Law Enforcement Agencies Spend Millions on Social Media Monitoring

In a world that is becoming increasingly communicative — where people often receive their news, share news, state their opinions and post pictures with their whereabouts via social media — the lines are perhaps a bit more blurry about how such information can be used.

Last month, the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute, released a map that details specific cities, counties and law enforcement agencies across the United States that have spent at least $10,000 on social media monitoring software.

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Social media feud leads to public records fight in Miami Beach

In a complaint filed last week, Stern says the mayor, Philip Levine, “employs … digital mediums including social media to communicate official business,” noting that the Twitter and Facebook accounts at issue identify him as mayor and are used for constituent engagement and informing city residents of important events (e.g., the Zika outbreak in Miami Beach). These accounts are separate from Levine’s personal and campaign ones.

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Denver Police defend spending more than $1.3 million over three years on public relations

The Denver Police Department is defending more than $1.3 million in spending over the past three years for its media relations unit, despite questions from officers on the street. 

The department claims its finely-tuned social media and video production efforts have been wildly popular with the Denver public, with some videos gaining millions of views and some Tweets going viral and gaining national attention. 

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Editorial: Is The Internet Evolving Away From Freedom of Speech?

Over the last two months I have written extensively on the many ways in which the evolving and globalizing world of the Internet is shifting away from being the flag bearer of free-for-all freedom of speech and towards a moderated commercial enterprise that must mediate among conflicting global standards on acceptable speech and online conduct. What does this mean for the future of the Internet?

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Do municipal Facebook pages and comments count as public records?

Social media pages like Facebook can be a valuable tool for municipalities or police departments in reaching its citizens, however, public entities should keep an eye on proper record keeping, experts said.

Public records, whether digital or not, must be retained for specific time periods so that the information can be requested through the Open Public Records Act.

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Inside the OpenMIND: Open source social media datamining and “predictive” policing

From PR Watch: Records obtained by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy (DBA/CMD) shed new light on a technology, OpenMIND, utilized by law enforcement/counter-terrorism fusion center personnel in gathering and analyzing mass amounts of “open source intelligence” derived from the online lives of Americans.

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Research Paper — “The Social Layer of Freedom of Information Law”

From Social Science Research Network:

It is now received wisdom that a properly functioning democracy requires transparency and accountability — information shared with the public that allows the public to know what its government is doing. It is equally uncontroversial to say that social media allows for an unprecedented amount of informal but structured dissemination and analysis of information.

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