Death of Privacy: Technology and the Challenge for Social Activists

There is something immeasurably insidious about a government that spies on its citizens. And if there is one universal truth, it is that no country has a monopoly on such activities. Whenever a ruling class, from whatever region, begins to feel threatened by the unforeseen, emerging independence of the underclass, one of the next steps taken is to monitor conversations, document strategies and invade privacies. It's an inevitable impulse that bears witness to the fierce determination of Struggle.

So, it should surprise no one that In-Q-Tel, "the investment arm of the CIA," is enlisting the services of Visible Technologies, a software firm notorious for monitoring social networking activities. Noah Shachtman, contributing editor to Wired magazine, reported this new discovery last week. He described the process in great detail:

Visible crawls over half a million web 2.0 sites a day, scraping more than a million posts and conversations taking place on blogs, online forums, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon.... Then Visible "scores" each post, labeling it as positive or negative, mixed or neutral. It examines how influential a conversation or an author is.

Read the rest here.

Tags: CIA, FBI, Internet, big brother, intelligence gathering, privacy, social networking

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