Andrew Tarantola reports:
The recent school shooting in Newtown, CT is proving a watershed moment for American gun control efforts—public opinion is quickly coalescing in favor of stringent regulation proposals while civic leaders scramble to respond to the outcry. But fear not New Yorkers, the NYPD has a plan—wait for potential killers to mention their murderous intentions on Facebook.
According to NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, the department’s top intelligence officers met Thursday to brainstorm over ways to prevent tragedies such as the Sandy Hook incident. As Kelly explains, this is what they came up with,
The techniques would include cyber-searches of language that mass-casualty shooters have used in e-mails and Internet postings. The goal would be to identify the shooter in cyberspace, engage him there and intervene, possibly using an undercover to get close, and take him into custody or otherwise disrupt his plans.
“And what we’re talking about is publicly available websites, chatrooms, that sort of thing,” Kelly said, adding that algorithms could be used. That will enable us to use, perhaps, commonly used terms that are used by people engaged in this sort of activity,” he said.
“The techniques would include cyber-searches of language that mass-casualty shooters have used in e-mails and Internet postings,” Kelly said.
So although the technique could be applied to e-mails, that’s not what they’re proposing (yet?). I really don’t see how this is any different than what DHS proposed earlier this year in terms of scanning social media. If something’s public, it’s public, but if they try to access non-public communications (and I include e-mail because I reject Third Party Doctrine), then they should be required to obtain court approval based on some reasonably articulated suspicion.
Thanks, A., for the link.