Raytheon’s RIOT

I came across this article about two weeks ago (it surfaced when President Obama signed his secret executive order effectively enacting CISPA), but haven’t had time to post about it. It is certainly relevant to our current discussion topic of privacy – especially digital privacy. Essentially, this order “will allow for the voluntary sharing of Internet traffic between private companies and the government.” It allows the CAS, which Glenn just posted about. Accompanying this newly obtained governmental power is an algorithm designed by Raytheon, a defense contractor, that essentially can find out everything about a person – and it’s available to the public. I highly encourage everyone to view the video.

The software allows a user to track every checkin, photgraph, or whatever on a list of social media sites. It will compile a schedule of when/how often the person you’re searching for is at a certain place, allowing you to track their wherabouts pretty effectively. The demonstration in the video starts with just a name, getting all of the person’s – Nick’s – media sites, then finds all the locations that he’s been while connected to social media, and then finds photos of him. Very quickly, the demonstrator finds where Nick’s been and what he looks like. Then he begins to predict where Nick will be. The demonstrator finds that the best time to find Nick is a 6AM on Monday in the gym. Finally, he finds all of Nick’s associations. All the people he has communicated with on his social media sites as well as phone numbers of many of those people!

There are obvious privacy issues – not to mention constitutional legality issues – associated with this technology. I believe that the 4th Amendment entitles you to privacy from not only the government, but the general public. Being able to warrantlessly access the information RIOT does without any legal backing is extremely disturbing to me. Most of the privacy topics we have been discussing in class are dear to people – seemingly – because he or she is afraid of who is judging him or her. My biggest issue is that I don’t like people that I can’t see being able to obtain information about me when I don’t know who or even that they are in fact accessing my information! This tool just stiffens my paranoia that stuff like that actually happens for reasons beyond advertising…

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