If there was any doubt that big data is foremost in the minds of people who work at the strategic level , Ryan Gallagher has just broken a great extreme-scale analytics story on the Guardian website.

Raytheon, the world’s fifth largest defence contractor, has developed extreme-scale analytics software that tracks people on social media. It’s called Riot (Rapid Information Overlay Technology).

According to Ryan’s report, Riot can display on a spider diagram the associations and relationships between individuals online by looking at who they have communicated with over Twitter.

It can also mine data from Facebook and sift GPS location information from Foursquare. The data can be used to display, in graph form, the top 10 places visited by tracked individuals and the times at which they visited them.

Raytheon says it has not sold the software to any clients but concedes that the technology was shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing “trillions of entities” from cyberspace.

We’re in Ryan’s debt for breaking this story about the desire of those in power to monitor and control.

He says that Riot makes it possible to gain an entire snapshot of a person’s life – their friends, the places they visit charted on a map. It takes only a few clicks.

Watch the Raytheon Riot video for more understanding. The dark genie is out of the bottle. Heaven help us all: Raytheon Riot video