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Out-Hoover Hoover: FBI wants massive data-mining capability for social media

27 January 2012

The FBI is asking industry for help in developing a far-reaching data-mining application that can gather and analyze intelligence from social media sites.

The FBI wants “to determine the capability of industry to provide an open source and social media alert, mapping, and analysis application”, the agency said in a request for information (RFI)

“The application must have the ability to rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence that will allow SIOC [Strategic Information and Operations Center] to quickly vet, identify, and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats”, the RFI explained.

The application must be able to provide an “automated search and scrape capability of both social networking sites and open source news sites for breaking events, crisis, and threats.”

The FBI also wants the capability to analyze the social media data to provide early warning; detect credible threats or monitor adversarial situations; locate bad actors or groups and analyze their movements, vulnerabilities, limitations, and possible adverse actions; predict likely developments or future actions taken by bad actors; and develop databases on the information gathered from social media sites.

Nowhere in this detailed RFI, however, does the FBI ask industry to comment on the privacy implications of such massive data collection and storage of social media sites. Nor does the FBI say how it would define the “bad actors” who would be subjected this type of scrutiny.
 

This article is featured in:
Application Security  •  Data Loss  •  Internet and Network Security  •  IT Forensics  •  Public Sector

 

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