The U.S. government is looking for software that can mine social media sites to predict everything from future terrorist attacks to foreign uprisings, according to requests posted online by intelligence agencies and Federal law enforcement.
The Associated Press reported that hundreds of intelligence analysts already go through overseas Twitter and Facebook posts to track events that occur abroad. This is not enough, however, as the FBI recently outlined its desire for a digital scan of the entire universe of social media.
“Social media has emerged to be the first instance of communication about a crisis, trumping traditional first responders that included police, firefighters, EMT, and journalists,” the FBI wrote in its request. “Social media is rivaling 911 services in crisis response and reporting.”
The AP reported that the proposals have already raised privacy concerns among advocates who feel that this type of monitoring would have a chilling effect on users.
Information Week reported that the FBI wanted the application that would help it mine for social media to be in the form of a “secure, lightweight web application portal, using mashup technology.”