According to a Washington Post report, the FBI has invested millions of dollars in social media tracking software.
With about $27 million invested in the licensed software, users can be monitored on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, the Dark Web, VK, and Telegram.
The software allows users of the application to search social media pages within geographical and other adjustable parameters.
The deal will give room for 5,000 licenses of the software worth $5 million with an option to increase to about $27 million.
The article states that the FBI expects the 5,000 licenses to perform 20,000 keyword searches on multiple social media platforms each month.
However, experts expressed concerns about privacy and the fact that the tool could be used by an autocratic government to target citizens.
“I can foresee several issues with the FBI monitoring social media. This is bulk surveillance, which means the vast majority of people whom the FBI is monitoring are not suspected of any crime. [But] it sets a dangerous precedent. Dictators in autocratic countries could contract with Babel X or a similar company to spy on dissidents, activists, journalists, and others who speak out,” said Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate with Comparitech.
For more information, read the original story in TechRepublic.