US defense giant Raytheon has developed a controversial software that uses social networking sites to track your movements, able to predict where a person will be and their future behavior. The program has drawn criticism from civil rights groups. – daily alternative news
A video obtained exclusively by The Guardian shows how software developed by the US defense contractor Raytheon, can gather vast amounts of personal information from social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.
Raytheon has admitted that the technology was shared with the US government as part of a joint research and development program in 2010, as part of an effort to build a national security system capable of analyzing trillions of entities from cyberspace.
But, the Massachusetts-based company says it has not sold the software, which is called Riot, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology, to any clients.
The controversial software allegedly enables access to entire parts of a person’s life, their friends, any pictures of themselves they have posted online and places they have visited charted on a map.
In the video it is explained by Brian Urch, Raytheon’s ‘principal investigator’, exactly how the program can be used to track someone down.
“We’re going to track down one of our employees,” says Urch. He then proceeds to show, using information gathered from social networking sites, how “Nick” visited Washington National Park and a picture of Nick in the park with a blonde woman.
“We know where Nick is going, we know what Nick looks like, now we want to try to predict where he will be in the future,” Urch continues.
As Nick regularly uses Foursquare, a phone app that alerts friends to your whereabouts, it was possible for Riot to track the top ten places visited by Nick and the times at which they were visited.
It shows that Nick visits a gym every Monday at 6am. “So if you want to get hold of Nick, or maybe get hold of his laptop, you might want to visit the gym at 6am on a Monday,” says Urch.
Using public websites for law enforcement is considered legal in most countries, and Riot will be of interest to intelligence and national security agencies. In February last year the FBI requested that it wanted to develop ways of mining social media sites for monitoring “bad actors or groups”.
This has prompted concern from civil liberties groups about online privacy. Ginger McCall, an attorney at the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, said Riot raised concerns about how an individual’s data could be collected covertly without oversight or regulation.
“Users may be posting information that they believe will be viewed only by their friends, but instead it is being used by government officials or pulled in by data collection services like the Riot search,” McCall told The Guardian.
But Raytheon defended its product and in an email to the Guardian Jared Adams, a spokesman for the company’s intelligence and information systems department, said it would help to meet the US’s rapidly changing security needs.He also highlighted that it does not analyze personally identifiable information, such as bank details or social security numbers.
In December Raytheon indicated that Riot would be part of a patent the company is pursuing for a system designed to gather data from social networking sites and blogs to identify if someone is a national security risk.
dailyalternative | alternative news – Software that tracks your every move and predicts future behavior draws heat
Britain’s House Price Crash – 2016 Predictions Mount
Housing in many countries, especially Britain, is no longer an investment; it’s now made up of three fundamentals: consumption, crime and concern. The general public getting on the bandwagon with cheap loans is consumption. The crime slot is taken now that over 40% of Britain’s housing stock is bought in cash with property used as an international laundrette to wash hundreds of billions and concern comes from savers who quite rightly think that the banks and government will steal their hard-earned (low or negative savings rates), tax-paid money that drives a reluctant middle class into becoming landlords.
Cheap loans will prevail but credit is drying up the world over. The criminals have stopped buying in over-heated Britain and even George Osborne, who has fueled the bubble, is taking action against amateur landlords that make up the vast majority of property investors in Britain.
But don’t take my word for it. Predictions of a house price crash in 2016 are now mounting thick and fast, something unheard of in previous property recessions and particularly back in 2007 just before the last epic fall.
We kick off with consumption. The Week has a piece from Pete Redfern, the chief executive of Taylor Wimpey, Britain’s biggest house builder who says that “The UK is in a “borderline place” on home ownership as a result of rampant price rises and more needs to be done to rein in the pace of (property) inflation”. It also makes the observation that “London, where the housing market is becoming so detached from the wider UK that it has been called “another country”.
Then we have dodgy dosh from overseas; as RT reports – “Asian and Russian luxury homebuyers are deserting London’s property market amid economic uncertainty. Property buyers from Asia made up 26 percent of those buying homes in wealthy areas of London such as Kensington, Chelsea, and Belgravia in the first three quarters of last year. That figure has dropped to 6 percent according to figures compiled by estate agent Hamptons for the Financial Times”.
And not forgetting those poor fearful middle class reluctant landlords about to lose their shirts. From industry expert Letting Agent Today – “Osborne has slashed rental sector confidence ‘to below crisis levels’. Landlords’ confidence in the buy to let sector has collapsed to an all-time low and is now “worse than levels witnessed during the financial crash” according to a trade body. Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Landlords Association, says confidence in landlords’ business expectations has tumbled by more than a third over the past year – down from 67 per cent to an all-time low of 43 per cent. The current level of confidence in the BTL sector is now five per cent lower than levels witnessed after the financial crash in 2007”.
The property bubble will burst and London will be its epicenter. But it’s not just London that is causing it. Back in the early 1990s I was already a few years into my 25-year career in residential property. Chancellor Nigel Lawson decided to abolish MIRAS in 1988 – a mortgage relief scheme which saved homeowners thousands on their payments. Stupidly, Lawson gave about six months notice. This pushed up prices as buyers rushed to snatch up a property before the tax break disappeared, much the same as Osborne’s increase in tax and subsequent epic run by property investors to beat the deadline this April.
On that day in April 1988 I saw the entire property industry implode. Property prices fell by around a third, 1.5 million homeowners declined into negative equity, annual repossessions doubled, tripled and then quadrupled in a matter of months. At one point repossessions represented 1 in every 130 households of Britain.
A few years later I switched from selling property to renting and ended up managing one of the biggest residential rental portfolios in the UK. I had 11,000 repossessions to manage because the government had offered tax breaks to banks and building societies to stop these units reaching the market via auctions (called Business Expansion Scheme Companies or BESCo’s) and utterly destroying what little remained of the housing market. I also had another 2,000 high-end units where building companies had gone bust with no one to buy them. We filled them with all those that had lost their homes or where the government were paying housing benefit – obviously.
Over 40% of Thatcher’s right-to-buy disaster ended up being repossessed. Cameron has just made the same mistake, except he’s a bit late in the game announcing it this time around.
Like last time, the bubble will burst where the price is most inflated – London. Unlike previous deflations, this one is predicted, and the writing is large and loud.
daily alternative | alternative news – Britain’s House Price Crash – 2016 Predictions Mount
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