayn rand that capitalist systems do this just as well as communist systems.

    • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @12:54PM (#39475791)

      are capable of wearing disguises

      Have them wear hoodies, what could possibly go wrong?

    • geez...let them first attempt a relaxed version of the problem space before going for the uber hard version of the problem space. Anyways, the goal here is more about exploring the business model and social models that arise from successful team efforts...not the ability of a lone spotter to find a fugitive in a crowd.

      • The issue is that we have vast amounts of intelligence out there that can let us spot threats, but it doesn't end up where it needs to go. In the lead up to 9/11, intelligence analysts were writing reports with titles like "bin Laden Determined to Strike in US"; if they had also known that there were middle eastern men taking lessons in flying planes (but not interested in landing them) then perhaps 9/11 and two wars could have been averted. Attempted airplane bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was reported b
        • Twitter for Intelligence agencies.

          @CIA Questioned 3 parties of interest on possible strike against California reservoirs. Members of fringe militia group Yeehaw4Christ
          @MI6 Moved against radical Islamist splinter cell in London. Terminated 3 hostiles. 2 in custody.
          @CSIS Massive poop today. Prime Minister asked for Froot Loops for breakfast. Sent Bob, cutting our manpower in half.

        • by James Bamford, then go watch the PBS Frontline special ("Spy Factory") online, it's free.

          there are interviews with an FBI agent "on loan" to CIA working in CIA's Alec Station, who knew that al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi (Nawaf) had US Visas. He tried to tell FBI HQ, and the CIA told him not to. Ordered him not to.

          you are correct to say that it 'doesnt end up where it needs to go'... but WHY didn't it end up where it needed to go?

          "It's ultimately a social networking problem"

          that contradicts the evidence from th

    • Real fugitives will get lazy. They may live undercover for a few weeks - but will gradually rejoin society in a place where they are less likely to be recognized. Hence the world wide scope of this project.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @12:44PM (#39475673)

    The one in London should be easy. You won't even need to use your own camera, given that they're ubiquitous already.

    • The one in London should be easy. You won't even need to use your own camera, given that they're ubiquitous already.

      That's assuming you're a government official (or you're the family member of one) who has ready access to those feeds.

      In any case, it won't be a problem snapping any of those pictures given that those people actually want to be seen. This is after all, a cheap $5,000 publicity stunt, not an actual serious scientific investigation.

  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @01:08PM (#39475953)

    At $5K, it's not worth it to even make an attempt unless you're able to leverage teams of people already in those locations and are in it for the glory. Plus, once you consider how large some of these cities are, you'll need something more than just your team on the ground doing the work. You'll either need some form of an automated or crowd-sourced system. If you're doing the latter, that means either hoping you can rope in hundreds or thousands of volunteers, or else posting ads in major media with bounties for information that leads to the targets. Either way, the cost far exceeds the reward.

  • Sooooo the April Fool's Day joke is that there's not $5k, right?

  • April.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by theNAM666 ( 179776 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @01:15PM (#39476035)

    >The first team to upload photographs of each of the five by noon eastern time on April 1 will win the competition--and with it, a ton of international glory...

    Yep. They'll forever be known as the April Fools!

  • What kind of DARPA target challenge doesn't place targets in Asia and the Middle-East?

    Eastern Europe? Boooooring!

  • Will we soon have a Facebook app for this?
    Each morning when you log in to Facebook, you will see wanted fugitives in your area.
    If you spot them, report it, and prize money will filter down to you.

  • I'd find it very amusing if somebody without accomplices around the globe somehow manages to deceptively manipulate people or agencies in the remote locations to help them solve this. For example, pull a Jim Rockford and through a phone call manage to get the local constabul in Bratislava to somehow capture and transmit the photo to the home-bound contestant.

    THAT would be very impressive.
  • "The first team to upload photographs of each of the five by noon eastern time on April 1 will win the competition"

    I bet they've all got red and white striped shirts and big ol' glasses and have names that are "Waldo".

  • I understand this challenge was invented by volunteers and not some official agency based on tax money, right? Hopefully it's just for fun, because I don't really understand the purpose of it.

    AFAIK already in the 80ies spy satellites were good enough to read newspapers. Even if that's not accurate I'd imagine with the process that technology has made it should be possible to automatically spot someone in real-time out of millions of people, as long as the sky is clear enough and the person occasionally look

  • Oh I marched to the battle of New Orleans
    At the end of the early British war
    The young land started growing
    The young blood started flowing
    But I ain't marchin' anymore

    For I've killed my share of Indians
    In a thousand different fights
    I was there at the Little Big Horn
    I heard many men lying I saw many more dying
    But I ain't marchin' anymore

    It's always the old to lead us to the war
    It's always the young to fall

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"