UK government ministers announced over the weekend that it has awarded contracts to five companies to monitor citizen’s online content and provide that information to Whitehall in real-time. The companies will be on the look-out for a government-approved list of keywords, collating information regarding people’s opinion of the government and related political issues.
“We monitor digital, social and traditional media so we understand what people are saying, identify their concerns and shape policies accordingly,” a government spokesperson told The Independent. “Departments have always monitored social media but this agreement means they can find the most appropriate way of doing this at the best price, ensuring good value for money for the taxpayer.”
One of the five providers, Precise Media Monitoring, calls its task “automated sentiment” analysis, saying, “We use advanced text analytics to generate automated analysis for all mainstream and social content. This includes analysis of the key topics being discussed, and hashtags being mentioned and the sentiment of conversations. The results can quickly enable a Contracting Body [such as a Government department] to get an idea of sentiment towards a subject and can act as an alert to potential issues at an early stage.”
Which is all just a fancy way of saying that UK citizens are now party to mass surveillance in real-time and are paying for the privilege of being spied on with their own taxes. How do you feel about having your online movements watched, recorded, and scrutinised?
Thank you The Independent for providing us with this information.