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FBI spends millions of dollars on social network monitoring software

Sheet Washington Post has revealed details of a contract between the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and a software company, to allow the FBI to monitor posts on Facebook. social network.

According to TechRepublicthe FBI has invested $27 million in software to monitor platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Dark Web, VK and Telegram. Licensed FBI software called Babel X allows users of the application to search social networking sites within geographies and other adjustable parameters.

The FBI spends millions of dollars on software to monitor social networks - Photo 1

Content moderators work at the Facebook office in Austin, Texas


The contract between the FBI and Babel provides 5,000 software licenses with a value of $ 5 million with options up to $ 27 million. Reportedly, the new contract between the US law enforcement agency and Babel is the most expensive agreement for software of a civilian agency ever.

In the statement given about the contract, FBI “The FBI uses social media tools to find public information related to anticipatory investigations to identify and respond to threats of violence, acts of terrorism, and other acts of terrorism,” said the statement. potential violations within the scope of the FBI’s mandate.”

While some may see the aforementioned agreement as a measure to prevent harmful and potentially dangerous content on social networks, some other users consider this to be an infringement. liberty.

Chris Hauk, privacy researcher consumers at Pixel Privacy said: “Unfortunately, the FBI and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies can freely use the excuse of ‘attacks’ such as the January 6, 2021 event for violations. privacy rights of American citizens”.

“While surveillance of social platforms can help law enforcement plan for possible incidents, I am concerned that it could ultimately lead to a situation where the FBI and other agencies may arrest or detain citizens who have not actually broken any laws. I also don’t think we can trust the FBI to only use the software for the stated purpose,” Hauk added.

For reassurance, the FBI said tools like Babel X “deliver critical information without being compromised because the data returned is publicly available information.” The FBI said it hopes the 5,000 software licenses can help run 20,000 keyword searches across multiple social media platforms each month. However, the company added that this is only an estimate. Other provisions of the contract were not made public.

In addition to concerns about misuse of the tool, some question the ability of law enforcement agencies to use the software to monitoring social networks in general.

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