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News :: Police and Prisons
Boston Police Department Increases Monitoring of Social Media
05 Dec 2016
Modified: 09:45:45 AM
Police Terror.jpg
The Boston Police Department plans to spend up to $1.4 million on software that scours the internet and social media for key words and phrases claimed to indicate 'threats' of criminal thoughts and activities.

The police monitoring technology may quickly 'mine' social media - from blogs to chat rooms looking for certain keywords and phrases. Police can track postings for defined geographic areas. The program alerts police to targeted ideas and words.

Police say that if someone is making posts that are threatening they might use informants or there means, including more surveillance or seeking a courts permission to monitor phones or computers to determine how serious the person is.

"The more you know about someone, the more you can make informed decisions about how many resources to put into those people," said Edward Davis, the Boston police commissioner during the 2013 Boston marathon bombings.

It is hard to say whether monitoring would have made a difference in thwarting the Boston bombers, who were allegedly motivated by online anti-U.S. jihadist teachings, because the bombers weren't very active on social media, said Mr. Davis.

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