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How Your Online Trail Just Got Way More Visible

The recent publication of a leaked video demonstrating American security firm Raytheon’s social media mining tool RIOT (Rapid Information Overlay Technology) has rightly incensed individuals and online privacy groups. In a nutshell, RIOT — already shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort in 2010 — uses social media traces to profile people’s activities, map their contacts, and predict their future activities. Yet the most surprising thing isn’t how RIOT works, but that the information it mines is what we’ve each already shared publicly.