Private Company Surveilling People Online, Selling Info to Law Enforcement and Government Agencies

‘A private company is turning a profit by surveilling people online and then selling valuable information to law enforcement and government agencies.

According to The Washington Post, the company, Babel Street, offers “a subscription called Babel X” which trawls through “some 40 online sources, scooping up data from popular sites such as Instagram and a Korean social media platform as well as inside ‘dark Web’ forums where cybercriminals lurk.”

The Pentagon was the subscription’s first customer, and some users pay more than $20,000 a year to use the service.

“Police departments investigating a crime might use the service to scan posts linked to a certain neighborhood over a specified period of time. Stadium managers use it to hunt for security threats based on electronic chatter,” they explained. “The Department of Homeland Security, county governments, law enforcement agencies and the FBI use it to keep tabs on dangerous individuals, even when they are communicating in one of more than 200 languages, including emoji.”’

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