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Published on February 13th, 2013 | by Steven Hodson


New software shows darkside of social stalking

We all heard the so-called hype about how sharing too much of yourself on all those social media networks out there could be easily misused for not-so-nice reason. For the most part the social media evangelists and pundits make fun of those of use who do worry about those scenarios where social media isn’t all about the warm and fuzzy of sharing crap with friends.

Well you may seriously want to reconsider just how much you want to share because a new tool from U.S. defense contractor Raytheon can now track where you are, who you are with, what you look like, and quite possibly where you will be next.

The software is called RIOT; which stands for rapid information overlay technology, and it looks at all your social media accounts to determine a wide range of data points about you. According to the Guardian, and a video that they procured showing off the software, it takes into account your Twitter account, Facebook, Gowalla, and Foursquare.

The software was created out of a partnership with Raytheon and the U.S. government and while the company says that it hasn’t been sold to anyone yet it doesn’t say that it isn’t in use.

Of course the usual caveat is bandied about, that it is only being used to uncover more information about individuals who might be a threat, however that doesn’t change the fact that we should be very concerned about just what our social data says about us, especially when it is being aggregated by software like RIOT.

Currently this ‘tool’ only uses the four stated social networks and uses it to be able to map our locations on a Google Earth map, along with your trail of check-ins. It does the same sort of thing with all the images you upload, taking advantage of the rich location data included within those images.

Then based on your location data this ‘tool’ creates graphs of not only where you check in, but how often, on what days of the week, and what times you frequent your most popular places.

None of this will come as any real surprise to people who pay attention to technological trends and how they are used by governments but of course the social media mavens and evangelists will try and pretend that this is nothing to worry about.

Which side of the fence do you come down on?

via VentureBeat



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About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).

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