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Articles - You are being watched II...the evidence

If you post to discussion groups, or own a web site this article may make you think twice before you hit the "submit" or "publish" button

In order to add to my first article in this series, I started hunting for the "rumourbots" that I had heard existed. In my last article, I speculated that sometime soon, many companies would spring up whose purpose was to monitor discussion forums for anti-company comments. They would also scour the 'net for copyright violations.

They were already here, alive and well and doing good business.....

The first couple I came across were cyveillance.com and ewatch.com. 

Cyveillance says this about themselves:

"Cyveillance is the leading provider of e-Business Intelligence, offering major corporations with Internet market feedback to help them address competitive intelligence and e-retailing issues (such as compliance, sales by unauthorized vendors and claimed affiliations), monitor online rumors, track intellectual property violations and better understand their Internet ROI"

Cyveillance has developed a technology called NetSapien (tm) which crawls the net, 24 hours a day hunting for information. If you notice strange addresses in your server logs, you may be led to the following page, from which I quote:

"It is likely that you have found your way to this page because of log entries occurring on your Web site. The information below is intended to explain why and to answer any questions you may have. 

Cyveillance helps clients drive revenue, increase market share and improve brand and customer loyalty by acting as its clients’ eyes and ears on the Internet looking beyond just their own Web site activity, but to the nearly two billion pages that may be affecting their businesses every day. We do this by crawling the Internet with a proprietary, high-speed search technology which we continually refine to adapt to the changing landscape of the Net, locating and indexing specific information on behalf of our clients, who are seeking to better understand how their companies are being impacted by the Internet."

The company also states on this page that their robot respects the robot.txt file instructions. This prevents their "bot" from "spidering" sensitive areas of your site. 

A client may employ the services of cyveillance to locate misleading information or rumours about their company. The evidence that cyveillance would gather could then be used in legal action.

Another service, Ewatch, monitors "more than 40,000 Usenet Newsgroups and over 15,000 electronic mailing lists"

And this is what they have to say about their service:

"Gone are the days when monitoring a few big name news sites was enough to keep up with what online media, investors, consumers and your competition were saying about your organization. 
Every day, thousands of new sites are born on the Web, making it next-to-impossible for you and your staff to keep up. But with eWatch monitoring the Internet for you, keeping track of the online buzz is fast and easy."

Freedom of speech? Yes, we still have that right...but we are now being held more and more responsible for what we say.

Web masters, be especially careful with copyright violations. That great graphic or interesting article that you may have "borrowed" may also bring about your demise. Remember, that online services in most countries must supply your details if it is demanded by the courts.

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So, before you hit the discussion groups to vent your anger regarding a company you have had trouble with; think very carefully about how you phrase your criticism before you hit that send button, because..............

You are being watched.....

If only George Orwell were alive to see this........

Michael Bloch
Taming the Beast
http://www.tamingthebeast.net 
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