Not really surprising, as whole revolutions that topple governments transpire over social media. Whether this revelation is exciting or a whole new level of Big Brother voyeurism is really up to the reader. This week, Kimberly Dozier of the Associated Press reported on a secret CIA facility in Virginia whose sole purpose is to sift through social networking.
By ‘sift’, we mean poring over millions of tweets and keeping tabs on Facebook while collecting newspapers, magazine, etc. The whole point is to harvest vast amounts of information and create models that can assess the political climate of entire countries.
According to the report, the hundreds of analysts and hackers who are involved in the program were able to anticipate this year’s revolution in Egypt. Other flare ups across the globe are also closely monitored, like civil unrest in Iran or Thailand, for example. What they gather is eventually distilled into an intelligence report that’s presented to President Obama on a daily basis.
The funny part is this kind of revelation will further inflame the fringe paranoiacs who are passionately vocal about social media being an intelligence tool. As far back as 2008, a few journalists were already ringing the alarm bells, one of them going so far as to name names.
This boils down to personal feelings, thus begging the question: reader, are you cool with the CIA watching your Facebook activity?
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