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US Agency Monitors Social Media for Impending Pandemics

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as part of a year-long $3 million project, contracted with vendor Accenture to test technology designed to monitor open social networks for indications of possible pandemics. In announcing the project, Accenture said it wants to prove that social media can be analyzed for the early detection of public problems such as infectious-disease outbreaks or nuclear emergencies. Among the sites DHS will monitor include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and various blogs. The NextGov US-government news website reported that DHS has tracked social media previously “in the interest of public safety.” The discovery of this type of tracking has caused controversy and triggered legal action from the Electronic Privacy Information Center. (SlashDot)(NextGov)

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