NEWS26 January 2012

FBI plans to track threats through social media

North America Trends

US— The FBI is the latest government agency to look into how it can harness social media monitoring.

The bureau has said it wants to overlay information from social media on to maps in order to “adapt quickly to changing threats to maintain the strategic and tactical advantage”.

It has put out a request for information, asking potential contractors to describe how they might achieve this.

The FBI said: “Social media has become a primary source of intelligence because it has become the primary first response to key events and the primal alert to possible developing situations.”

Earlier this month, Congress raised concerns about the Department of Homeland Security scanning social media to gather intelligence to identify possible threats to the country, and last year intelligence research body Iarpa said that it hoped to use online data to predict major events such as outbreaks of disease and natural disasters.

Capabilities that the FBI said are essential in any solution include a “search and scrape” function for social media and news sites. Any new tool must also have analytics capabilities that detect potential security threats, develop threat profiles, outline possible courses of action and provide a picture of the location of threat events.