A few months back Geofeedia was discovered to be buying user data on social networking sites and selling it to law enforcers. Needless to say, this didn’t go over well with anybody but law enforcers. Most of the social networking sites cut Geofeedia off. Apparently surveillance was the company’s only revenue stream because the company announced that it laid off half of its staff:
Chicago-based Geofeedia, a CIA-backed social-media monitoring platform that drew fire for enabling law enforcement surveillance, has let go 31 of its approximately 60 employees, a spokesman said Tuesday.
Geofeedia cut the jobs, mostly in sales in the Chicago office, in the third week of October, the spokesman said. It has offices in Chicago, Indianapolis and Naples, Fla. The cuts were first reported by Crain’s Chicago Business.
An emailed statement attributed to CEO Phil Harris said Geofeedia wasn’t “created to impact civil liberties,” but in the wake of the public debate over their product, they’re changing the company’s direction.
You have to love the claim that Geofeedia wasn’t created to impact civil libertarians even though the company’s only product was selling data to law enforcers. When you make yourself part of the police state you implicitly involve yourself in impacting civil liberties. I really hope the company goes completely bankrupt over this.
It’s also nice to see services like Facebook and Twitter cut off companies involved in surveillance. One of my biggest concerns is the way private surveillance becomes public surveillance. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that private surveillance companies stand to profit heavily by handing over their data to the State.