Visible Path has raised $17 million in venture funding. The idea is that they'll help corporations understand the social networks within companies, leading to better connections with suppliers and vendors. But once corporations have in place a tool to study the e-mail, chat, cell-phone and other communication patterns within their enterprise, they'll use it for a lot more than just honing sales efforts. University researchers are analyzing social networks to figure out who's productive, who's a malcontent, even who is organizing a cabal against current leadership. When companies and governments get the details on our communication networks, they'll learn a lot about us. What's the saying? Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you about you.

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