Surveillance is forever evolving, despite Snowden’s actions and Assange’s warnings. It’s here and it’s here to stay while the corporations continue throwing their weight behind programs that governments insist on having to spy on their citizens. In the name of terrorism and national security, right?
Predictive analytics are the rage. According to Lockheed Martin, if you want to quell the unrest you need look no further than media and social media content.
“LM WISDOM® is a predictive analytics and big data technology tool that monitors and analyzes rapidly changing open source intelligence data (newspaper feeds and social media content for example). This type of content has the power to incite organized movements, riots and sway political outcomes. LM WISDOM® turns this data into actionable intelligence for our customers,” the Lockheed Martin mission statement reads.
Lockheed Martin, headquarted in Maryland, is engaged in research, development, manufacturing and the integration of advanced technology systems and other related products and services. Their global security and aerospace company is one of the bigger ones, employing almost 100,000 people worldwide, according to their site.
They state their ambition as wanting to “keep people safe.” However, developing tools to spy on your Twitter feed or alt news sites are hardly keeping one safe, unless from themselves, and then you start to sink into the murky waters of self-sovereignty and democratic rights.
Financially, they perform with strength, with a cash flow of 5.1 billion USD as of the 2015 financial year’s end. They’re also ranked 64th on the 2015 Fortune 500, making their size and worth impressive.
Parent company of Sikorsky, they also supply all U.S. military branches with their aircraft, “along with military services and commercial operators in 40 nations.” They have emerging technologies based in robotics and nanotechnology, and advanced manufacturing, developing clean water projects for the “global crisis.”
The Board of Directors shouldn’t come as a surprise either. You have retired US Air Force General, Bruce A. Carlson; retired CEO of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, James O. Ellis, Jr.; James M. Loy, the former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security during the Bush Administration; and retired NATO commander, Joseph W. Ralston, among others.
According to their corporate governance guidelines, conflicts of interest can only occur with a member on the board if they have been directly associated to the Lockheed company in the past, with no mention of indirect ties to government and/or the military or government-vested interests.
The LM predictive tool in itself will give those who employ its technology the ability to determine any political unrest or protest organized by mapping our behaviour. Their intentions are to help government avoid the element of “surprise” through mapping trends, finding patterns and forecasting the future.
“Large data sets of open source information provide a window into the underlying behavioral patterns of individuals, groups, and nations. Creating and exploiting computational social science models helps to turn these large data sets into actionable intelligence,” LM claims.
“It captures cultural context, trends, sentiment and influence, providing deeper situational awareness to customers like first responders, security and law enforcement.”
They claim the mapping can include predictive assertions on any social situation from “Hollywood award shows” to an “outbreak of illnesses,” namely any potential arena for dissident action.
The fact that they are so brilliant in achieving their outcomes, the LM Wisdom predictive tool is a worrying step. In light of the DAPL protests, or even the next Million Mask March, it appears their ‘real-time’ technology may be implemented more and more, assisting a government in preempting the next citizen’s move.
This originally funded DARPA research is now active within 30 government organizations, they claim —the NSA, CIA and FBI no doubt being some of them. So, next time, when you’ve organized a rally or protest, and you’re wondering why the police have countered your move so quickly, consider the mapping tools they have used.