DHS dives into the deep, dark, social web

Social network, census

WHAT: A request for information about open-source and social media analytics, issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

WHY: DHS is looking to industry for ways to probe all corners of the Internet while respecting civil rights. The RFI, released Jan. 25, asks industry to showcase "privacy, civil rights and civil liberties-protecting" open-source tools that can help DHS track and analyze social media and web activity.

It addresses probing the "dark web" (anonymity-seeking, often illegal websites) and the "deep web" (sites that are not indexed by search engines and dynamically generated private sessions such as email access), which could raise a host of privacy concerns. The RFI asks vendors to demonstrate a slew of capabilities, including their ability to encrypt, store and delete data.

In a bid to better process the ever-growing torrent of global personal information, DHS' request solicits information on how effectively platforms can ingest large amounts of data and geolocate users, and how many languages a given tool can process. DHS is also interested in systems that can create visual representations of connections inside the data, such as social maps, language types and even word clouds.

The RFI is a joint exploration by DHS' Science and Technology Directorate and its Social Media Task Force and asks that only original product manufacturers respond.

Responses are due electronically by 3 p.m. EST on Feb. 9.

As many as 30 respondents will be invited to Washington to demonstrate their technology to DHS on Feb. 26, while others might have an opportunity to do so in a webinar.

Click here to read the RFI.

Posted by Zach Noble on Jan 29, 2016 at 9:56 AM


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