defence company Raytheon is now boasting about new software that mines social media in order to profile, and predict the movements of potential suspect.
The program, called Rapid Information Overlay Technology, or RIOT, enables intelligence officers to “gain a snapshot of a person’s life” in as little as a few clicks, reports Ryan Gallagher of The Guardian.
From the Guardian:
The sophisticated technology demonstrates how the same social networks that helped propel the Arab Spring revolutions can be transformed into a “Google for spies” and tapped as a means of monitoring and control.
The centralized, national security system could analyse “trillions of entities” over FourSquare, Facebook, and Twitter to build a digital dossier of potential suspects, predict future movements, and quell potential … riots.
Intelligence agencies have been all over young social media execs, like Mark Zuckerberg, since the inception of social media, looking to establish backdoors into these systems. In fact, Zuckerberg’s philosophy, that people will only want to share more information as time goes on, plays right into the hands of government entities tasked with profiling potential “terrorists.”
This isn’t the first foray into social media for defence and intelligence agencies — two years ago defence agencies released a software which enabled officers to ‘pretend’ to be up to 50 different social media personalities, called sock puppets, online simultaneously. Again, their reasons for the software were quite spooky — they wanted to be able to influence social opinion, as well as monitor and gather intelligence on potential threats.
Prediction of an individual’s future movements is nothing new, and government agencies have been seeking these sorts of programs for some time. Last year, we covered how Nokia had developed a software capable of predicting your location within a 24-hour window, to within 10 feet.
They did so by including information from the 10 closest “friends” or acquaintances of the target. In that way, social media is perfect for intelligence gatherers. By monitoring the movements, posts, and “likes” of a group of people, finding an individual within that group becomes exponentially easier.
Think about that the next time you “check in” or are “checked in” with a group of friends.
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