There is a growing cottage industry with recent consumer research and government monitoring.
In a report published Friday, the Wall Street Journal examined the world of Premise Data Corp., an innocently named company that operates a network of users, mostly in the developing world, who have completed main task for small commissions. Assignments can range from snapping photos of competitors ’stores, to counting the number of ATMs in a given area, to reporting on the price of appliances in consumer on the shelf.
Nearly half of the company’s clients are private businesses seeking “commercial information” (most report on competitors ’operations), just as the U.S. government and foreign governments hire the company to do more. review work while measuring public opinion.
Agreed to WSJ, Premise is a growing number of companies straddling “The distinction between consumer services and government monitoring and reliance on the proliferation of mobile phones as a way to make billions of devices sensors that collect open source information available to government security services.
The CEO of Premise further pointed out that the company has been approached by foreign governments to help set policy on how to deal with “vaccine skepticism”.
The data obtained from our contributors helped inform government policy makers how to best deal with vaccine skepticism, vulnerable to foreign interference and misinformation on elections, as well as the location and nature of gang activity in Honduras, ” Premise Chief Executive Officer Maury Blackman said. The company declined to name its clients, citing confidentiality.
The Premise was launched in 2013 as a tool intended to gather data for use in the international development work of governments and non-governmental organizations. In recent years, it has also forged the relationship with the American national-security foundation and demonstrated its ability to serve as a surveillance tool, coordinating documents and communicating with employees in the past. As of 2019, the company’s marketing materials say it has 600K contributors operating in 43 countries, including global hot spots such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen.
Federal records show that Premise has received at least $ 5MM in payments from the government since 2017 on military projects – including from Air Force and Army contracts and as a subcontractor to other defense entity. The main purpose of the company is also to collect information: It will be used by civilians who use Afghanistan and elsewhere to map “key social structures such as mosques, banks and internet cafes; and covert monitoring of cell-tower and Wi-Fi signals in a 100-kilometer area. ” – READ MORE
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