Thursday Jan 26, 201211:11 PM GMT
FBI wants new app to wiretap the internet
Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:10PM
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The FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center (SOIC) posted a 'Request for Information (RFI)' online last week seeking companies to build a social network monitoring system for the FBI. The 12-page document spells out what the bureau wants from such a system and invites potential contractors to reply by February 10, 2012.


It says the application should provide information about possible domestic and global threats superimposed onto maps "using mash-up technology". Common Dreams




Privacy campaigners say they are concerned that the move could have implications for free speech. BBC


It says the application should collect "open source" information and have the ability to:


-Provide an automated search and scrape capability of social networks including Facebook and Twitter. BBC


-Allow users to create new keyword searches. BBC


-Display different levels of threats as alerts on maps, possibly using color coding to distinguish priority. Google Maps 3D and Yahoo Maps are listed among the "preferred" mapping options.


-Plot a wide range of domestic and global terror data.


-Immediately translate foreign language tweets into English. Common Dreams


The FBI says the information would be used to help it to predict the likely actions of "bad actors," detect instances of people deliberately misleading law enforcement officers and spot the vulnerabilities of suspect groups. BBC




On January 19th, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released hints of a plan to monitor and analyze global activity on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.


The bureau's Strategic Information and Operation Center posted an open call to the IT industry to develop a system to be able to automatically comb through the wealth of information contained in "publicly available" material from such sites for keywords relating to terrorism, crime, and other FBI operations.


The FBI essentially wants to build an early-warning system for potential threats to the U.S., cutting through the white noise of your daily status updates to quickly "vet, identify, and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats." If a contractor puts together the right system, the data will be used to influence the FBI's strategic decision making.


The average user believes that only a narrow circle of close friends and relatives are reading his or her blog, and this gives them "the sense of freedom to say what they want without worrying too much about recourse," says Jennifer Lynch at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as cited by "But these tools that mine open source data and presumably store it for a very long time do away with that kind of privacy. I worry about the effect of that on free speech in the U.S."


All the collected data will be stored in the FBI database and conveniently displayed on a map upon request (by the way, FBI prefers Google, ESRI, and Yahoo maps to any other service). Of course the functionality of the map will be increased beyond the limits set for the common user.


The interactive map will have additional layers, such as U.S. domestic and worldwide terror data, U.S. embassies and military installations around the world, weather conditions and forecasts, and video feeds from surveillance and traffic cameras.



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