Police Ineffective in Tracking Social Media Threats


U.S. law enforcement agencies are a long way from being able to effectively track threats of the kind a gunman posted on Instagram before his execution-style murder of two New York City policemen last weekend, reports Reuters. Police need more data analytics and mining software to monitor social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as trained personnel to make sense of what could be a deluge of data, say law enforcement officials and security experts.

“You can buy all the technology you want, but if you want to figure out clever stuff, you better have smart people able to use it,” said Christopher Ahlberg, co-founder of Recorded Future Inc., which helps clients analyze social media feeds. Monitoring social media for threats may be beyond the capabilities of most police forces, including the NYPD, experts say. One recent report suggested it is “like trying to take a sip from a fire hydrant.” Most local police forces lag behind U.S. intelligence agencies in effective monitoring of social media threats.

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