America’s FBI Wants To Build a Social Media-Monitoring Tool

America’s FBI “wants to gather more information from social media,” reports Engadget.

Friday, it issued a call for contracts for a new social media monitoring tool. According to a request-for-proposals (RFP), it’s looking for an “early alerting tool” that would help it monitor terrorist groups, domestic threats, criminal activity and the like.

The tool would provide the FBI with access to the full social media profiles of persons-of-interest. That could include information like user IDs, emails, IP addresses and telephone numbers. The tool would also allow the FBI to track people based on location, enable persistent keyword monitoring and provide access to personal social media history. According to the RFP, “The mission-critical exploitation of social media will enable the Bureau to detect, disrupt, and investigate an ever growing diverse range of threats to U.S. National interests.”

But a tool of this nature is likely to raise a few red flags, despite the FBI’s call for “ensuring all privacy and civil liberties compliance requirements are met.”
Back in 2011 a video by The Onion jokingly described Facebook as “the massive online surveillance program run by the CIA.” Looks like they had the right idea — but the wrong government agency.

On Twitter the ACLU’s senior staff attorney highlighted some key phrases from the FBI’s request for proposals — including “constant monitoring of social media platforms.” He added that “They’re not beating around the bush in terms of how pervasively they’re monitoring social media content:”

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