Raytheon making social-network-mining software to help gov'ts spy on citizens

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34 Responses to “Raytheon making social-network-mining software to help gov'ts spy on citizens”

  1. L_Mariachi says:

    Wow, software that tracks people who regularly announce their location to the world. Sophisticated technology indeed.

    • Dave Jenkins says:

      Indeed.  It looks like Raytheon is hoping to fleece the Feds’ defense budget with some fancy-schmancy software that any competent college kids could write.

      • But could the competent kids write the 100 gigabytes of specifications which go along with it? Thats what you need to impress the Feds.

      • bkad says:

        As the article said, it’s proof of concept and hasn’t been sold to anyone. It’s possible just-out-of-college hires DID write it.

        Though I do think you overestimate the skills of college students. In the real world companies don’t get to work only with the top 5% who are producing professional-quality projects as undergrads or the top fractional-percent that are launching tech companies.

        • This is the real issue. People are screaming “TECHNOFASCIST POLICE STATE” when the reality is Raytheon probably got a large chunk of funding which hired some recent college grads who’re gonna write a fairly buggy and doubtfully field-ready piece of software that will give some intelligence offices a huge boner but really just end up making everyone feel frustrated. Never underestimate mediocrity, especially when it comes to government dev projects!

          • What a joke. Raytheon is years behind then and that’s whats even funnier.

            The program has already been written and is already being sold.

            Look up “Maltego” and “Casefile”. Open source offline intelligence gathering.

            If you don’t already know about these programs you should consider yourself inept on the internet.

    • Gulliver says:

      More precisely, software that tracks people too lazy to scrub their metadata and dumb enough to use Foursquare.

      • angusm says:

        Or people who associate with people too lazy to scrub their metadata and dumb enough to use Foursquare. Because even if you practice good information hygiene, someone linked to you can unwittingly give away information that could be used to yield some reasonable guesses about your behavior.

        Your only hope is to surround yourself with people even more paranoid than you are.

  2. spacedmonkey says:

    Brilliant.   Just because I have friends who are involved in nonviolent and almost entirely legal progressive activism, (aka eco-terrorism) now I get to be a “security risk.”

  3. Jake0748 says:

    Fuck this shit.

  4. kmoser says:

    Because EXIF data and Foursquare check-ins can never be spoofed.

    • Alex Rudnick says:

      Yeeeaahhh, but they’re usually not spoofed, and probably the spoofs can be detected with a little bit of machine learning. That’s the thing: you can’t expect this sort of thing to be perfectly accurate. It doesn’t have to be.

  5. Sarge Misfit says:

    Seriously? Homeland Security can’t identify terrorists even using porno scanners and body searches, now the gov’t is going to rely on software to find “bad actors or groups”?

    Clearly, they need all the can get.

    I’m a “bad actor”, constantly tweeting and posting about the abuses and screwups committed by those in authority. Come and get me, copper!

  6. Bucket says:

    What a relief! We’re finally going to be kept safe from the terrible international scourge of 19 year old girls who post everything they do to Facebook.

  7. “Nick” was nicked
    and now so am i, not by king gillete
    but more like a schtick.
    ouch!

  8. Josh Cothran says:

    Probably painting a target on my back here, but IMHO the whole Big Brother take on this story is a bit overblown. In the hands of citizens, tools like this have the potential to *help* people become more aware of the information they’re (over)sharing and expose holes in the privacy policies of sites like Facebook and Foursquare.

    The most likely application of this isn’t spying on you, it’s OPSEC (operational security) – mitigating accidental leaks from within an organization to outsiders. Loose lips sink ships, etc. Just my $0.02.

    • starfish and coffee says:

      The point you’re making is is US centric. However, the concerns about this kind of software is just as much what it can do in the hands of other  governments around the world.

  9. tnmc says:

    Why waste time at a gym?  The guy works at Raytheon.  Why not just show up there during business hours.

    Added bonus: you get to have a raging hard on while conducting a Perp Walk.

  10. batmanroxus says:

    They don’t need special software to spy on me, I give them the bird openly for all to see. Screw a GD control freak:)

  11. ludd says:

    Back in 1975 John Brunner published The Shockwave Rider – bear in mind that this was prior to personal computing – If you haven’t…read it.  That could well be the direction we are going.

  12. Brian Forcier says:

    Raytheon spend millions each year attempting to ensure their company and it’s agent act ‘ethically’.  What a farce!  How does one explain the ethics behind aiding the Federal government in their continuing pursuit to circumvent the Constitution. Shame on you!  Perhaps they should rename their ‘Patriot’ surface to air missile, the “King George, Imperial Usurper”

    • bkad says:

      In the context of defense companies acting ethically means ‘playing by the rules’. If you think defense companies are evil (a position I disagree with but won’t debate), you should think of them in terms of the dungeons and dragons alignment ‘lawful evil’ rather than ‘chaotic evil’. These companies set up policies to prevent conflicts of interest, avoid illegal or questionable influence (e.g. bribes-in-all-but-name-gifts), prevent releases of personal information to other than lawful authorities, limit gray-area expensing and cost accounting, and so forth. To hear the old-timers tell it, all of these, and more, were a part of cold-war-era defense contracting. I think it is an improvement.

      But you do have a point that ethics is at least partially a matter of opinion.

  13. dross1260 says:

    Is this a watered down version of  Palantir Tech?

  14. Peter says:

    Sometimes I think we really need the Friends of Privacy from Vernor Vinge’s “Rainbows End” (I’m rereading it at the moment)

  15. That_Anonymous_Coward says:

    And the acronym most certainly isn’t being used to be a subtle warning of what you need this tech to avoid.  Of course once people understand what its going to be used for its going to create just that…

  16. dickel says:

    I recommend reading “Scroogled”. 
    http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2007-09-17-n72.html
    I happened to listen to it yesterday. It might put a different perspective on this for the doubters/scoffers…

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