Privacy Police

Creepy ‘Google for Spies’ Mines Your Social Networks to Predict What You’ll Do Next

"You will go home and watch Bravo while making terrible jokes on Twitter." HOW DID IT KNOW?
(Photo: Tickle the Wire)

(Photo: Tickle the Wire)

It was only a matter of time before some frighteningly powerful security firm decided to write a program that collects and analyzes all of the tiny wisps of ourselves we leave across the web every day. From tweets to Facebook likes to where you got your last cup of coffee on Foursquare, a new piece of software developed by one of the world’s biggest defense contractors knows exactly what you’ll do next, perhaps even before you do.

The Guardian reports that an “extreme-scale analytics” system, called Riot (Rapid Information Overlay Technology) and created by defense company Raytheon, can comb the web like a “Google for spies,” surfacing relevant social network information that can help the algorithm predict the future moves and thoughts of a person. According to the Guardian, Riot makes it possible for interested parties to “gain an entire snapshot of a person’s life – their friends, the places they visit charted on a map – in little more than a few clicks of a button.”

Continues The Guardian:

Riot can display on a spider diagram the associations and relationships between individuals online by looking at who they have communicated with over Twitter. It can also mine data from Facebook and sift GPS location information from Foursquare….The Foursquare data can be used to display, in graph form, the top 10 places visited by tracked individuals and the times at which they visited them.

Like a stalker ex-boyfriend, Riot knows who you flirt with and how many times a week you eat froyo.

Lest you think Massachusetts-based Raytheon has gone rogue and is operating alone, the company has shared its plans with the U.S. government as part of a national security effort. Well, we feel much safer now, what about you?

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com