IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Defence firm creates RIOT to track people on social networks

Raytheon’s RIOT could track terrorists via Facebook and Twitter, predict future whereabouts.

You are being watched

US defence firm Raytheon has developed software that can track people via their updates to social networks and can even predict their future movements.

Dubbed RIOT or Rapid Information Overlay Technology, the software is capable of analysing "trillions of entities" mined from social networks and other parts of the internet.

RIOT came to light via investigations carried out by the Guardian newspaper. It unearthed a video from the firm detailing how the software trawls through vast quantities of data collected from Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare to build up a profileof a user.

The software can also pull metadata from pictures taken to pinpoint a user's location when the picture was taken. From this and other location data taken from applications such as Foursquare and Gowalla, the software can predict future movements of users.

Raytheon has not yet sold RIOT to any clients but has been shared with the US government as part of a joint research project to develop a Big Data system capable of surveilling large parts of the population.

Even when you've set all your settings to "Friends" only, it turns out you can still appear in strangers' search results

According to the Guardian report, Raytheon did not want the video to be revealed as the product was a "proof of concept" that had not been sold to clients. A spokesman for Raytheon told the Guardian that its Big Data analytics system would turn "turn massive amounts of data into useable information to help meet our nation's rapidly changing security needs."

The system has also been featured in a recently published patent filed by the firm designed to gather information on people from a variety of sources, including social networks, blogs and other applications.

Privacy organisations have warned that users will have to re-evaluate privacy settings on social networks to avoid themselves from being targetted in online searches by others.

"By locking down your privacy settings, you can help prevent your information from appearing in searches run by strangers and protect your friends from showing up in results," said Adi Kamdar of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

"But even when you've set all your settings to "Friends" only, it turns out you can still appear in strangers' search results," he said.

Kamdar added that users should be allowed to opt out of being found in searches.

IT Pro contacted Raytheon for further comment on RIOT but the firm has not responded to our request for comment at the time of publication.

Featured Resources

The COO's pocket guide to enterprise-wide intelligent automation

Automating more cross-enterprise and expert work for a better value stream for customers

Free Download

Introducing IBM Security QRadar XDR

A comprehensive open solution in a crowded and confusing space

Free Download

2021 Gartner critical capabilities for data integration tools

How to identify the right tool in support of your data management solutions

Free Download

Unified endpoint management solutions 2021-22

Analysing the UEM landscape

Free Download

Recommended

Twitter API keys found leaked in over 3,200 apps, raising concerns for linked accounts
Security

Twitter API keys found leaked in over 3,200 apps, raising concerns for linked accounts

2 Aug 2022
Twitter reports largest ever period for data requests in new transparency report
social media

Twitter reports largest ever period for data requests in new transparency report

1 Aug 2022
Cross-party MPs urge ban on two Chinese CCTV companies citing ethics and security concerns
Policy & legislation

Cross-party MPs urge ban on two Chinese CCTV companies citing ethics and security concerns

5 Jul 2022
Making the most of surveillance video storage
Sponsored

Making the most of surveillance video storage

26 May 2022

Most Popular

Samsung proposes 11 Texas semiconductor plants worth $191 billion
Hardware

Samsung proposes 11 Texas semiconductor plants worth $191 billion

21 Jul 2022
How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

29 Jul 2022
Should you take your password manager off the internet?
Sponsored

Should you take your password manager off the internet?

28 Jul 2022