The FBI is seeking to get access to your social networks to develop an early warning” app for possible domestic and global threats.
This turned the heads of many privacy campaigners who say they are concerned that the move could have implications for free speech.
The FBI posted a document on its market research website that says:
Social media has become a primary source of intelligence because it has become the premier first response to key events and the primal alert to possible developing situations.
Essentially, the FBI would like to be able to scrape information from Facebook and Twitter accounts all over the world without any need to ask permission. They claim that it would be used to help predict the actions of “bad actors” or people who are trying to mislead law enforcement officers.
They believe that information on social networks is theirs for the taking:
“Information posted to social media websites is publicly accessible and voluntarily generated. Thus the opportunity not to provide information exists prior to the informational post by the user,”
Among the websites which they hope to monitor are Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter.
The application, which has yet to be developed, would scan the above social networks for “keywords” such as “gangs” or “small pox”. The Police believe this would allow them to stop potential threats before they have the chance to develop.
On the flip side, the Police may well find themselves overwhelmed by a flood of personal information that is precious to those it concerns but useless for the purposes of crime prevention.
Social network monitoring isn’t limited to the FBI. Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security was urged to more closely monitor social media traffic.
What do you think about the FBI monitoring social media? Let us know in the comments!