(New Scientist) Satirical newspaper The Onion recently described Facebook as a project of the Central Intelligence Agency. "After years of secretly monitoring the public, we were astounded," a fictional agency deputy director told Congress. He was happy that Facebook users voluntarily post "alphabetized lists of all their friends" and "even status updates about what they were doing moment to moment". It is, he concluded, "truly a dream come true for the CIA".
The scenario is not that far from the truth. Facebook has close to a billion users, many of whom post daily updates on their thoughts and feelings. The same thing happens on Twitter. Foursquare users share information about their location. Commentators on news sites express opinions and outrage. And, as a New Scientist review of procurement requests shows, the US government is keen to take advantage of what amounts to a society of self-surveillance.