Google and CIA Plough Millions Into Huge ‘Recorded Future’ Monitoring Proje
Search Company’s ties to spy agency in spotlight again over real time Internet monitoring
Thursday, Jul 29th, 2010
Google’s cosy relationship with the U.S. spy network has once again been thrust into the spotlight as the company is reported to have jointly invested with the CIA in an Internet monitoring project that scours Twitter accounts, blogs and websites for all sorts of information, and can also “predict the future”.
Google Ventures, the investment arm of Google, has injected a sum of up to $10 million, as has In-Q-Tel – which handles investments for the CIA and the wider intelligence network – into a company called Recorded Future.
The company describes its analytics as “the ultimate tool for open-source intelligence”.
Wired’s defence analyst, Noah Schachtman, has a detailed report on the joint venture:
“…it scours tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents — both present and still-to-come. In a white paper, the company says its temporal analytics engine “goes beyond search” by “looking at the ‘invisible links’ between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events.”
The idea is to figure out for each incident who was involved, where it happened and when it might go down. Recorded Future then plots that chatter, showing online “momentum” for any given event.”
Recorded Future “continually scans thousands of news publications, blogs, niche sources, trade publications, government web sites, financial databases and more,” according to it’s portfolio.
It sifts through millions of posts and conversations taking place on blogs, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon to “assemble actual real-time dossiers on people.”
It is also being integrated with Google Earth, which, as Schachtman points out in his piece, was seeded with In-Q-Tel/CIA investment. This integration will allow real time tracking of the locations of persons or groups as part of the overall intelligence dossier.
A promotional video shows the company’s real time browser-operated data mining engine at work.