By Kathryn Richardson
CREATED by US defence contractor, Raytheon, the technology relies on sites such as Facebook and Twitter for detailed information.
Fears exist that the powerful software could be used by governments to monitor and control people online after Raytheon shared the system, called Rapid Information Overlay Technology or Rapid, with the US government in 2010.
A video obtained by The Guardian demonstrates how it can analyse the movements of a Raytheon employee called ‘Nick’, including the location of where he keeps his smartphone.
Reports state: “We know where Nick’s going; we know what Nick looks like, now we want to try to predict where he may be in the future.”
A Raytheon spokesman said: “Riot is a big data-analytics system design and we are working with industry, national labs and commercial partners to convert massive amounts of data into usable information to help meet our nation’s rapidly changing security needs”.
Ginger McCall, from the US-based Electronic Privacy Information Centre, said the social-networking sites were not transparent regarding what information is shared.
“Users may be posting information that they believe will be viewed only by their friends, but instead it is being viewed by government officials,” she added.