In-Q-Tel has been making bets on similar companies over the last decade, so these investments aren't particularly shocking. But they show what's important to the agency today: It needs solid tools for sorting out everything happening on social networks. These four companies are just a handful of the 38 new investments revealed by The Intercept, via a program from this year's CEO Summit. The firm also invested in the likes of Lookout, which focuses on mobile security, and Transient Electronics, which is developing dissolvable semiconductor tech.
While better social media analysis makes sense, there's also the danger of unlawfully singling out people based on their race or religion, says Lee Rowland, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU. Our ability to sift out data from social networks is progressing far faster than the laws protecting civil rights, so it's worth questioning how, exactly these companies get results.