RCMP to boost social media mining for threats ranging from disease to shootings

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    High River Police pictures for crime stories. April 26th, 2018. Photos by Lorraine Hjalte.

    Ottawa: ┬áCanada’s national police force wants a digital tool to harvest data from a sweeping variety of online sources to provide early information on threats such as disease outbreaks and mass shootings.

    The software would allow an RCMP officer to quickly mine data about a person’s internet activities, from an emoji posting on Facebook to an illicit firearm purchase on the so-called dark web.

    The RCMP contract tender says social media and other publicly available information will be used to identify threats and address public concerns.

    The application would also help identify brewing public-relations issues and help with decision-making in a crisis or major-event setting.

    The tender says the tool should include a dashboard with reports on breaking news, mass-casualty events, terrorist attacks, disease outbreaks and natural disasters.

    The solicitation notice was issued in mid-April, just days before a gunman went on a deadly rampage in Nova Scotia.

    The Canadian Press