Multinational defense contractor Raytheon has built a system that mines social networks to track user movements and predict future behavior, according to a report Monday by The Guardian.
The technology has not been sold to anyone, but it was “shared with US government and industry 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,” said the report.
Called Riot, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology, the program uses the location data contained in photographs posted to social networks, as well as public data sifted from Facebook and FourSquare.
The technology is able to give its users a glimpse into the life of a person and their friends by displaying information in a spider diagram to aid the user visualize associations and relationships.
“The sophisticated technology demonstrates how the same social networks that helped propel the Arab Spring revolutions can be transformed into a ‘Google for spies’and tapped as a means of monitoring and control,” wrote The Guardian.