CIA, Google fund Web analysis firm

Recorded Future claims ability find 'invisible links'

In-Q-Tel and Google Ventures are investing in Recorded Future, a company whose technology monitors the Web in real time and develops predictions of future events from the content, according to reports.

In-Q-Tel is the investment arm of the Central Intelligence Agency; Google Ventures, of course, is Google's investment firm. While Google and the CIA do not appear to be directly or deliberately collabortating, Danger Room writer Noah Schactman notes that the move may give Google's critics some ammunition.

Recorded Future "scours tens of thousands of Web sites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents — both present and still to come," Shactman writes. The company's "temporal analytics engine" finds documents with subtle links between them based on their subject matter,

When the data reveals a possible future event, Recorded Future can -- so it claims -- trace the online "momentum" for the event and predict where and when it might actually happen.

Web Newser reports that the investments are just under $10 million from each entity. The investments were made in 2009, but disclosed only recently.

"The benefit to Google, which has built its livelihood on collecting and indexing publicly available data for consumer use and advertising, is obvious," wrote Kenneth Musante in Web Newser. "The CIA on the other hand has become increasingly interested in analyzing publicly available data for useful intelligence, also known as 'open source intelligence.' "

 

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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