The People's Liberation Army in China or the PLA has reportedly been working on stepping up open-source spying on the U.S. and other foreign militaries will be using artificial intelligence means.
According to a procurement notice from China's Central Military Commission, they have created a new database via a six-month project in which they set up the "Open Source Intelligent Database on Foreign Militaries."
The notice was published by the PLA's Equipment Development Department. The department in question is run by Lt. Gen. Li Shangfu. Just this week he and his department were slapped with sanctions for purchasing weapons from Russia.
Officials here in the US believe that China is using both artificial and human espionage and spying to collect mass amounts of data.
The online notice states: "In light of the diverse sources, complex varieties and huge quantities of open-source intelligence coupled with its high collection costs and the existing issues of scattered [collection] resources and low utilization efficiency, an open source intelligence database on foreign militaries and national defense is to be established,"
The notice also says that the intelligence will be carried out "on major countries and regions' militaries and defense industry are to be collected, and intelligence and data processing is to be prosecuted to provide services and support to relevant work."
The apparent targets will be from publicly available information posted by defense departments from both the U.S and a number of other countries. They claim they will use this information to look at things like organizations, personnel, conferences, special operations and more. They then will cross-reference the information.
They are not only seeking information about key personnel within defense establishments but a much more detailed list that will include information on strategic research conferences and the actual research produced.
They even went on to say that they will be studying bases and the staff at each base. The notice was published in China's weapons and equipment procurement information network. This network is a sort of portal that serves as a platform that openly solicits bids for weapons and equipment research, along with maintenance and production.
Back in 2015, China carried out a cyber attack on American federal workers, along with records of citizens who were enrolled in Anthem, an American healthcare giant. Odds are the new database will benefit from those hacks. Included in the hack were people with security clearances from the Office of Personnel Management.