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Re: <nettime> "idle no more", Re: Gone (to) Viral: Facebook Doomsday
mp on Mon, 24 Dec 2012 15:29:38 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> "idle no more", Re: Gone (to) Viral: Facebook Doomsday

On 20/12/12 13:57, Gita Hashemi wrote:
> i am not an advocate of facebook or other social media per se, but i do
> have a facebook account, just as i have a phone line, and several email
> addresses.  frequently, i take a break from one or all.  presently, i
> login to fb 2-3 times a day as i follow the development of "idle no
> more" indigenous rights movement in canada.  IDLE NO MORE.
> i humbly suggest that it is possible to use fb for purposes other than
> checking the latest narcissistic instagram pictures of our friends and
> their lunch, cat or baby, or other time and energy draining purposeless
> pursuits.  and while there are many people who are not directly tied to
> political, intellectual or other exalted circles but who are on fb, it
> is possible to use fb as an effective communication tool to mobilize
> beyond our immediate circles and usual participants.

Indeed, and that is precisely what CIA/In-Q-Tel wants you to do.

Generate intel and cash for them.

To paraphrase indigenous activists: One minute spend on FB is one minute
not spend in your flesh-and-blood community/neighbours (that is, there
where political action traditionally begins).




The publicly available record on the Facebook/In-Q-Tel connection is
tenuous. Facebook received $12.7 million in venture capital from Accel,
whose manager, James Breyer, now sits on their board. He was formerly
the chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, whose board
included Gilman Louie, then the CEO of In-Q-Tel. The connection is
indirect, but the suggestion of CIA involvement with Facebook, however
tangential, is disturbing in the light of Facebookâs history of
violating the privacy of its users.

Googleâs connection to In-Q-Tel is more straightforward, if officially
denied. In 2006, ex-CIA officer Robert David Steele told Homeland
Security Today that Google âhas been taking money and direction for
elements of the US Intelligence Community, including the Office of
Research and Development at the Central Intelligence Agency, In-Q-Tel,
and in all probability, both the National Security Agency (NSA) and the
Armyâs Intelligence and Security Command.â Later that year, a blogger
claimed that an official Google spokesman had denied the claims, but no
official press statement was released.

Steeleâs accusation is not the only suggestion of American intelligence
involvement with Google, however.

In 2005, In-Q-Tel sold over 5,000 shares of Google stock. The shares are
widely presumed to have come from In-Q-Telâs investment in Keyhole Inc.,
which was subsequently bought out by Google, but this is uncertain.

In 2010, it was announced that Google was working directly with the
National Security Agency to secure its electronic assets.

Also in 2010, Wired reported that In-Q-Tel and Google had jointly
provided venture capital funding to Recorded Future Inc., a temporal
analytics search engine company that analyzes tens of thousands of web
sources to predict trends and events.

But as potentially alarming as In-Q-Telâs connections to internet giants
like Facebook and Google are, and as disturbing as its interest in data
mining technologies may be, the CIAâs venture capital arm is interested
in more than just web traffic monitoring.

The In-Q-Tel website currently lists two âpractice areas,â âInformation
and Communication Technologiesâ and âPhysical and Biological
Technologies.â The latter field consists of âcapabilities of interestâ
such as âThe on-site determination of individual human traits for IC
purposesâ and âTracking and/or authentication of both individuals and
objects.â In-Q-Tel also lists two areas that are âon its radarâ when it
comes to biotech: Nano-bio Convergence and Physiological Intelligence.
Detailed breakdowns of each area explain that the intelligence community
is interested in, amongst other things, self-assembling batteries,
single molecule detectors, targeted drug delivery platforms, and sensors
that can tell where a person has been and what substances he has been
handling from âbiomarkersâ like trace compounds in the breath or samples
of skin.

In the years since its formation, many have been led to speculate about
In-Q-Tel and its investments, but what requires no speculation is an
understanding that a privately owned venture capital firm, created by
and for the CIA, in which well-connected board members drawn from the
private sector can then profit from the investments made with CIA funds
that itself come from the taxpayer represent an erosion of the barrier
between the public and private spheres that should give even the most
credulous pause for thought.

What does it mean that emerging technology companies are becoming wedded
to the CIA as soon as their technology shows promise?

What can be the public benefit in fostering and encouraging technologies
which can be deployed for spying on all internet users, including
American citizens, in direct contravention of the CIAâs own prohibitions
against operating domestically?

If new software and technology is being brought to market by companies
with In-Q-Tel advisors on their boards, what faith can anyone purchasing
American technologies have that their software and hardware is not
designed with CIA backdoors to help the American intelligence community
achieve its vision of âTotal Information Awarenessâ?

Rather than scrutinizing each individual investment that In-Q-Tel makes,
perhaps an institutional approach is required.

At this point, the American people have to ask themselves whether they
want the CIA, an agency that has participated in the overthrow of
foreign, democratically-elected governments, an agency that has
implanted fake stories in the news media to justify American war
interests, an agency that at this very moment is engaged in offensive
drone strikes, killing suspected âinsurgentsâ and civilians alike in
numerous theaters around the world, should be entrusted with developing
such close relationships with the IT sector, or whether In-Q-Tel should
be scrapped for good.

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