Country Living Series

Monday, February 11, 2013

Predicting future behavior

Here's a fascinating little news article I picked up last night on Drudge.

It seems a multinational security firm "has secretly developed software capable of tracking people's movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites."

Predicting their behavior. Ooooh, ominous. What's next? Will people be pre-emptively jailed for something they "might" do in the future?

Apparently this software (nicknamed "Riot") is designed to track and analyze data from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and other social network sites. Unsurprisingly "the technology was shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing 'trillions of entities' from cyberspace."

The article notes, "Using Riot it is possible to gain a picture of a person's life - their friends, the places they visit charted on a map - in little more than a few clicks of a button." No secrets in cyber-space.

Yeah, that's a "riot," all right. Needless to say, Google (which powers this blog) is hand-in-glove with this technology.

Quite awhile ago I had a faithful reader who rather abruptly announced she would no longer be commenting because she was withdrawing from ALL internet connectivity. Hmmmm. Maybe she had the right idea.


  1. I tend to be very, very careful about what I say or do online. I think some people are very un-cautious (is that a word?) about what they post. Facebook? I am appalled at the personal nature of much of the content - particularly the very young. It will most definitely haunt them in the future.

    The owner of one of our fast food places in Post Falls, told me the first place they head when hiring is Facebook.

    "Predicting their behavior. Ooooh, ominous. What's next? Will people be pre-emptively jailed for something they "might" do in the future?"

    That's exactly where they're going with some of the mental health stuff being bandied about.

  2. I think living in today's society (unless you're a hermit) makes it nearly impossible not to be 'tracked' in some form. With surveillance cameras, time/date stamped receipts when using a debit/credit card .. cell phone text/phone records and don't forget GPS tracking devices in said phones .. there's really no way around it. Everything is out in the open .. You can run .. but it's pretty hard to hide from the prying eyes of the gov't.

  3. She had the wrong idea.
    People who suddenly remove themselves from the internet are very suspicious.
    Just carry on as normal while remembering that everything you post may be used against you in a court of law.

  4. Did you ever see (or read Philip K Dick's) "Minority Report?"

  5. Life is getting very complicated. Unless you only use cash, don't own anything, never use the internet, and pretty much live off the grid, your life is an open book. And they wonder why people are getting paranoid!!!!

  6. Her I thought that Doctors and their patient(s) information were as sacrosanct as the relationship between attorneys and their clients. Cyberspace? fffff.

    We lost a whole bunch of privacy with the Patriot Act, and that was not the beginning, and probably won't be the end.

    I returned from a sunny Southeast Asia 'vacation' in 1970. I cleared Customs in less than 10 minutes. I didn't have to take off my boots, nor my clothes, nor walk through a metal detector. I arrived on a MAC flight at SeaTac. The last time I LEFT SeaTac for a flight to my hometown, I had to do do all of the above - with the exception of doffing my jeans.

    That's the last time I will fly - anywhere, for any reason.

  7. predicting ones behavior = assumptions, which we all know what assuming makes one...

    Predicting behavior, phrased as "could" is what prompted officials to raid the Branch Davidian compound, as in an informant said there were gun parts that "could" be used to make a gun that was illegal under the assault weapons ban that was imposed at the time. Not that they did, but that they "could". The sheriff had all ready been called to the compound to inspect firearms and had assured the residents that what they had was legal.

    We have recent instances where LEO of one flavor or another raids homes to confiscate weapons and ammo, because they "could" mean the owner was "stockpiling" and "could" be a terrorist. The one I read about just today has had no charges filed against him for his legal ownership of firearms, nor have the firearms been returned.

    I, too, am considering not commenting any longer. LOL, I think it may make many people happy. Until I decide for good, I put my computer on "private browsing", although I am unsure whether or not it's completely private. Hubby is retired SF, we homeschool, son is in shooting sports in 4H, and we are Christians. I'm sure we are on a list all ready.

    On the other hand, I wonder what the founding fathers would have done. Would they have freely communicated with likeminded individuals on various blogs, if they had been available?


    1. Private browsing only hides your tracks FROM YOUR OWN computer.

      Your Internet service provider records everyplace you visit and most are more than glad to turn this info over to the Feds because in many cases they make money by doing this.

  8. For the Asimov fans out there, Hari Seldon had the Riot idea first.

    It's kind of freaky how so much of the science fiction from my childhood is coming to fruition now, but I suppose that was the point.

  9. WOW! I guess George Orwell had it right(written in 1949) .....1984 is coming true! Big Brother is alive and well!!! We are actively supplying him with what he needs to control our lives. Some people are so willing to give up their freedom and privacy...

  10. Anyone remember the movie "Minority Report?" Pre-Crime is coming...

  11. Spooky ... but ... how good is it? Where is Christopher Dorner likely to be right now? Or to try to attack again?

    No help? Yeah, I didn't think so.

    Now, can it predict which pages I'll visit, which interest groups I'll support, the candidates for whom I'll vote, and the ads in which I'd be interested? Within a reasonable margin of error, I'm sure.

    It's one of those things that constitutes a violation of the 4th Amendment but holds little ACTUAL law enforcement value.

  12. So I wonder what type of profile it would generate if you knew it was doing this and deliberately put in all false information? Wonder what kind of "profile" the government goons would have on me then?

    1. I thought of that too, but it likely wouldn't work because you can't falsify everything! Sure you could probably make a fake Facebook account, but anything else you do - medical & financial transactions, on-line purchases, e-mails etc. will shed a bright light on the truth about you.

      Steve Davis
      Anchorage, Alaska

  13. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)February 11, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Anyone, and I mean anyone who writes to their senator, congressman, newspaper or replies to any blog is being watched. Your computer, phone, cable, satellite dish and even your library card all are monitored and have tons of information about you. We are no longer a free people. Nothing nor no one is going to or can change it. And it's our own fault.
    Shame on us .... we blew it.

    1. How did "we" blow it? I sometimes think I understand what you and others mean when they write that, but I'm not really sure. I didn't vote for or ask for any of this, and I've been active in my fight against it.

      I suddenly feel like all the energy and time I've spent fighting for my freedoms and liberties has been wasted, whereas previously I thought that the "squeaky wheel got the grease", so I kept squeaking.

      Maybe it is time to be come the greyman.


    2. Susie, the 'art' of greyman is to appear just like any other member of the infinite horde while figuring out how to do just what you please.

      It's not Mission:Impossible, but it does take a bit of effort.

    3. Thank you, Miles. My mother said I was always very good at "doing just what I pleased" while leading her to believe otherwise, LOL!

      Still pondering the situation.

      Thanks again.

  14. There is another element to consider if you plan to withdraw from the interwebz...IIRC DHS has decided that you may be a threat if you do NOT post on social media sites.

    so, if you don't do it, you are a problem, if you do do it, you can be a problem...

    isn't there a saying about One might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb?

  15. The only cold comfort we have is the government isn't organized enought to keep track of everybody. Don't make waves and stay off the radar. This is one of those situations where all we can do is keep doing what we are doing until the whole house of cards comes crashing down. Then maybe we can hit the reset button and rebuilt this nation the way it was supposed to be.

  16. Our family avoids so much, for this very reason. I would probably enjoy very much some of the survivalist sites and free online reads through Amazon, but just don't dare try. I'm hyper conscious of the sites I click on, the things I Google, or the things I put in my blog.