Here's how governments might stalk you via social media
Defense contractor Raytheon shows off RIOT, its very clever way of knowing when to nab your laptop -- say, during your daily trip to the gym.
You might want to watch the video below before you check in, update your status, or snap and share that photo of you at lunch with your smartphone.
The Guardian got hold of this 2010 video demonstration from Raytheon, a big-time contractor that also develops things like missile systems for the Department of Defense, which shows an online tracking tool called Rapid Information Overlay Technology, or RIOT.
As Raytheon's Brian Urch explains in the video, the system takes in data about an individual from social networks including Facebook, FourSquare and GoWalla (remember, it's late 2010 in the video), maps it using Google Earth and analyzes the location information to figure out where a person has been and what that person's routines are, and even to predict where someone might be at a certain time.
The super-creepy part of the demo comes with this line from Urch at the end: "So if you ever did want to try to get hold of Nick, or maybe get hold of his laptop, you might want to visit the gym at 6am on a Monday."
Contrary to some of the other reports seen this morning on the topic, RIOT was not a top secret project until now. In fact, it was announced by the company in a press release a few months before the date on the video below.
Raytheon says that it has not sold the proof-of-concept software to any clients, according to the Guardian story, but that it is working on RIOT's data analytics system design "with industry, national labs and commercial partners to help turn massive amounts of data into useable information to help meet our nation's rapidly changing security needs."
Whatever the stage of deployment, to hear such flip comments about how your daily check-ins at the gym could be used to target you is still chilling. Makes a person want to hunker down in his cubicle and cut off all contact with the real world.
Oh wait, Raytheon also has a way to keep tabs on you there, too. You win, Big Brother.