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FBI Seeks 'Automated Search And Scrape' Of Social Networks

Agency issues RFI for technology to quickly find and surface 'events' via search of social networks, news sites
The FBI has issued a request for information (RFI) on technology that would allow the agency to scrape data from social networks and public news sites to help identify potential trouble.

In the FBI's RFI for "automated search and scrape" tools, the agency asks for tools that would display alerts on a map based on reports and posts from sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

"This must be a secure, light weight web application portal, using mash-up technology," the RFI says. "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 RFI continues. It must also have "the ability to share it with selected partners, and ultimately enhancing coordination, synchronized-awareness and synergy at the operational level."

Privacy experts registered concern about the use of social network data, while the FBI says it considers the tool an aid in "situational awareness."

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