CIA Invests in In-Q-Tel to Monitor Blog Posts

Filed as News on October 20, 2009 11:34 am

I’m a bit hesitant to cover this news  item because of its sensitivity. But then I realized I’m not from the U.S. so I guess the CIA won’t be running after me in case I miss out some minor points of the news. Still, I’d be cautious and just mention the facts.

What am I talking about? Wired.com is running an exclusive piece about the CIA’s investment arm called In-Q-Tel which is reportedly eyeing a piece of Visible Technologies.  Visible Technologies is a software firm specializing on social media monitoring such as blog posts, online videos, newspaper articles, Flickr photos, Tweeter tweets and other social media by-products.

When tracking social media activities such as blog posts, Visible labels each post as either positive or negative, mixed or neutral. It also determines how influential a blogger or author is and the conversation that it  generates from his blog posts. Visible Technologies will then allow users to tag posts, share them with colleagues and provides a response mechanism via a web interface.

According to the report, In-Q-Tel wants Visible to track foreign social media activities and inform them of issues that are being handled internationally.

But the report further states:

Of course, such a tool can also be pointed inward, at domestic bloggers or tweeters. Visible already keeps tabs on web 2.0 sites for Dell, AT&T and Verizon. For Microsoft, the company is monitoring the buzz on its Windows 7 rollout. For Spam-maker Hormel, Visible is tracking animal-right activists’ online campaigns against the company.

There are other finer points of In-Q-Tels decision to invest on Visible Technologies. But I would rather that you read them on your own, since this is  something that I don’t want to happen in the country where I’m located. It’s like putting too much power on a country’s Intel Department.

And we all know that  power comes with great responsibility. I don’t think the guys at the CIA In-Q-Tel are all Peter Parker wannabes who can handle power to the betterment of all.

Still, the question remains – are  you comfortable knowing that your blog posts or your Tweets are being monitored and track by a goverment agency?

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  1. By stiennon posted on October 20, 2009 at 11:52 pm
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    You better be comfortable. After all you are posting in a public forum, accessible to all.

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