FBI turns to social media for clues
A lot of commentators including several quoted in today's Daily Telegraph have raised concerns about civil liberties and perceived freedoms. They are missing a number of points.
First it has to be stressed that the FBI is asking companies - through a white paper on its website - to find ways of monitoring public social media engagements only. That's stuff that's already out there, which people have voluntarily put into the public domain.
Yes, some people will feel they're being monitored. This is one concern raised by one of the commentators. But this will be automated.
Say I was in the habit of loitering around a local jeweller. Then someone feeds a program into CCTV which doesn't notice me as an individual but which asks whether anyone makes a habit of entering jewellers without buying anything - and then increasing security in the area as a result. In this scenario I'm not actually targeted but security is increased where the data suggests it's a good idea.
This appears to be broadly what the FBI is requesting. The debate will go on - assuming someone has the technical capacity to help.