FBI releases plans to monitor social networks

J.A. Terranson measl at mfn.org
Thu Jan 26 19:37:02 PST 2012

> http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/onepercent/2012/01/fbi-releases-plans-to-monitor.html
> FBI releases plans to monitor social networks 
> 20:10 25 January 2012
> Cybersecurity Law
> Jim Giles, consultant
> (Image: Patrick George/Ikon Images/Getty)
> The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has quietly released details of plans
> to continuously monitor the global output of Facebook, Twitter and other
> social networks, offering a rare glimpse into an activity that the FBI and
> other government agencies are reluctant to discuss publicly. The plans show
> that the bureau believes it can use information pulled from social media
> sites to better respond to crises, and maybe even to foresee them.
> The information comes from a document released on 19 January looking for
> companies who might want to build a monitoring system for the FBI. It spells
> out what the bureau wants from such a system and invites potential
> contractors to reply by 10 February.
> The bureau's wish list calls for the system to be able to automatically
> search "publicly available" material from Facebook, Twitter and other social
> media sites for keywords relating to terrorism, surveillance operations,
> online crime and other FBI missions. Agents would be alerted if the searches
> produce evidence of "breaking events, incidents, and emerging threats".
> Agents will have the option of displaying the tweets and other material
> captured by the system on a map, to which they can add layers of other data,
> including the locations of US embassies and military installations, details
> of previous terrorist attacks and the output from local traffic cameras.


What I find incredibly myopic is the assumption that terrorists and other 
"bad actors" are likely to ue the services mentioned to facilitate their 
acts, whether good, bad, or fantasy.  I doubt that the targets are 
actually the proposed "bad actors" mentioned in the RFP, but believe that 
it is Joe Sixpack, Jane Minorcriminal, and John Protester who are the 
actual points of interest of the FBI and its [few, and all lettered] 

If we are really interested in bad actors of the classes suggested here, I 
think it's pretty much universally agreed that HUMINT is the standard 
bearer, and will remain so for the foreeable future - unless there is also 
some "plan" to have HUMINT tranliterated into Facebook and Twitter feeds, 
specifically to enable this kind of automated processing to proceed apace 
(*highly* doubtful, as such a plan would by definition require what is 
effectively a "public disclosure" of likely classified data streams from 
the various HUMINT sources).

Again, look not at what the elephant on your throat *says* she wants to 
accomplish, but look rather to the Military Industrial Software Complex 
for the Actual Truth - to be released every day, right after the 3 Minute 


"A reputable physician does NOT: promise a cure; demand advance payment;
advertise."    [Capitalization as in original]

[1936] U.S. Public Health Service poster alerting the public to the
dangers of "Quack Cancer Cures" specifically, and "Quackery" in general.

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