social media mining

In-Q-Tel invests in social media mining

In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital arm, is investing in companies that are researching social media mining and surveillance.

The investments reflect the CIA’s growing focus on monitoring social media to uncover potential terroristic threats and activities, according to The Intercept, which obtained a copy of the agenda from a February CEO Summit that featured In-Q-Tel portfolio companies.

At least four firms in that portfolio currently provide tools to mine data from social media, including:

  • Dataminr, which visualizes streams of Twitter data to identify trends and breaking news for clients in government, finance, corporate security and law enforcement.
  • PATHAR’s Dunami, which mines Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms to determine networks of associations. The tool is being used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
  • TransVoyant, which provides critical analytics on live streaming datasets and events and has worked with the U.S. military to integrate data from satellites, radar and drones.
  • Geofeedia, which collects geotagged social media messages to monitor breaking news events in real time.

In-Q-Tel is also researching social media analysis through Lab41, where the intelligence community works with  its counterparts in academia, industry and In-Q-Tel to tackle challenges posed by big data. Earlier this year, the Intercept reported, Lab41 published an article discussing ways a Twitter user’s location can be predicted though the location of the user’s friends.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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