CIA invests in social media monitoring company
LONDON - US intelligence agency, the CIA, has formed a "strategic partnership and technology development agreement" with Visible Technologies, a company specialising in data-mining social-networking sites such as Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.
In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA, has invested in Visible Technologies, "a leading provider of social media analysis and engagement solutions". The move is believed to be part of the CIA’s aim to utilise the "open source" information available on social networking sites.
In-Q-tel was set up in 1999 to identify "innovative technology solutions to support the mission of the CIA and the broader U.S. Intelligence Community".
Troy Pearsall, executive vice president of architecture and engineering at In-Q-Tel, said: "Visible Technologies' platform is key to understanding the breadth and depth of the online social landscape.
"Its platform delivers a clear and comprehensive view of complex information, integrating real-time data into a navigable and easy-to-use application that understands the context and tone of online dialogue."
Visible listens in to around half a million sites a day covering forums and blogs. It also crawls commercial sites with forums such as Amazon. The only sites it cannot reach are closed networks such as Facebook.
Customers of Visible receive real-time feeds on a required subject, based on a series of keywords. These are scored as neutral, positive or negative depending on the message and the influence of the writer.
Neither Visible, which expects revenues of about £20m next year, or In-Q-Tel would divulge the size of the investment. According to sources at the company, the money will be used to boost its language capabilities.
Steve Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists said it was legal to monitor social networking sites but there were restrictions as to how this could be used.
In a Wired magazine report, he said: "Even if information is openly gathered by intelligence agencies it would still be problematic if it were used for unauthorized domestic investigations or operations.
"Intelligence agencies or employees might be tempted to use the tools at their disposal to compile information on political figures, critics, journalists or others, and to exploit such information for political advantage.
"That is not permissible even if all of the information in question is technically 'open source'."
Visible Technologies currently works with clients including Microsoft, Hormel and Xerox.
Latest jobs Jobs web feed
- Brand Manager Radisson Blu Edwardian, London Competitive , South Kensington, London
- Account Director- Exciting Online Content Marketing Company- Up to £70,000 plus OTE Cedar Scott Up to £70,000 basic (up to £90,000 OTE) plus share options, Central London
- ACCOUNT DIRECTOR/SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR - BTL/SP/Brand Experience - London - £45 - £55k plus bonus Judi Patton £45K-55K plus bonus, London/Greater London
- Senior Planning Director, International Agency, London, to £120k Fill Recruitment Ltd to £120,000, Central London
- Head of Customer Analytics - Consultancy Harnham £90000 - £100000 per annum + benefits, London
- Copywriter Dynamic New Alliances £35000.00 - £40000.00 per annum, City of London
Integrated digital marketing offers huge opportunities to engage, servic...
Mobile marketing is coming of age, and the pace of change is now exponen...
With UK consumers spending an average of £1,083 a year online, int...
Conversational Mobile Marketing: Engage Customers and Empower Advocates (Expert Reports) External website
The pressure is on for marketers and mobile operators to embrace a strat...
As a nation, the UK is media and technology obsessed with over half of t...
All customers have the potential to become your brand advocates, driving...