The FBI is shopping around for a contractor to do some snooping for them on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.
In a document called "Social Media Application" (pdf) released on January 19, it was revealed that the Strategic Information and Operations Center (SIOC) at the FBI is looking for a company to provide software that can analyze any publicly available information, including tweets, Facebook statuses, notes, etc. and flag anything that the FBI wants to know about.
The plan is to use this information along with a mapping software to locate threats.
From the white paper:
This must be a secure, light weight web application portal, using mash-up technology. The application must have the ability to rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence that will allow SIOC to quickly vet, identify, and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats. The product must have the capacity to allow the user to retain control of cached and real-time proprietary data; the ability to share it with selected partners, and ultimately enhancing coordination, synchronized-awareness and synergy at the operational level.
Notice the specific mention of "cached and real-time" data. This would enable them to build a database of information to trace patterns and compile profiles.
Among the things the FBI wishes to monitor closely are news organizations (Fox News, CNN and MSNBC were specifically mentioned), Facebook, and Twitter. They specified that they wish to keep tabs on:
1) US Domestic Terror Data
2) Worldwide Terror Data
3) US Embassies, Consulates and Military Installations
4) Weather Conditions and Forecasts
5) Traffic Video
That last item was particularly interesting because they expanded on it.
Trafﬁc Video- Ability to display video feeds ﬁom traffic cameras to
monitor traffic patterns, obstructions, bottle necks, protesters, and ﬂash
The FBI wants to be able to have video feeds of protesters and to monitor flash mobs. With facial recognition software, license plate readers, plenty of public monitoring cameras, and a large cache of information waiting to be mined, this is a conspiracy theorists dream/nightmare come true.