February 14, 2012, 12:57 PM —
The FBI today said that its proposed plans to monitor social media sites as part of a broader strategy to improve real-time situation awareness will be fully vetted by the agency's Privacy and Civil Liberties Unit.
The unit will review the legal implications of the monitoring application and ensure that it meets all privacy and civil rights obligations before it is implemented, the agency said in a statement emailed to Computerworld "Although the FBI has always adapted to meet changes in technology, the rule of law, civil liberties, and civil rights, will remain our guiding principles," the agency said.
The FBI was responding to questions about its plans to use technology to quickly gather and analyze data posted on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and on blogs using simple keyword searches and phrases.
In a Request For Information (RFI) last month, the FBI said that data posted on such sites would let it more quickly detect specific and credible threats, locate those organizing and taking part in dangerous gatherings and predict upcoming events.
It noted that social media networks have been trumping police, firefighters and news media when it comes to communicating news of developing incidents and protests. "Social media is rivaling 911 services in crisis response and reporting," the RFI noted.