Raytheon System Mines Social Media to Track Us

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?