New Tech Can Monitor Social Media Activity -- But What of Security?

February 11, 2013
There are several tools and programs on the internet that specifically monitor the activities of online users, but the software recently (and secretly) developed by Raytheon may lead to far deeper implications. The program, called Riot (Rapid Information Overlay Technology), was shown by UK newspaper The Guardian to be a very effective means of collecting huge amounts of information from social media users, particularly those using Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. Raytheon is the fifth biggest defense contractor in the world. The company shared that Riot was not sold to any other group. However, the technology was shared with the US government in 2010 to improve the national security system. Raytheon acknowledges that the technology it shared with the US government was mainly to improve the security of the nation. The group emphasizes the importance of knowing how to convert large amounts of information into information that can actually be used to protect the United States. Data can be shared and analyzed without having to intrude the personal data of online users. The system can pinpoint individuals based on analyzed data. The group can then specify the activities and whereabouts of individuals based on collected information from social networks. Civil rights groups were also concerned about the implications of the new technology. Even though social media websites have their own security measures to protect the confidential information of users, government agencies can easily use powerful tools and software to track each individual based on the information provided on the internet.

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