A Look at Raytheon’s RIOT Application
The Rapid Information Overlay Technology or RIOT software application by Raytheon has generated privacy concerns and paranoia. What can this application do, and what can’t it do?
Raytheon’s RIOT software can pull together information about a user from multiple social media platforms to create a composite view of a user’s activities, patterns, associations and beliefs. When does this person typically log onto the computer? Are they accessing social media from work? Are they sharing politically incorrect ideas with people, and how connected are they to radical groups? Unlike Facebook’s data mining into the lives and associations of its members, RIOT draws on every social media platform – Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin, the Infowars social media site and others.
RIOT can mine the location information in photos people post to determine when and where the pictures were taken. It can create a map and reveal your route. However, it cannot do this if you turn off the automatic embedding of location information in your photos. And you gain more privacy protection if you turn off apps that automatically upload every picture you take to social media.
RIOT can create lists of user comments and postings online for evaluation. However, it does not read a user’s private emails, though the federal government has been demanding this information from various firms. RIOT cannot mine the data files on your personal computer. However, the federal government has been arguing that data stored on the cloud isn’t “private” like data on a computer in your home, thus exempt from many of the protections granted to private papers. Internet security then only applies to the government itself, though it has a poor record on this account.
RIOT can associate multiple accounts with the same person. This does pose a legitimate concern when it may associate a professional’s account with another profile of someone who is inflammatory. There are growing problems with managers reviewing someone’s social media profile for reasons not to hire them, and applicants have no way of knowing if they didn’t get a job because the manager didn’t like what they saw – even if it was not the applicant’s profile. What happens if the FBI uses RIOT and decides that a defense contractor is associated with politically incorrect groups and revokes their clearance, but the un-PC account actually belongs to someone else?
The threat this application poses is multiplied by the number of high end hackers that already compromise information security and steal information from large companies who hire “cyber warriors” to protect their systems. Do you except a government that accidentally posts hundreds of thousands of...