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FBI To Monitor Social Media Even More? Tweet Lightly, My Friends!

What if we all had to tag the FBI in our twitter posts?  How much information would we tweet out?  Would we trust the FBI enough to believe that our information wouldn’t be used against us?

I doubt it.

But don’t worry, we don’t have to @ reply the FBI in our tweets or our Facebook posts – they are already watching, and now looking for a faster way to do it.

Computerworld.com reports the following:

In a move that’s unlikely to sit well with privacy advocates, the FBI has begun scouting for a tool that will allow it to gather and mine data from social networks like Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

The goal is to use the tool to keep on top of breaking events, incidents and emerging threats, the agency said in a recent Request for Information (RFI) from IT vendors.

The FBI said it’s seeking a “secure, lightweight web application portal using mashup technology.”

According to the RFI document, “The application must have the ability to rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence that will allow [the FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center] to quickly vet, identity and geo-locate” potential threats to the U.S.

The FBI said the tool must have the ability to automatically search and scrape data off social networking and news sites based on specific queries. It must also be able to display alerts on geo-spatial maps and give users the ability to quickly summarize the “who, what, when, where and why” of specific threats and incidents.

The big question here is privacy.  How far will the FBI – and other agencies – go with scrubbing the internet for our information?  A spokesman for the FBI said the proposed system will be used only to monitor publicly available information, according to an Associated Press report.

Stay tuned to see if this sends the “Twitterverse” into a frenzy.


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