Midpoint collection is one of the desired collection capabilities for intelligence collection systems. Midpoint collection processes try to intercept and eavesdrop on the different types of communication links. Midpoint collection is a covert form of SIGINT which enables passive/continuous listening on communication channels using virtual or physical access techniques.
Collected data is sent directly to midpoint collection points. In comparison with endpoint collection activities that try to collect intelligence from endpoints (e.g., computers, servers, databases, etc. data at rest), midpoint collection focuses on the communication channels (i.e., data in transit).
As part of a large acquisition system (ValiantEagle), GENIE project is adopted by NSA Computer Network Operations (CNO) program to conduct endpoint operations to implement midpoint programs.
Intelligence organizations may also use Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as backbone midpoints for large data collections. Encryption and routing algorithms may create challenges for such large-scale collection or interception schemes.
Non-traditional Collection Methodologies
Non-traditional collection methodologies may use means or sources different from those described earlier for intelligence collection. For example, personnel from outside the intelligence field or the traditional intelligence organizations can provide sensitive or valuable information.
Given that such individuals are not from the intelligence-related fields and are not trained or professional in collecting intelligence information, they may not understand or realize the value of the information, may not be willing to share such information, or lack the proper channel to do so.
Espionage can be seen as another example of this type of non-traditional collection methods. In espionage, companies or countries use experts in some fields to spy on other companies or countries for the use and transfer of intelligence and technologies.
Non-traditional collection may refer also to the nature of the collection informa- tion as being non-traditional intelligence information. Such information may not have direct intelligence implications or values. Data aggregated and processed from different sources may show unprecedented values when compared with isolated pieces of information.
In another form of non-traditional collection, traditional collection methods or tools may be utilized or used in a different way.
Between traditional and non-traditional collection methodologies, different intelligence experts may have different perspectives. For example, while intelligence collection methods such as: IMINT, SIGINT, HUMINT are traditional, to many MASINT is less traditional and may include non-traditional components such as real-time situation awareness.