An article in The Guardian (10 February 2013) reports on software developed by defense firm Raytheon that is able to track people through the social media sites they use.
As part of the article, there is a link to a video showing a step-by-step demonstration of the software program by a Raytheon employee.
Raytheon claims the software (named RIOT for Rapid Information Overlay Technology) has not yet been sold, but the capability is certainly there.
Here is yet another example of technology that has been developed before any guidelines are in place for controlling it. I think this issue is an extremely important one to discuss with our students, who will be the innovators of the future. What applications can they predict for this software? What laws or guidelines would they want to see made to ensure that it won’t be misused and abused?
For another video related to this topic, see “Plurality” – a short film (14:15) written by Ryan Condal and directed by Dennis Liu. It takes place in the year 2023 when “The Grid” is able to track everyone even more efficiently than RIOT can. The purpose of The Grid is to reduce crime, but the film raises the issue of the extent to which we lose privacy in order to increase security.