Monday, January 09, 2006

Personal Security, the CIA and Social Software

With the advent of social networking software concerns about privacy and ownership should be of prime concern. People (students in this case) post personal information on privately owned websites such as Myplace and Friendsters and Facebook with limited knowledge of how and why and where their personal information may be used. In the case of Facebook it appears that the CIA is taking an interest in the posted content?

1. Wall Street article talking about security risk concerns on student use of Facebook – social networking site

Too Much Information?
Colleges Fear Student Postings On Popular 'Facebook' Site Could Pose Security Risks

2. Major venture capital firm invests in Facebook (why would anyone invest in something that has no assets?)

It is not easy capturing the attention of Jim Breyer, one of Silicon Valley's leading venture capitalists. But Mark Zuckerberg, a 21-year-old Harvard student, managed to do it with a Web site that has attracted 2.8 million registered users on more than 800 campuses since it began in February 2004. Mr. Breyer was so taken with Mr. Zuckerberg's company,, which creates online interactive college-student networks, that his firm, Accel Partners, plans to announce a $13 million investment in the start-up today. ''It is a business that has seen tremendous underlying, organic growth and the team itself is intellectually honest and breathtakingly brilliant in terms of understanding the college student experience,'' Mr. Breyer said.

3. Jim Breyer of ACCEL has connections to CIA investment firm

Breyer is the former chair of the National Venture Capital Association (NVAC), where he served with Gilman Louie, CEO of In-Q-Tel. In-Q-Tel is a venture capital firm established by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1999. This firm works in various aspects of information technology and intelligence, particularly in "tools for the rapid deployment of distributed, economical data collection networks. Systems that are self-organizing or that provide tools for the aggregation and management of data from large numbers..." and other items "of interest to the CIA."Breyer has also served on the board of BBN Technologies, a research and development firm also closely tied to In-Q-Tel. In fact BBN shared board members with In-Q-Tel, such as Anita Jones, former Director of Defense Research and Engineering for the U.S. Department of Defense. Her responsibilities included serving as an advisor to the Secretary of Defense and overseeing the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

4. This could be just a coincidence, but then again...

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