Governments adopt social media as tool for surveillance and propaganda

At the Sixth Annual Conference on Social Media Within the Defence and Military Sector, held in London in 2016, senior military and intelligence officials made it clear that governments increasingly view social media as a tool for the Armed Forces and a "new front in warfare". Social media are also viewed as a source of intelligence on civilian populations and enemies and as a vector for propaganda. The conference was sponsored by Thales, which was working with the National Research Council of Canada and the Ottawa-based media monitoring company MediaMiser to develop tools to help security agencies process information in circulation. An American Civil Liberties Union report released shortly before the conference revealed the existence of the CIA-funded tool Geofeedia, which was being used by police to surveil activists and protesters on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Although Facebook and Twitter responded by revoking Geofeedia's access to their feeds, the tool's existence, taken together with the conference, indicated the rapid growth of the surveillance industry outside of regulatory oversight.

Writer: Nafeez Ahmed
Publication: Motherboard

What is Privacy International calling for?

People must know

People must be able to know what data is being generated by devices, the networks and platforms we use, and the infrastructure within which devices become embedded.  People should be able to know and ultimately determine the manner of processing.

Data should be protected

Data should be protected from access by persons who are not the user.

Limit data analysis by design

As nearly every human interaction now generates some form of data, systems should be designed to limit the invasiveness of data analysis by all parties in the transaction and networking.

Control over intelligence

Individuals should have control over the data generated about their activities, conduct, devices, and interactions, and be able to determine who is gaining this intelligence and how it is to be used.

We should know all our data and profiles

Individuals need to have full insight into their profiles. This includes full access to derived, inferred and predicted data about them.

We may challenge consequential decisions

Individuals should be able to know about, understand, question and challenge consequential decisions that are made about them and their environment. This means that controllers too should have an insight into and control over this processing.