“Turns out the tinfoil-beanie crowd was right all along,” said Xeni Jardin in Boing Boing. The CIA really "does want to read your blog posts, follow your Twitter updates, and muck around in your Amazon book review history.” According to Wired, the CIA’s In-Q-Tel investment arm has pumped cash into Bellevue, Wash., start-up Visible Technologies, which monitors a half-million open Web 2.0 sites, including Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr. At least Facebook is safe.
The CIA is probably interested in Visible’s truCast “social listening” tool, said John Cook in TechFlash. More than 100 corporations already use truCast to “track online conversations,” but Visible is quick to point out that its technology “is not about spying on people.” The terms of the deal weren’t revealed, but including the In-Q-Tel investment, Visible has raised $23.5 million.
The In-Q-Tel funds will reportedly be used to beef up Visible’s “foreign language monitoring capabilities,” said Jennifer Van Grove in Mashable, and the CIA says it will monitor international commentary in the “public channels” of the Web. So “we’re not exactly thrilled by the idea of the CIA paying attention to our every tweet,” but this seems like “a rather obvious next step” for the agency. Let’s hope they “use their eye on the social sphere for good.”