Tags: fbi | hire | twitter | data firm | track | criminal activity

FBI Hires Twitter Data Firm to Track Criminal Activity After CIA Shut Out

FBI Hires Twitter Data Firm to Track Criminal Activity After CIA Shut Out

(AP Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 15 November 2016 01:10 PM

The FBI has hired a Twitter analytics company, a partnership that gives the nation's top domestic law enforcement agency the power to analyze tweets almost in real-time.

According to The Verge, the deal was struck between the bureau and Dataminr, of which Twitter owns a 5 percent stake, last week. The agreement calls for 200 users to have access to the database.

"Twitter is used extensively by terrorist organizations and other criminals to communicate, recruit, and raise funds for illegal activity," the FBI wrote, reports The Verge. "With increased use of Twitter by subjects of FBI investigations, it is critical to obtain a service which will allow the FBI to identify relevant information from Twitter in a timely fashion."

The FBI's contract with Dataminr comes six months after Twitter ended a relationship between Dataminr and the CIA. The Verge reports that contract was ended because the CIA is strictly an intelligence agency. The FBI is seen as a law enforcement agency.

However, The Verge reports that Twitter's developer agreement prevents the practice of third-party apps from using the company's data to "investigate, track or surveil Twitter's users."

In theory, that would mean the FBI's contract with Dataminr violates those terms.

Dataminr contacted Newsmax after this story was published and said its technology is not a surveillance tool.

"A limited version of our breaking news alerting product is also available to the FBI, ensuring that they are also alerted to the same emerging stories and events as early as possible," the company said in a statement. "Knowing about breaking news quickly is key for ensuring public safety and the fastest emergency response. Dataminr is not a product that enables surveillance."

A spokesperson told Newsmax that Dataminr can only access publicly available information on Twitter, meaning private tweets and direct messages are not subject to its monitoring.

Three social media companies — Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter — recently stopped providing data to Geofeedia, a third-party data company that had been supplying law enforcement agencies with information that led to arrests in Baltimore.

Police in Ferguson, Mo. also used Geofeedia in the wake of the fatal police shooting in 2014 that led to massive and violent protests.

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The FBI has hired a Twitter analytics company, a partnership that gives the nation's top domestic law enforcement agency the power to analyze tweets almost in real-time.
fbi, hire, twitter, data firm, track, criminal activity
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2016-10-15
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 01:10 PM
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