FBI in the market for app to monitor social networks

The US FBI is looking into the possibility of using an “Open Source and social media alert, mapping, and analysis application” for increasing its situational awareness, and to that effect has issued a request for information to determine if there are companies that could provide them with it.

“This must be a secure, light weight web application portal, using mash-up technology,” it says in the request. “The application must have the ability to rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence that will allow[FBI’s]Strategic Information and Operations Center 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[-¦]the ability to adapt quickly to changing threats to maintain the strategic and tactical advantage.”

The FBI wants the application to be able to search and scrape social networking and news sites (Twitter, Facebook, CNN, MSNBC, and others) for breaking events, crisis and threats; to automatically filter the data according to definable parameters; to notify the users about these events and show them on maps (Google Maps, ESRI, Yahoo Maps, and others) according to priority; and to be able to quickly summarize threats and incidents and send out these summaries to FBI management and field offices.

Special interest has been shown for information that can be collected from social sites, so the application must be able to “instantly search and monitor key words and strings in all ‘publicly available’ tweets across the Twitter Site and other ‘publicly available’ social networking sites/forums (i.e. Facebook, MySpace, etc.),” because “social media will be a valued source of information to the SIOC intelligence analyst in a crisis because it will be both eyewitness and first response to the crisis.”

For greater details about the FBI’s requirements, download the request here.

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