Please forgive my ignorance but I’m not a tech or networking pro.....I had thought that all of this had already been in place for years....some elements of it perhaps a decade or more. I had been under the impression that this was the entire ‘actual’ purpose of Facebook and perhaps most other ‘social networking’ sites....to create a ‘fun’ venue where people would be eager to disclose all of their personal data so that it could be mined by advertisers and government entities, and that software has been scouring such sites in the manner discussed here for a very long time.
I’m wondering what is new and groundbreaking about this Riot software? I believe that I have read about pretty much all of the mining elements they’re discussing here over the course of recent years and I confess to being baffled as to what is so terribly new here.
Take information from ALL social network profiles and create a timeline similar to Facebook timeline, showing a person’s activity.
Review the location data embedded in all of the photos you take, create a map of where this person is when pictures are taken. You get a map of where the person has been and when. Useful to verify an alibi, or create a schedule of when and where the person goes.
Build maps and networks of relationships between people, identifying influencers and opinion shapers within social networks - across all social media sites, using software that does it almost at the touch of a button.
The potential for the government has been described like “Big Brother online”. Shut down those few people and profiles, the discussion on a topic you don’t like goes rather quiet. Or track sentiments and groups and find those public discussions that you want to diffuse or undermine. Or those groups growing more disgruntled and start sending friend requests to join in to those groups, so you can listen to their discussions and get invited to invitation only chat rooms. Or look for changes in behavior that show they have moved “offline” to discuss matters.
Defense contractors have also developed software that lets you create a dozen different social profiles and maintain them simultaneously, so that one “update” is spun and posted on all of them to make the accounts look like real people.
Combined with crowd-sourcing tools and artificial intelligence that rates the “tone” of a thread and author on a particular topic, and we’re approaching the point where the government can have a system admin query “show me everyone who hates this legislation / public figure, is actively protesting it and has lots of people listening”. Search, then shut down or infiltrate.