FBI Seeks to Track Social Websites
The FBI is looking for a “geospatial alert and analysis mapping application” that will allow its Strategic Information and Operations Center (SIOC) to “quickly vet, identify and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats” according to a request for Proposal posted on the official FBI website in January. The tool is to be in the form of a “secure, lightweight web application portal, using mashup technology,” and will be used it to share information with the intelligence community to coordinate and synchronize awareness of events across operations, according to the RFP.
It goes on to specify that the application must be “infinitely flexible” to adapt to changing threats, and those using it must have access to a common operating dashboard from which they can view both unclassified open-source information feeds and use tools to analyze social media during a crisis as it happens.
The basic purpose of this application will be to follow trending events, track and capture bad guys. The FBI has no interest in your day to day Twitter or Facebook activity, they are in the business of keeping Americans safe and this tool would be a big step toward that goal. Social media sites have long been monitored by government agencies but this is a task that consumes time and manpower. And before the alarmist media goes off telling the public that this project is like the television show Person of Interest, they should the details of the RFI and understand that there will not be a computer spitting out social security numbers of people in jeopardy. The application will simply be another investigative tool that will allow trends to be analyzed and events to be followed and devled farther into.
I for one am very much in favor of government, military and police agencies making use of technology to lessen the burden and increase the efficiancy of the work they do. I sleep well at night knowing that there are people out there who have sworn to keep me safe.
Here is a link to the RFP on the FBI website, check it out for yourself.