The FBI has something new on its most wanted list: A way to monitor, map and analyze social media intelligence around the world in real time.
According to a request for information document issued Jan. 19 on a Federal Business Opportunities website, the FBI and its Strategic Information and Operations Center are looking for ideas from private industry on ways it might provide “a secure, lightweight web application portal, using mash-up technology” with the ability to “rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence.”
The FBI SIOC is ultimately looking to acquire a system that will allow it to “quickly vet, identify, and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats” and enhance its “situational awareness and strategic decision making.”
A detailed document accompanying the FBI’s request revealed much of what’s on the FBI’s wish list, including the following minimum requirements:
- The system must be able to provide automated searches and the ability to scrape social networking sites and generally available news sites globally, including, but not limited to Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Twitter, Facebook, etc.;
- let users create, define and select specialized search parameters;
- provide instant notifications of breaking events, incidents and emerging threats that meet defined search parameters;
- have the ability to display visually-coded alerts and geo-location data, using a variety of mapping systems, such as those associated with Google Maps, ESRI and others;
- be able to add layers of domestic and international terror data; view images of military and U.S. Embassy installations; pull in video feeds from traffic cameras; and monitor weather forecasts globally;
- let users maintain or clear alerts; select specific national and local news feeds; nd scrape news and social media information for further analysis;
- Provide analytical capabilities that assist in detecting potential threats, outline possible courses of action, and develop intelligence products for counter-measures;
- meet all national, departmental and bureau security requirements and policies.
Responses to the RFI are now due Feb. 10.
The SIOC has played an increasingly important role within the FBI, dating back to 1995, when the FBI sought to improve the way it managed interagency coordination efforts that had arisen through presidential directives, federal orders, and laws.
But it also reflects the FBI’s increasing responsibilities to investigate potential terrorism threats, following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The bureau’s international reach has grown significantly, and in some cases, come under fire from as the FBI’s work bumps up against, efforts by the Department of Homeland Security.
The SOIC urrent operation center was designed to handle up to eight separate crisis and operations of varying sizes at any one time, with meeting and teleconferencing capabilities that can accommodate representatives of the various federal, state, and local law enforcement, military services, and the intelligence community.
In 2008, the SIOC enhanced its ability to respond to significant events worldwide by adding the Crisis Coordination Administrative Unit, which is responsible for overall coordination and assistance when the Bureau activates a Crisis Response Plan.
Photo caption: A woman looks at former Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri’s Twitter page on November 14, 2011. The pro-western-aligned Sunni faction opposition leader Hariri, who has been absent from the country for months, has chosen Twitter as a comeback tool to reach out to followers. (Photo credit: ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)