CIA-backed monitoring group fires half its staff

spyA CIA-backed internet monitoring group has been forced to fire half its staff after it lost rights to monitor Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Geofeedia came under the spotlight when it was discovered that it enabled law enforcement surveillance. In mid-October, Twitter followed Facebook and Instagram in cut Geofeedia off from its valuable data stream.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report said police had used the platform to track protests and other large gatherings.

Now without the detail provided from social notworking,  the company has fired 31 of its approximately 60 employees, mostly in its sales office..

CEO Phil Harris said Geofeedia wasn’t “created to impact civil liberties,” but in the wake of the public debate over their product, they’re changing the company’s direction.

“Following these suspensions, we have decided to scale back our business and focus on a variety of innovations that will allow us to serve our customers and continue our rapid growth trajectory as a leading real-time analytics and alerting platform,” the statement said.

He claimed that Geofeedia’s software was useful for schools, sports leagues, customer service, marketing and event planning, per the statement. He also referred to the company’s $17 million funding round in February — which brought its total funding to nearly $24 million — and “strong sales and growth” as strengthening the company.

Geofeedia would not say if it lost clients following the ACLU report, and declined to specify what it was going to do next.