February 23, 2015 10:00 am -

They’re doing this in Fresno, CA, and it may be coming to a police department near you.


[su_thin_right_skyscraper_ad]”To the extent that there is information that is in the public domain, regardless of where the input was derived, it could potentially be surfaced through a Beware query,” said Allen Carr, vice president of Intrado, the company producing and marketing Beware to first responders of all types.

Intrado buys billions of pieces of commercially available personal information — the same stuff credit agencies have. It adds arrest records from police databases and within seconds, gives a quick look at who lives at any address and a profile for every person associated with the address.

“That’s me,” an Action News reporter said as he examined the software in action. “That’s my Social (Security number). That’s my date of birth. That was my phone number in Houston the last time I had a landline.”

“Yeah, all past phone numbers, current address, past addresses,” said Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer.

The software computes a numerical threat score or risk index for each person and assigns a green, yellow or red rating. In our reporter’s case, the risk index was zero and the threat level was green.

The company doesn’t like to disclose the calculations behind its index, but in addition to criminal records, social media posts are part of the equation. An Instagram post including “#ShootThePolice” — like the one posted by the NYC shooting suspect — would increase the risk index. But we also found a Fresno woman whose score went up for posting on Twitter about her card game that happens to have “rage” in its title.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

3 responses to Police Scanning Social Media To Determine Your Threat Level

  1. edmeyer_able February 23rd, 2015 at 10:34 am

    They’ll never catch me as long as I put Bali down for my twitter location. If they do knock on my door I hope they bring a pizza with extra cheese and mushrooms.

  2. E.A. Blair February 23rd, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    One of the many reasons I stay off social media.

  3. AmusedAmused February 24th, 2015 at 7:03 am

    Here is the thing. Statements published on social media are intended for the public. There is no legitimate expectation of privacy in anything intended to be seen by thousands of random individuals. As long as the cops don’t overreact or use a ludicrous algorithm to evaluate potential threats, there is nothing wrong in them looking out for suspicious chatter and taking notes.