Thinking Outside the Borders… How Can Social Media Help Protect Our Country?
Threats to the U.S. borders evolve quickly and government agencies, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), are responsible for safeguarding our borders from all kinds of dangers. These new and developing threats create a need to constantly find innovative ways to analyze trends in border activity. One option for CBP is to use social media technology to increase their ability to apprehend more criminals at the border and to use intelligence data more effectively.
Social media analysis may offer an inventive solution for law enforcement and intelligence agencies charged with protecting our borders. Implementing the use of new analytical technologies and outreach techniques is a way in which CBP could gather extremely large amounts of data and then turn that data into actionable intelligence. Some possible sources include:
- Google: Google has recently released a statement introducing their new global human trafficking hotline which is meant to "create a consolidated global hotline connected to a data-driven network.”
- Facebook: With users all over the world, Facebook can be used as a tool to monitor a wide range of characteristics such as user’s locations, communication between individuals or events that people plan on attending.
- Twitter: The micro-blogging platform has a ’trend‘ element that can be used to quickly spread information to very large amounts of users.
Analyzing social media can break down barriers and provide interesting open source information that agencies can use to spot trends and augment their own data. Implementing a cohesive, social media-engaged and data-driven effort along with current CBP initiatives could be the next big step in safeguarding our nation’s borders.