Tag Archives | social networks

United States Secretly Built “Cuban Twitter” To Gather Personal Data And Foment Unrest

cubaA Cuban social media platform called ZunZuneo with tens of thousands of users was in fact an espionage project concocted by the U.S. government. Although, what social network isn’t about covert data mining? The Independent reports:

In an apparent throwback to the Cold War, the US government spent $1.6m building a social media network with the aim of undermining the communist government in Cuba, it has emerged.

Documents obtained during an investigation by the Associated Press show that the project, which lasted more than two years and drew thousands of subscribers, was built with secret shell companies and was financed through foreign banks.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was reportedly behind the project which saw the creation of a ‘Cuban Twitter’ dubbed “ZunZuneo” – slang for a Cuban hummingbird’s tweet. Users of “ZunZuneo” were entirely unaware of the involvement of the United States government agency and that American contractors were gathering personal data about them.

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The NSA Has Built A Shadow Social Network With Your Profile On It

data_modelSatirical imaginings of the NSA creating its own online social network are actually a fairly accurate depiction of the reality, Techdirt reports:

The NY Times has an article by James Risen and Laura Poitras detailing how the NSA has basically built its own “shadow” social network in which it tries to create a “social graph” of pretty much everyone that everyone knows, foreign or American, and it all happens (of course) without a warrant.

The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners.

The policy change came in January of 2011, when the NSA was told it could start creating this massive “social graph” on Americans without having to make sure they weren’t Americans any more.

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On The Reputation Score You Will Soon Be Assigned

Via the The New Inquiry, Rob Horning on how Facebooking will be mandatory:

There is good reason to be concerned about the various data pools of personal information being gathered by communications and social-media companies. It’s used to shape the material conditions of our lives — what we see, what we’re permitted to do, who will talk to us, what sort of service we’ll receive.

It’s no coincidence that [social media management site] Reputation.com is joining forces with the credit-score agencies, as the Economist reports. It’s an extension of the same racket, to create a reputation score that is as actionable as a credit score.

If the reputation score is applied to you, you will have to pay to try to improve it or “clean it up.” But for others, such a score can be used to guide decisions about whether you are worth knowing, worth having as a roommate, worth friending on Facebook, worth offering a microloan to, worth renting a space on Air BnB to, etc., etc.

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The Private Social Network For The Extremely Rich and Powerful

moneykeyAn Esquire piece on $4 billion software company Tibco discusses its latest, perhaps most significant project:

TopCom is a private communications platform for the 200 most powerful people in the world. It is being officially launched in late January at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It is basically a customized, ridiculously secure version of tibbr, a platform developed as a kind of combination Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, texting, and Skype. It is a private social network, essentially — in this case, for world leaders.

Because the World Economic Forum has a hierarchy, so does TopCom: The top two hundred WEF members — basically, the people who run the world — can speak to one another on a given subject, and then they can choose to loop in members from lower tiers (experts, academics, etc.) as needed, widening the pool of knowledge on whatever problem is on the table.

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French Media Ban The Mention Of Specific Social Networks On Air

e1bd3437e3In an attempt to reduce the amount of ‘free publicity’ given to social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, the French have banned any mention of specific sites in their TV and radio broadcasts. One of the reasons for this ban is to allow a fair platform for smaller networking companies in the future. BBC News reports:

French TV and radio presenters have been banned from mentioning social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter on air.

The country’s broadcasting watchdog has ruled that doing so would break guidelines on advertising.

Stations can still talk about services without naming them, it said.

The French government is seen by many internet watchers as overly keen to regulate in relation to new media and the web.

In a ruling, published online, the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), said: “Referring viewers or listeners to the page of the social network without mentioning it has the character of information.

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