The Reach of Cyber Threat Intelligence Companies

August 10, 2016

The social media monitoring complex appears to be gaining a follower. LittleSis News shared an article highlighting their investigative findings, You are being followed: The business of social media surveillance. This post not only reveals the technology companies engaged in surveillance and developing tools for surveillance, those at LittleSis News also filed freedom of information requests to twenty police departments about their social media monitoring. The article concludes with,

“Because social media incites within us a compulsion to share our thoughts, even potentially illegal ones, law enforcement sees it as a tool to preempt behavior that appears threatening to the status quo. We caught a glimpse of where this road could take us in Michigan, where the local news recently reported that a man calling for civil unrest on Facebook because of the Flint water crisis was nearly the target of a criminal investigation. At its worst, social media monitoring could create classes of “pre-criminals” apprehended before they commit crimes if police and prosecutors are able to argue that social media postings forecast intent. This is the predictive business model to which Geofeedia CEO Phil Harris aspires.”

In addition to Geofeedia, the other cyber threat intelligence companies listed are: BrightPlanet, ZeroFOX, Intrado, LifeRaft, Magnet Forensics, Media Sonar Technologies, Signal Corporation Limited. These companies specialize in everything from analyzing deep web content to digital forensics software. Ultimately data is their specialty, not people. These technologies and their applications will undoubtedly stir up questions about the relationship between people, the data they produce on social media, and state actors.


Megan Feil, August 10, 2016

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