WASHINGTON, January 27, 2012 (AFP) - The US Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking for a tool to mine social media for intelligence tips.
The US domestic law enforcement agency is asking information technology contractors about the feasibility of building a tool that would "enhance its techniques for collecting and sharing 'open source' actionable intelligence."
The January 19 open request was published on a website offering federal business opportunities and was first reported by New Scientist magazine.
The FBI said it is seeking an "open source and social media alert, mapping and analysis application solution" for its Strategic Information and Operations Center (SIOC).
"Social media has become a primary source of intelligence because it has become the premier first response to key events and the primal alert to possible developing situations," the FBI request said.
"Intelligence analysts will often use social media to receive the first tip-off that a crisis has occurred," it said.
The FBI said the tool "must have the ability to rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence that will allow SIOC to quickly vet, identity, and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats."
It would need to be able to "instantly search and monitor key words and strings in all 'publicly available' tweets across the Twitter site and any other 'publicly available' social networking sites/forums."
It would also need the ability to "search the data across a myriad of parameters and view terrorist activities by location, terrorist group, and type of attack and see trends and analytics."
In addition, it would have to be able "to immediately translate into English, tweets and any other open forum publically available social media captured in a foreign language."
Interested parties have until February 10 to respond to the FBI request.