DHS tries monitoring social media for signs of biological attacks


Have fun weeding through that weapon of mass destruction biological bullshit, algorithms or not. I say that due to the fact half of what is posted on social media is made up bullshit, and the other half is irrelavent. I’ve also seen my share of ‘hoaxes’, which I assume we’ll spend millions of dollars worth of manpower checking out just to be sure. And hear I thought all those biological & chemical sensors installed around the USA at the coast of billions were what was going to tell US if the terrorist [wink wink] were attacking via biological or chemical means.

Via Nextgov

The Homeland Security Department has commissioned Accenture to test technology that mines open social networks for indications of pandemics, according to the vendor.

The $3 million, yearlong “biosurveillance” program will try to instantaneously spot public health trends among the massive amount of data that citizens share online daily, company officials said in announcing the deal Thursday.

The business case for the new DHS program has not been proved yet, Accenture officials acknowledged. “Our pilot program seeks to prove this case,” said John Matchette, Accenture managing director for U.S. public safety. “In theory, social media analytics would have shown timely indicators for multiple past biological and health-related events.”

In July, President Obama issued a national strategy for biosurveillance that directs federal agencies to think outside the box in detecting incidents. “Consider social media as a force multiplier that can empower individuals and communities to provide early warning and global situational awareness,” the guidelines stated.

The strategy cites a number of recent threats to underscore the need for innovative biosurveillance, including the 2001 anthrax letters, 2003 SARS outbreak, 2009 bird flu pandemic and2011 Japan nuclear emergency.

Arlington, Va.-based Accenture and DHS will develop a model to “manage, link and analyze data from social media networks in real time to better inform and protect the public in the event of a national health emergency such as an infectious disease outbreak or a biological attack,” company officials stated. Homeland Security will examine information available through various outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs, company officials added.

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