FBI plans to monitor activity on social networks

fbi-logo-big.jpgIt really comes as no surprise that the FBI is looking to monitor social networks even more closely than it (presumably) already does. However, up until now there’s been no official evidence as to what its online activities are, other than being wary of Second Life of course. Well, until now.

According to New Scientist, earlier this month a document was released that revealed the FBI is on the lookout for companies who would be willing to build an advanced social media monitoring system. From the document it seems that the FBI hopes to be able to automatically search for any material on social media sites that mentions specific keywords relating to terrorism and FBI operations.

The FBI then wants to be able to display this kind of information onto a map, to get a better understanding of where problems are breaking out and find out straight away where the nearest US embassies and military installations are.

As the main aim is to monitor what’s being said, the FBI is hoping to locate and get a grip of crises as they’re happening, but there’s also a large focus on predicting problems before they occur, which makes us think back to the supposed online planning that went on before the riots here in London.

Other than details from the document there’s been no official word from the FBI about its social media plans and monitoring ideas moving forward. The thing that we’re most interested to see is whether the bureau will be given any access to private updates and posts on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, even though we doubt that social networks would cave to the FBI’s demands it could be something that shifts in the future. On the one hand it may seem intrusive, but if global security is threatened would you really mind if someone was peering at your private Facebook updates about nights out now and again?

[Via New Scientist]
Becca Caddy