FBI wants social media intell scanner

The FBI has asked for industry input on developing a Web-based tool that could help it scan social media sites and commercial news outlets to help its intelligence officers stay ahead of unfolding crises.

The app must be able to rapidly assemble open-source intelligence to help the FBI’s Strategic Information and Operations Center “to quickly vet, identify and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats," according to a notice on FizBizOpps.

The FBI said that, based on its market research, “a geospatial alert and analysis mapping application is the best known solution [for] improving the FBI’s overall situational awareness.”


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The ultimate tool must have the ability to allow a user to maintain control of cached and “real time proprietary data” as well as the ability to share the information with various partners.

“The application must be infinitely flexible and have the ability to adapt quickly to changing threats to maintain the strategic and tactical advantage,” the FBI said.

In the area of features, the FBI wants “an automated capability” that would enable it to “search and scrape” social networks sites and open-source news sites for breaking events and threats.

Users should be able to define search parameters over a broad range of national news and social media networks, the FBI said, citing CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Twitter and Facebook.

The tool should also have an alert capability “to provide instant notification of breaking events” as defined by the user’s search criteria.

The bureau also wants the tool to automatically access geospatial maps of crisis points, including the identification of “ infrastructural layers” composed of imagery of U.S. embassies and consulates and military installations, as well as worldwide terror data, weather conditions and traffic video.

“Social media has emerged to be the first instance of communications about a crisis, trumping traditional first responders [including] police, firefighters, EMT and journalists,” the notice said.

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