Local police departments are using software developed by a CIA-funded company to monitor citizens’ social media posts and their physical locations in real time 24 hours a day.
Stories from across the country have revealed that several local law enforcement agencies — in Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Oakland among others — and corporations — the Mall of America and McDonald’s — have purchased surveillance software from a company called Geofeedia. The program will inform police of the physical location from which you made your last social media post. It will provide the content of your posts, too.
Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are all included in the surveillance sweep, and all the updates posted to any one of these popular services will be uploaded to one single database available all day, every day, to police.
Geofeedia’s pamphlet promoting the service touts their intelligence platform’s ability to provide “targeted surveillance” and “perpetual monitoring” of social media posts. Literature produced by Geofeedia also promotes its software’s ability to track large crowds, including “protests,” athletic events, and natural disasters.
As reported by The Intercept
Geofeedia specializes in collecting geotagged social media messages, from platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, to monitor breaking news events in real time. The company, which counts dozens of local law enforcement agencies as clients, markets its ability to track activist protests on behalf of both corporate interests and police departments.
It is hard to imagine anything more offensive to the Constitution and its protection against unwarranted searches and seizures.
This violation on the part of local law enforcement using Geofeedia’s surveillance software is all made possible by millions of dollars invested in this company and others by In-Q-Tel, the venture capital firm controlled by the CIA.
In-Q-Tel is active in the advancement of the surveillance net being spread all over the United States by federal, state, and local government.
How substantial is the CIA’s involvement? The Intercept article reports:
The latest round of In-Q-Tel investments comes as the CIA has revamped its outreach to Silicon Valley, establishing a new wing, the Directorate of Digital Innovation, which is tasked with developing and deploying cutting-edge solutions by directly engaging the private sector. The directorate is working closely with In-Q-Tel to integrate the latest technology into agency-wide intelligence capabilities.
Over the last decade, In-Q-Tel has made a number of public investments in companies that specialize in scanning large sets of online data. In 2009, the fund partnered with Visible Technologies, which specializes in reputation management over the internet by identifying the influence of “positive” and “negative” authors on a range of platforms for a given subject. And six years ago, In-Q-Tel formed partnerships with NetBase, another social media analysis firm that touts its ability to scan “billions of sources in public and private online information,” and Recorded Future, a firm that monitors the web to predict events in the future.