It has been in news that the FBI is hunting for a tool that will allow it to collect and process data from social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and many other blogs. On being questioned by various IT vendors in accordance with the Request for Information (RFI), FBI stated that the main aim of this tool would be used to keep them updated on various events and incidents that might pose a threat to national security.
The FBI said it’s seeking a “secure, lightweight web application portal using mash up technology.”
According to the RFI document, the application would possess the ability to arrange the critical open source information which would allow the FBI to swiftly identify the source of the threat; to pinpoint the geographic location and act on the matter quickly.
They want the software to automatically look up and gather the data and information from various social networking and blogs based on the search queries. The tool should have the ability to send out alerts on geo spatial maps and provide the users the function of summarizing the specifics of the threat or event. They would be able to set the records like when, where and why the event took place.
With the help of this tool, once the FBI is alerted of any potential threat, they can act accordingly and also use the intelligence to gather information in order to predict future strikes. This will be of great help to the government to track down threats and terrorist activity if any. They will be able to zero down on anti-social and anti-US activity. They can apprehend all those who are responsible for the threat or anti social activities.
The social media in the form of these social networking sites and blogs will be act as a great source of information database. According to SIOC intelligence analyst, this information is very valuable as it will can be used both in the form of eye witness. Besides, it would be an immediate response to the activity in a critical situation.
The FBI claims that the system will not be used to pry on any individual or any specific group. The proposed system will only be used to monitor the sites publicly and gather information in the process.
In the past month, EPIC had obtained various documents which suggested that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was involved in monitoring activities of social networking sites. This was similar to those as proposed by the FBI. EPIC had pointed out then that some of these monitoring activities had little to do with public safety and it was feared that the FBI might overstep the privacy threshold of such networks. This would be considered as a violation by many.
People feel that this is unjust and the FBI should seek public approval before getting involved in such actions. Public forums will no longer have the privacy, it once used to enjoy, and instead you would get a feeling of the government violating your privacy.
So amidst all the speculations and opposition by many the FBI heads forward to take charge of such a system. A full investigation is required to clearly understand the purpose in details. This will avoid public confrontations.
About the author: Margaret Jules is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on environment and technology. Beside this she is fond of books. She recently bought an eboard. These days, she is busy writing an article on acronym maker.