Raytheon System Mines Social Media to Track Us

| News

Big BrotherU.S. Defense contractor Raytheon has been hard at work developing a system called Rapid Information Overlay Technology (RIOT) that mines social networking sites to develop detailed profiles of we, the users. RIOT was developed in cooperation with "industry" and the U.S. government with national security in mind.

The Guardian UK reported that Raytheon has not sold the software, but the technology behind RIOT was shared with the government and the unspecified industry partners that were part of the research effort.

The newspaper also acquired a video demonstration from Raytheon that shows the frightening potential of what can be done with information posted willy nilly by users of social networking services like Facebook, Twitter, and a host of others.


Raytheon Demonstrates How to Use Twitter to See Who You Talk To

For instance, RIOT easily lifts longitude and latitude information from photographs posted everywhere to figure out not only who you are but what you look like and who you hang out with. Data from Foursquare and Facebook's check-in service adds extensively to where you've been.

That can, in turn, be used to see where you might go in the future. Using Foursquare data, for instance, RIOT determined that one of its employes—Nick—checks in at a local gym throughout the week, particularly on Monday and Wednesday, as shown in the image below. The yellow bar just creeping into the image at the bottom shows that his usual check-in time is at 6:00 AM.


Big Brother Raytheon

In the video, Brian Urch, the "principal investigator" in the RIOT project, said, "So if you ever did want to try and get a hold of Nick, or maybe get a hold of his laptop, you might want to visit the gym at 6:00 AM on Monday."

As you can see, the system was developed (or at least demonstrated) on a Mac, so yay Apple?

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This is the reality confronting us today. Instant-information sharing adds enormous value to many people's lives, but at the same time it gives government and capital the ability to know you better than you know yourself.

As Google Chairman Eric Schmidt once put it, "We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about."

If capitol (in this case Google, Raytheon, Facebook, Twitter, or even Apple) knows these things, it's only a matter of time before government—and we mean any and every government around the world—knows it, too.


Lee Dronick

For the love of God why do people “Check in” at places, keep a rigid routine and the same routes of travel?

Also I suppose that you could turn off location services on your iOS device and the photos would not have the location in the metadata.

John Dingler, artist

Big gub’mnt is not only gov. regulation but gov. secrecy, command, control, and a lack of opt-out from gov. and corporate snooping, although the two —gov. and gov.—are nearly one, just as it was in Nazi Germany which the US defeated in order to learn the key to adapting fascism and have the overworked public accept it as a necessary form of gov.

John Dingler, artist

I meant gov. and corporation.


For every SOPA we defeat, there’s a RIOT and a Carnivore, and a NarusInsite that we don’t know about until t’s too late. It is the myth of the Hydra made real.  Kill one and three others spring up in it’s place. Get your representative to stop a domestic surveillance program you find too intrusive, and they find a way to do the same thing through the back door. All in the name of the myths called “national security and “counterterrorism”.

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