Social Media Tracking Software Demo Raises Concerns
The demo video shows Raytheon's Riot using social media to "gain an entire snapshot of a person's life...in little more than a few clicks of a button."
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
In a video obtained by The Guardian, security firm Raytheon demonstrates its Rapid Information Overlay Technology (Riot) system, which tracks and gathers information about individuals through their social media activity. The demo examines the data trail left by a Raytheon employee through Facebook, Twitter, and other sites, quickly uncovering where he's been, what he looks like, and even where he might be in the future. A Raytheon spokesperson says the leaked video is only meant to be a "proof of concept."
What's the Big Idea?
Most countries permit mining of public Web sites, but the sophistication with which Riot gathers and connects data worries privacy advocates such as attorney Ginger McCall: "Users may be posting information that they believe will be viewed only by their friends, but instead, it is being viewed by government officials or pulled in by data collection services" like Riot. Although the company says it hasn't sold Riot to clients, it has admitted sharing the technology with the US government "as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing 'trillions of entities' from cyberspace."
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