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CIA Is Investing Heavily In Firms That Do Social Media Mining and Surveillance ( 67

Lee Fang, reporting for The Intercept, lists more than three-dozen companies that have received funding from CIA. In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital firm, the publication claims, has invested in 38 companies that research on "social media mining and surveillance." The unpublicized In-Q-Tel companies are: Aquifi, Beartooth, CliQr, CloudPassage, Databricks, Dataminr, Docker, Echodyne, Epiq Solutions, Geofeedia, goTenna, Headspin, Interset, Keyssa, Kymeta, Lookout, Mapbox, Mesosphere, Nervana, Orbital Insight, Orion Labs, Parallel Wireless, PATHAR, Pneubotics, PsiKick, Rocket Lab, Skincential Sciences, Soft Robotics, Sonatype, Spaceflight Industries, Threatstream,, Transient Electronics, TransVoyant, TRX Systems, Voltaiq, and Zoomdata. From the report: Bruce Lund, a senior member of In-Q-Tel's technical staff, noted in a 2012 paper that "monitoring social media" is increasingly essential for government agencies (PDF) seeking to keep track of "erupting political movements, crises, epidemics, and disasters, not to mention general global trends."CIA also recently funded Clearista, a skin care product company that collects DNA.
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CIA Is Investing Heavily In Firms That Do Social Media Mining and Surveillance

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    = Investing in???

    • Both. You know they didn't give any money to any companies unless they aligned with the CIA stance on trashing the constitution. Wouldn't want someone to pull a Snowden on them.
      • Yet another reason NOT to be on Facebook.


        • Yep, that's why I'm not too worried about this stuff. I have a FB account, so I don't look too suspicious, but I don't actually do anything with it.

          I think FB's days are numbered, though: people are starting to figure out that putting their private stuff on there where the whole world can see it is not a smart move, and after enough people get fired from their jobs because of stuff they posted there, people are going to abandon it.

          • I think FB's days are numbered, though

            Year or so ago I was sitting in a little dive bar and I happened to overhear a bit of conversation between two white-haired old geezers, not tech folks at all. One of the geezers remarked: "oh no, I don't trust Facebook at all." That's when I knew the decline of Facebook had begun.

    • That's an autocorrect f-up, no doubt.

      • by msmash ( 4491995 ) Works for Slashdot
        It was indeed a case of autocorrect system fixing my words for me. Apologies. Disabling this terrible extension I downloaded. Thanks for pointing out, guys.
    • by NReitzel ( 77941 )

      It's part of their overall stratigery.

  • The lines... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by messymerry ( 2172422 ) on Friday April 15, 2016 @10:02AM (#51914749)
    The lines between corporations and government are getting blurrier by the day. Those with an ear, let them hear...
    • by Salgak1 ( 20136 )

      Coming Soon: . . .

    • Those ears aren't listening until checks start rolling in. Money talks. You'd be better off doing a kickstarter or similar project where people pool money to get good legislation passed.

    • The lines between corporations and government are getting blurrier by the day. Those with an ear, let them hear...

      “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”
        Benito Mussolini

  • Just seems a weird choice to put in the article.

    • by rockmuelle ( 575982 ) on Friday April 15, 2016 @10:47AM (#51915015)

      Docker has introduced some wonderful security holes into the cloud ecosystem. Given its heavy use in many environments (and downstream use by well meaning individual users), it provides a wonderful backdoor that intelligence agencies will have access to for years to come.

      Even without the obvious root filesystem access issue (which Docker likes to brush aside as "well, you can do that with a VM, too"), there are still thousands of Docker images out there running unpatched versions of libraries.


    • by Anonymous Coward

      Seventeen contracts are linked to in the Intercept article. Docker's is one of them.

      Docker: Open platform to build, ship, and run distributed applications. Contract is here: []

      "The Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service), on behalf of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), intends to contract with Docker Inc., 144 Townsend Street, San Francisco, CA 94107, on a sole source basis, under authority of FAR 6.302-1, for one (1) Node L

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Investing != Investigating Pretty sure the title is incorrect.

    That said, screw the CIA. They work against US citizens far more than they work for them.

    • Investing != Investigating Pretty sure the title is incorrect.

      The CIA is investigating the books of these companies. The appropriate CIA front company will provide investment funding.

  • by Archeopteryx ( 4648 ) * <benburch.pobox@com> on Friday April 15, 2016 @10:21AM (#51914853) Homepage

    We get all bent out of shape when the NSA collects nearly useless phone records, and then give every secret in our lives to Facebook, Google, and Yahoo without a care!

    • Interesting case in point. Today the UK arrested five suspects linked to the attacks in Paris and Brussels []. They did this with the direct assistance of MI5 and presumably French security services. It wouldn't surprise me if the intelligence source was located somewhere in the vicinity of GCHQ, the government "listening" service.

      I'll be honest and say I'm fine with government surveillance. What's always worried me is both political control of these organs of the state and at the same time lack of pol
      • "Committees of government and opposition controlling the security services seems to me to be the only solution. And that, by and large, is what we have." What country do you live in? Because the FISA kangaroo courts are very far from that which you just described.
        • Oh not those. I mean the committees and people who sign the orders and keep an eye on what the security services are up to. The secret courts are an absolute disgrace and affront to natural justice.
    • Not everyone does this. At least in the case of the commercial companies, we have a right to say no. That's not the case with the government, which is just as bad (only slower.)

  • by rgbscan ( 321794 ) on Friday April 15, 2016 @10:23AM (#51914863) Homepage

    BearTooth and GoTenna are communications companies looking for off-grid comms. I can see why "the company" would be interested in this off the shelf solution. They both pair your Android or iOS devices via Bluetooth to their off-grid communications product.

    Beartooth forms a mesh network with other Beartooth units it can "see", operates in the 900mhz band, and offers text private and group messaging, gps sharing, and voice messaging across the mesh network it creates between it's users. It also charges your device via it's onboard battery pack.

    GoTenna is more expensive but does less. It offers point to point (meaning the person you want has to be in range of you, there is no mesh network) text communication and gps location sharing. It operates on the MURS bands. The only bonus is that it supposedly offers better battery life than BearTooth, and you can get it at consumer retailers like REI rather than ordering online.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    and make them part of the Collective. If they have new ways of spying on everyone, we must assimilate them.

    We are the government. Resistance is futile. From now on, you will

  • Right... (Score:4, Funny)

    by DivineKnight ( 3763507 ) on Friday April 15, 2016 @11:21AM (#51915297)

    Because they've looked into their crystal ball, and have seen that the terrorists of the future are going to blog about their next big target ("200,000 likes and we'll bomb the Statue of Liberty!").

    You know what, I'm fine with this. I just need some island to retire to, and the rest of the world can go full retard.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      200,000 likes and we'll bomb that quiet, seemingly uninhabited, island.

  • The CIA having a business arm is a very dangerous thing. []

  • Since both the intelligence agencies and the DoD have huge black budgets who know what other companies they are investing in. How is it that companies with no profits keep getting funded?

  • This is what happens when you Facetwat addicts post every stupid cat video, check in into every restaurant you go to, and post every little thing that happens to you -- people start using you to make even *more* money than before.

    Enjoy your oversharing. It'll bite you in the ass someday. Maybe now, maybe soon, maybe a long time for now.

    • ..."FROM now..." not ..."for now." Oy. I blame acute caffeine deficiency and not hitting Preview.

    • From what I've read, the really young people (18-25) are abandoning Facebook in droves (or just not using it, and basically maintaining an account there so they can talk to their parents). It's the Gen-Xers and Millenials who are stupidly posting every detail of their lives to Facebook.

  • by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Friday April 15, 2016 @12:37PM (#51915865) Journal

    So is the summary. Only 4 of the 38 are social media analysis firms. Docker [], for example, is a software container (sort of virtual machine) company.

  • The funny thing is that you can do exactly the same [] (it's the first talk in that video) to datamine the CIA, FBI, ... and their subcontractors. The resulting project names you find range from scary-but-expected ("Panopticon") to downright disturbing ("Never shake a baby").

  • Taxpayer dollars thrown at the investigation and subduement of movements and protest.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter