LittleSis is partnering with MuckRock to investigate how police across the country are monitoring, tracking, and archiving public social media posts. To plug into our work, follow this link to file a freedom of information request using MuckRock’s platform.
In keeping with our mission to monitor and track the powers that be, we at LittleSis turned the surveillance gaze back onto the local forces monitoring social media. We not only dug into the corporate profiles of some of the companies police contract to snoop on your Tweets and Facebook rants, we also filed freedom of information requests to twenty police departments across the country to find out how, when, and why they monitor social media.
|Brightplanet||Specializes in analyzing “deep web” content|
|Geofeedia||Develops location-based social media surveillance software|
|ZeroFOX||“The Social Risk Management Company”™|
|Intrado||Develops “Beware” threat scoring software|
|LifeRaft||Develops location-based social media surveillance software|
|Magnet Forensics||Develops digital forensics software|
|Media Sonar Technologies||Develops location-based social media surveillance software|
|Signal Corporation Limited||Develops Microsoft-sourced, NZ-based social media monitoring software|
Before we started receiving documents from the police, we probed the power behind these eight firms to unravel the social-media-monitoring complex; you can peruse our list, completed using publicly available information, to learn more about each company. However, one particularly well-connected firm that we believe is worth highlighting here is ZeroFOX, which actively monitored prominent Black Lives Matter protesters in Baltimore and labeled some of them, including former Baltimore mayoral candidate DeRay McKesson, “threat actors.”
The company reached out to Baltimore officials first, offering it servicespro-bono, which ZeroFOX executives painted as a selfless gesture of civic responsibility. But city officials may have been especially receptive to ZeroFOX’s pitch because of the powerful names standing behind it. The company’s leadership includes former NSA Director Mike McConnell, who is the f at Booz Allen Hamilton, and Robert Rodriguez, who has ties to the Department of Homeland Security, the Secret Service, and a security firm started by top Bush-era security official Michael Chertoff.