In intelligence parlance, a tear line is a mark on a sensitive document where all the information below that line has been cleared for release — the not-so-secretive background info. Now Tearline is the name of an app for intelligence officers to talk about unclassified reports.
Released last week in collaboration with the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or NGA, the app is available only for people with government credentials. Anyone can download it, but once it’s on your phone you can’t do much with it — unless you’re a spy.
Think of Tearline as a gathering place for all the background information that gives context to the classified top-level government reports.
The app serves almost as a wiki for intelligence workers and relies on collaboration and user engagement. As Wired explained, the layout of the app was created by design firm IDEO and lets users post reports from around the web with text, graphs, photographs, videos and comments. The app description calls it an “NGA intranet.”
If spies start using the app, it could become a place to share big news stories, social media posts and other info from around the web along with government-sourced data.
Now that the app’s here, it’s a matter of getting people to use it, since Wikipedia collaboration with no collaborators doesn’t really work.
It may not be as cool as James Bond-style laser watches and sports cars, but for spies, it might be more useful.