FBI Seeks Developer for App to Track Threats on Social Media
By FOX News
WASHINGTON - The FBI is getting in on the law enforcement app game -- posting documents online recently to seek industry input on developing the equivalent of a web alert system.
The 12-page document, called "FBI Social Media Application," provides a detailed picture of the bureau's specifications. The program must have the ability "to rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence ... to quickly vet, identify and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats."
"I think what you are looking at is a Google news feed specifically targeted for law enforcement, focusing on their specific needs," said Frank Ciluffo, who leads George Washington University's Homeland Security Policy Institute.
"We're on our mobile phones and we're on our various iPhones, BlackBerrys and the like that transmits data that locates individuals."
Ciluffo, who was a former adviser in the George W. Bush White House, said tracking social media is the tip of the spear for national security investigations and it raises privacy questions, over whether law enforcement officers are allowed to monitor public social media posts.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, who reviewed the FBI documents for FOX News Channel, information pulled from sites like Facebook, Twitter and blogs could be cross-referenced with other databases to identify potential threats. Mike German, a former FBI agent who runs the national security section of the civil liberties group, said the data could be used to increase video surveillance in a neighborhood.
The FBI told FOX in a statement that the project was in the research stage, and if it goes ahead, it "will not focus on specific persons or protected groups, but on words that relate to 'events' and 'crisis' and activities constituting violations of federal criminal law or threats to national security. Examples of these words will include lockdown, bomb, suspicious package, white powder, active shoot, school lockdown, etc."