The Federal Bureau of Investigation wants to be able to have more access to social media to monitor potential threats, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The FBI has been collecting proposals from vendors to pull data from social media companies “to proactively identify and reactively monitor threats to the United States and its interests.”
But the move has set up a potential standoff with Facebook and Twitter over the amount of data they are willing to turn over to authorities, and the issue is exacerbated by a recent $5 billion fine that Facebook paid to the government to settle privacy concerns.
The bureau sent out the requests last month, weeks before two recent mass shootings took place, prompting President Trump to call for more social media monitoring to be able to catch shooters before they attack. There’s an Aug. 27 deadline for the bids.
The problem is that the proposed data collection seems to violate Facebook’s ban against using its data for the purposes of surveillance.
The FBI said the data that’s going to be collected will be done so lawfully and “while ensuring all privacy and civil liberties compliance requirements are met.”
Twitter has a similar policy against data collection saying that it won’t let its data be used “by any entity for surveillance purposes, or in any other way that would be inconsistent with our users’ reasonable expectations of privacy. Period.”
Many of the shooters used message boards or social media to spout their hateful ideologies, and law enforcement is feeling the pressure to try and stop them.
Facebook is usually cooperative with law enforcement, and it has always complied with subpoenas and warrants, It also reports malfeasances and danger signs like child abuse, people attempting suicide and whatever other warning signs are flagged.
However, it does not want its data being used in large swatches without the permission of users.