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FBI and social media: increase surveillance?

FBI and social media: increase surveillance?

LFBI has requested a tool to monitor social media, which could collect user IDs, emails, IP addresses and phone numbers.

The FBI wants to collect more information from social media. Today the agency has issued a request for contracts for a new monitoring tool for these instruments. According to a request for proposals (RFP), it is looking for an early warning tool that can help monitor terrorist groups, internal threats, criminal activities and the like.

This tool would provide the FBI access to the complete social media profiles of people of particular interest to the American agency and could include information such as user ID, e-mail, IP addresses and telephone numbers.

The tool would also allow the FBI to keep track of people based on location, enable permanent monitoring by keywords and provide access to personal social media history. According to the RFP, the mission-critical exploitation of social media will allow the Office to detect, interrupt and investigate an ever-increasing range of threats to US national interests.

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<h2>FBI and social media: privacy concerns</h2>
<p>But such an instrument is likely to raise some strong objections, despite the FBI's appeal to ensure that all compliance requirements related to privacy and civil liberties are met. The US government does not have the best curriculum regarding social media surveillance. Earlier this year, the ACLU sued the US government for its use of social media surveillance against immigrants and the Trump administration proposed allowing officials to investigate the social media of beneficiaries of disability benefits.</p><div class='code-block code-block-5' style='margin: 8px auto; text-align: center; display: block; clear: both;'>
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The FBI is soliciting contracts for a new social media surveillance tool: https://t.co/3AglNJuote

They're beating around the bush in social media content: pic.twitter.com/Zo528lt8Pd

– Hugh Handeyside (@hhandeyside) July 12, 2019

Monitoring social media for threats makes sense, to a certain extent, and the CIA is already heavily investing in their own social network monitoring tools, but there is a danger that an instrument like this can be abused by those in power in order to to violate civil liberties.