By G.W. Schulz, huffpost:
Private tech firms have found a new market for their sophisticated software capable of analyzing vast segments of the Internet – local police departments looking for ways to pre-empt the next mass shooting or other headline-grabbing event.
Twitter, Facebook and other popular sites are 24-hour fire hoses of raw information that need an automated tool for deciding what’s important and what is not. So technology companies are pushing products at law enforcement conferences, in trade publications and through white papers that promise to help police filter the deluge for terrorists, traffickers, pedophiles and rioters.
In the process, privacy advocates and other critics fear these tools – once reserved for corporate branding – could ensnare Internet users who happen to be at the wrong cyberspace destination at the wrong time.
Some 400 million tweets now flow across the Web every day, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said in June. Facebook today reportedly boasts more than 900 million users, each pumping out a ceaseless stream of family photos, relationship updates, political manifestos, impulsive reactions to celebrity news and even criminal confessions… Read more