[News] ShadowDragon: Inside the Social Media Surveillance Software That Can Watch Your Every Move

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Sep 23 09:24:40 EDT 2021


  ShadowDragon: Inside the Social Media Surveillance Software That Can
  Watch Your Every Move

Michael Kwet - September 21, 2021

_A Michigan State Police contract_, obtained by The Intercept, sheds new 
light on the growing use of little-known surveillance software that 
helps law enforcement agencies and corporations watch people’s social 
media and other website activity.

The software, put out by a Wyoming company called ShadowDragon, allows 
police to suck in data from social media and other internet sources, 
including Amazon, dating apps, and the dark web, so they can identify 
persons of interest and map out their networks during investigations. By 
providing powerful searches of more than 120 different online platforms 
and a decade’s worth of archives, the company claims to speed up 
profiling work from months to minutes. ShadowDragon even claims its 
software can automatically adjust its monitoring and help predict 
violence and unrest. Michigan police acquired the software through a 
contract with another obscure online policing company named Kaseware for 
an “MSP Enterprise Criminal Intelligence System.”

The inner workings of the product are generally not known to the public. 
The contract, and materials published by the companies online, allow a 
deeper explanation of how this surveillance works, provided below.

ShadowDragon has kept a low profile but has law enforcement customers 
well beyond Michigan. It was purchased twice by the U.S. Immigration and 
Customs Enforcement agency in the last two years, documents show, and 
was reportedly 
acquired by the Massachusetts State Police and other police departments 
within the state.

Michigan officials appear to be keeping their contract and the 
identities of ShadowDragon and Microsoft from the public. The 
Michigan.gov website does not make the contract available; it instead 
<https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dtmb/200000000425_679848_7.pdf> an 
email address at which to request the document “due to the sensitive 
nature of this contract.” And the contract it eventually provides has 
been heavily redacted: The copy given to David Goldberg, a professor at 
Wayne State University in Detroit had all mentions of ShadowDragon 
software and Microsoft Azure blacked out. What’s more, Goldberg had to 
file a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the contract. When 
the state website did offer the contract, it was unredacted, and I 
downloaded it 
<https://theintercept.com/document/2021/09/21/state-of-michigan-2020-kaseware-contract/> before 
it was withdrawn.

Last year, The Intercept published 
several articles 
detailing how 
a social media analytics firm called Dataminr relayed tweets about the 
George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests to police. The same year, I 
detailed at The Intercept how Kaseware’s partner Microsoft helps police 
surveil and patrol communities 
through its own offerings and a network of partnerships.

This new revelation about the Michigan contract raises questions about 
what digital surveillance capabilities other police departments and law 
enforcement agencies in the U.S. might be quietly acquiring. And it 
comes at a time when previously known government social media 
surveillance is under fire 
from civil rights and liberties advocates like MediaJustice and the 
American Civil Liberties Union. It also raises the specter of further 
abuses in Michigan, where the FBI has been profiling Muslim communities 
and so-called Black Identity Extremists 
In 2015, it was revealed that for years, the state police 
agency was using cell site simulators to spy on mobile phones without 
disclosing it to the public.

    “They endanger Black and marginalized communities.”

“Social media surveillance technologies, such as the software acquired 
by Michigan State Police, are often introduced under the false premise 
that they are public safety and accountability tools. In reality, they 
endanger Black and marginalized communities,” Arisha Hatch, vice 
president and chief of campaigns at civil rights nonprofit Color of 
Change, wrote in an email.

Michigan State Police spokesperson Shanon Banner said in an email that 
“the investigative tools available to us as part of this contract are 
only used in conjunction with criminal investigations, following all 
state and federal laws.” The founder of ShadowDragon, Daniel Clemens, 
wrote that the company provides only information that is publicly 
available and does not “build products with predictive capabilities.”

      A Shadowy Industry

Kaseware and ShadowDragon are part of a shadowy industry of software 
firms that exploit what they call “open source intelligence,” or OSINT 
<https://www.recordedfuture.com/open-source-intelligence-definition>: the 
trails of information that people leave on the internet. Clients include 
intelligence agencies, government, police, corporations, and even schools.

Kaseware, which is partnered to ShadowDragon and Microsoft, provides a 
platform for activities that support OSINT and other elements of digital 
policing, like data storage, management, and analysis. Its capabilities 
range from storing evidence to predictive policing. By contrast, the two 
ShadowDragon products acquired by the Michigan State Police are more 
narrowly tailored for the surveillance of people using social media, 
apps, and websites on the internet. They run on the Kaseware platform.

To understand how Kaseware and ShadowDragon work together, let us 
consider each in turn, starting with ShadowDragon.


Screenshot: The Intercept

      ShadowDragon: Social Media Surveillance

The Michigan State Police purchased two of ShadowDragon’s OSINT 
intelligence tools to run on the Kaseware platform: SocialNet and OIMonitor.

SocialNet was invented by cybersecurity consulting firm Packet Ninjas in 
2009. Clemens, Packet Ninja’s founder and CEO, went on to start 
ShadowDragon as a sister company in 2016, licensing the cyber 
intelligence and investigative tools developed by Packet Ninjas over the 
prior decade.

At the time of SocialNet’s creation, investigators were left to search 
social media networks for clues manually. If a person made a public post 
on Twitter or Facebook, for example, an investigator was free to look 
online, but they had to personally log onto and search one social 
network at a time, post by post, for people who might be suspects and 
for their friends and other associates.

    “What used to take us two months in a background check or an
    investigation is now taking between five to 15 minutes.”

Alerted to thisproblem 
by a friend from Pretoria, South Africa-based Paterva, makers of the 
Maltego OSINT platform, Clemens decided to build SocialNet. As he put it 
in an interview <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zmq6GcMnSDA>, “the idea 
[behind SocialNet] was, let’s throw a net out into all of the social 
media platforms, the social media universe, and see what we get back.” 
Clemens has claimed <https://shadowdragon.io/socialnet> in a company 
video that “when the FBI started using [SocialNet], they did an 
evaluation” and concluded “what used to take us two months in a 
background check or an investigation is now taking between five to 15 

Today, SocialNet says it pulls data from more than 120 
<https://www.maltego.com/transform-hub/socialnet> social media networks, 
websites, and platforms, as well as from the dark web 
<https://blog.shadowdragon.io/demystifying-the-dark-web-part-1>, data 
dumps, and RSS feeds. A full list of sources isn’t available, but a 
company promotional video and listing at the Maltego website gives an 
indication of which websites fall into their surveillance net:

    AOL Lifestream | Amazon | Ameba | Aodle | BabyCenter | BitChute |
    BlackPlanet | Blogger | Busted! Mugshots | Buzznet | Cocolog |
    Companies House | Crunchbase | Dailymotion | DeviantArt | Ebay |
    Etsy | Facebook | Flickr | Foursquare | Gab | GitHub | Goo | Google
    | Google+ | Gravatar | Hatena | Huffington Post | ICQ | IMVU |
    ImageShack | Imgur | Instagram | Instructables | Jugem | Kik
    |LinkedIn | LiveJournal | Livedoor | Mail.ru | Menuism | MeWe |
    MySpace | Naijapals | Netlog | OK Cupid | Okru | Olipro Company |
    Pandora | Pastebin | PayPal | PGP | Photobucket | Pinterest | Plurk
    | POF | PornHub | QQ | Reddit | ReverbNation | Seesaa | Skype |
    SoundCloud | SourceForge | Spotify | Sprashivai | Steam | Sudani |
    Telegram | Tinder | TripAdvisor | Tumblr | Uplike | Vimeo | Vine |
    Virus Total | VK | Voat | Weibo | Xing | Yahoo | Yelp | YouTube | Zillow

The video also shows “public and local” IP addresses as a source of data 
for SocialNet.

SocialNet searches for information that is publicly available across 
these websites and pulls it in when there is a match. But it is 
difficult to know with precision which data it pulls. In the promotional 
video, some categories of information appear, such as BlackPlanet 
users; Busted! mugshots; Bing search results; Amazon comments, products, 
users, and wishlists; and so on. Clemens said the company has “crawlers 
that scrape information from the public websites. Nothing proprietary or 
private is provided to us by the platform companies.”

On its website, ShadowDragon also claims 
<https://shadowdragon.io/oimonitor> to conduct “chat protocol monitoring 
(WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.)” as well as “dialog protocol monitoring (IRC, 
etc.).” For these services, it’s also unclear exactly what kinds of 
information can be pulled or how it’s done. Clemens said they don’t 
intercept any private chats, and they can confirm whether a specific 
phone number has a WhatsApp account if the user’s privacy settings allow it.

In a March 2019 blog post 
Clemens referenced an “integration into monitoring Telegram,” which, 
along with WhatsApp, had become “a go-to when there are disruptions.” He 
also claimed to have added “some interesting OSINT capabilities in our 
SocialNet platform for more hardened and encrypted/secure communication 
protocols. (Please ping us on this).” Although Telegram has said its 
instant messages are “heavily encrypted,” it also offers widely 
available groups and channels.

Clemens said the company is able to monitor chat platforms like Telegram 
through public sources of information, which reveal, for example, “if 
you respond to a public thread of Twitter or public Telegram group.” He 
added, “We don’t evade any encryption implementations because we’re not 
interested in weakening the technical security for other platforms.” 
Clemens declined to elaborate on what “capabilities” SocialNet has “for 
more hardened and encrypted/secure communication protocols.”

In fact, ShadowDragon seems to strive toward total information 
awareness. In an interview about investigations, Clemens has stated 
<https://vimeo.com/345808418>, “I want to know everything about the 
suspect: Where do they get their coffee, where do they get their gas, 
where’s their electric bill, who’s their mom, who’s their dad?”

The precise inner workings of SocialNet are off limits to the public, as 
it is expensive software that is sold at the discretion of the company. 
Nevertheless, some online resources give an indication of how it works.

    “I want to know everything about the suspect: Where do they get
    their coffee, where do they get their gas, where’s their electric
    bill, who’s their mom, who’s their dad?”

With its surveillance net cast across the internet, SocialNet 
<https://shadowdragon.io/socialnet> can be used to perform 
investigations on persons and networks of interest, according to 
publicly available marketing materials. Investigators can run search 
queries for names, email addresses, phone numbers, aliases, or other 
information to begin to identify persons of interest, determine their 
physical location, ascertain their “lifestyles,” and analyze their 
broader networks (such as friends and friends of friends).

The materials also show how SocialNet organizes information for the 
analyst, visually mapping social network graphs and suggesting links 
between persons of interest and their networks. Timelines can be created 
to help sort out evidence and piece together clues into a broader 
picture of what the investigator is trying to uncover. Physical 
locations can be uncovered or inferred.

An online tutorial <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FceN0T_a_uM&t=1s> 
from 2011 depicts an investigator using SocialNet to hunt down possible 
targets by cross-referencing their company domain names with their email 
addresses, then finding a friend who two targets might have in common. 
The demonstration suggests that the investigator might want to “social 
engineer” — or trick — the mutual friend into speaking to the targets.

The other ShadowDragon tool purchased by the Michigan State Police, 
OIMonitor, sends alerts in response to the sort of data captured by 
SocialNet, a company engineer says <https://shadowdragon.io/videos> in 
an online video.

Other company materials say OIMonitor can go further, helping to detect 
potential crime before it happens and performing other advanced feats. 
One video <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgjHjFvXVak> explains 
OIMonitor can “automate and customize monitoring parameters.” In another 
video, a ShadowDragon representative provides an example 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCQBdkGq8xM> of a corporation looking 
to protect its physical venue or executives. The corporation would 
“build out an entire dossier of attack patterns, of things people say 
that’s bad or something threatening,” and OIMonitor “just alerts them 
when it sees the criteria that they’ve set and that they have experience 
recognizing as a problem.”

Clemens told me that “customers come to us for the ability to identify 
and analyze previous patterns of behavior and relationships using only 
public information. We disagree with predictive policing and so we don’t 
build products with predictive capabilities or even suggestions.” Yet 
their own website says, in the description for the “Predicting Violence 
<https://shadowdragon.io/oimonitor>” video, “Clever security teams use 
OIMonitor to find indicators of unrest and violence before they start. 
Because riots don’t start in a vacuum; there are always indicators.” 
It’s also unclear if information pulled from ShadowDragon may be pooled 
with other data and used by clients for predictive policing on other 
systems (Clemens declined to comment on that).

Hatch raised an alarm about the civil rights implications of 
ShadowDragon’s software, stating, “It could be used to incorrectly 
identify Black people as criminal suspects and out social justice 
activists who wish to remain anonymous for fear of being harassed by 
police and white nationalists.”

    “It could be used to incorrectly identify Black people as criminal
    suspects and out social justice activists.”

ShadowDragon also appears to be hoarding information that users and 
platforms wanted to delete. OIMonitor provides clients with access 
<https://shadowdragon.io/oimonitor> to ShadowDragon’s private 
“historical archive from 2011 to today,” and it saves monitoring results 
in case the data disappears from the web, according to one company video.

In a case example given by the company, running the phone number of a 
suspect through the ShadowDragon software “popped up with an old 
Foursquare account” he had logged into at his mother’s house 10 years 
ago. After looking for the suspect for a month, the investigators were 
able to find him the following day.

In addition to police, ShadowDragon services corporate clients, and it 
can be potentially used for worker surveillance. In a blog post 
<https://blog.shadowdragon.io/background-checks>, the company advertised 
the ability to use OIMonitor for employee background checks by 
employers. Clemens declined to respond to questions about using 
ShadowDragon for worker surveillance.

      Kaseware: An End-to-End Investigative Platform

Compared with ShadowDragon, Kaseware, the other software company 
contracting with Michigan State Police, is more sweeping in scope, 
handling more aspects of police work and venturing into the 
controversial realm of algorithmic crime fighting.

In 2009, Kaseware’s founders were working at the FBI, where, the company 
says, they transformed <https://www.kaseware.com/about> its 1980s 
mainframe system into an award winning, modern, web-enabled platform 
called Sentinel. Soon thereafter, some of the designers of Sentinel left 
the FBI to build Kaseware, based out of Denver and launched in 2016 as a 
cloud “software as a service” product for government 
<https://www.kaseware.com/government> and corporations 

Kaseware is a centralized online platform where law enforcement 
authorities, intelligence agencies, and corporations can dump their 
surveillance data. Once on the platform, the surveillance can be 
monitored, mapped, and otherwise analyzed using tools 
<https://www.kaseware.com/product-overview/intelligence-analysis> built 
specifically for Kaseware. The company touts the system’s speed and 
ability to integrate diverse sources of information for 
command-and-control centers, saying it handles investigations and 
security monitoring in an “end-to-end” way: from the ingestion of raw 
surveillance at one end to the conclusion of an investigation at the 
other. Its diverse set of capabilities are similar to Microsoft’s Domain 
Awareness System 

Kaseware claims <https://www.kaseware.com/government/law-enforcement/> 
to streamline a wide range of law enforcement drudgery: generating 
reports, managing workloads, facilitating video conferences, and 
querying information from the controversial federal records 
clearinghouse National Crime Information Center. A redacted portion of 
the MSP contract says it can “integrate with FBI eGuardian system 
<https://www.fbi.gov/resources/law-enforcement/eguardian> via file 
exchange.” The eGuardian system allows the FBI to collect and share 
Suspicious Activity Reports, or SAR, from different agencies across the 
United States. As the ACLU notes 
<https://www.aclu.org/cases/aclu-v-fbi-eguardian-foia-lawsuit>, the 
system gives law enforcement officials broad discretion to collect 
information about commonplace activities and to store it in criminal 
intelligence files without evidence of wrongdoing.

A cornerstone Kaseware feature is its ability to ingest and analyze 
massive amounts of data. Files, records, logs, disc images, and evidence 
are pulled <https://www.kaseware.com/product-overview> into the 
platform, which can also handle evidence 
<https://www.kaseware.com/product-overview/evidence-management> from 
“recordings, body cameras, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and 
other sources.” The company claims 
<https://www.kaseware.com/product-overview/forensics-cybersecurity> it 
can help hunt down a perpetrator’s physical location.


Screenshot: The Intercept

Kaseware marketing materials say its platform ingests zip codes, 
addresses, GPS coordinates, geotags, satellite imagery, and data from 
internet-connected devices, correlating it with “socioeconomic trends 
and environmental events to create layered maps” to reveal “illegal 
activity” and — crucially, for civil rights advocates — conduct 
“predictive policing.”

Predictive policing, or the use of statistics that quantifies past 
crimes to predict future ones, has been heavily criticized by legal 
and activists 
<https://stoplapdspying.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Before-the-Bullet-Hits-the-Body-May-8-2018.pdf> on 
grounds that the systems generate discrimination 
<https://twitter.com/rajiinio/status/1375957284061376516>and harm 
<https://twitter.com/rajiinio/status/1375957284061376516>. Two scholars 
tested the PredPol predictive policing software for Oakland, California, 
and found 
its software would target Black people at twice the rate as white 
people. This is because Black people are overrepresented in Oakland’s 
drug crime databases, leading to disproportionate policing of low-income 
communities and communities of color.

The Michigan State Police told me, “We do not use the predictive 
policing function of the Kaseware platform.” However, it is worth noting 
the capability is there, and the software has been sold to other clients 
who may be making use of it.

Kaseware also touts its access to open source intelligence across its 
marketing literature. Its platform utilizes OSINT tools like 
ShadowDragon “to instantly search hundreds of open web, dark web, deep 
web and social media sources to access crucial data on cybercriminals’ 
names, keywords, emails, aliases, phones numbers and more.” Clients “can 
also import social media information for forensic analysis alongside 
other case details, including photos, followers, likes, friends and post 

It’s unclear if Kaseware has special access to information or services 
with the companies listed in the way that Dataminr, for example, is 
to Twitter’s “firehose,” a database of every public tweet from the 
moment it was posted. Twitter’s senior director of global public policy 
strategy, Nick Pickles, told me in an email that “we’re not able to 
disclose details of our commercial agreements,” but it is “safe to say 
that” Kaseware is “on our radar.” Another Twitter spokesperson, Katie 
Rosborough, did not answer questions about Kaseware or ShadowDragon, 
saying only that Twitter’s public programming interface is not available 
for law enforcement purposes. Partners like Dataminr historically have 
not used that interface.

      Contracts and Deployments

The Michigan State Police contract redacts every mention of 
ShadowDragon, SocialNet, OIMonitor, and Microsoft Azure in the contract 
shared with the public. David Goldberg’s FOIA request was “partially 
denied” citing exemptions to the act to protect “trade secrets, or 
financial or proprietary information”; to “protect the security or 
safety of persons or property, or the confidentiality, integrity, or 
availability of information systems”; and to protect “the identity of a 
person who may become a victim of a cybersecurity incident as a result 
of the disclosure of identifying that person” or that person’s 
“cybersecurity-related practices.”

As I reported 
at The Intercept, through its Public Safety and Justice division, 
Microsoft provides an extensive array of services to police forces 
across the world via its own products and that of partners (like 
Kaseware), who typically operate on the Azure Cloud. Microsoft services 
the U. 
and Israeli 
militaries with its HoloLens augmented reality goggles. Its carceral 
include its own Digital Prison Management Solution based on its Domain 
Awareness System surveillance platform built with the New York Police 
Department years ago. Together with its partners, Microsoft’s products 
and services extend across the carceral pipeline, from juvenile 
detention and pretrial through prison and parole.

    Kaseware’s Mark Dodge, a former Naval intelligence and CIA officer,
    helped develop Microsoft’s Domain Awareness System for the NYPD.

Kaseware’s Chief Business Officer Mark Dodge, a former Naval 
intelligence and CIA officer, told me in interviews prior to this year 
that before working at Kaseware, he had worked at Accenture, where he 
helped develop Microsoft’s Domain Awareness System for the NYPD. He said 
he also did work for Singapore, which runs the Microsoft DAS, and “a 
couple others,” including in London. Dodge then had a brief stint with 
Microsoft partner Axon, the industry leader in Taser stun guns and body 
cameras — illustrating how circles in the intelligence, police, and 
corporate surveillance industry intersect.

The length of the MSP contract is five years, from January 31, 2020, to 
January 31, 2025. The Kaseware license costs $340,000 annually, while 
SocialNet and OIMonitor cost $39,000 each, bringing the package to 
$418,000 per year, or $2,090,000 over five years. The state of Michigan 
redacted the contract values of ShadowDragon features. The MSP opted for 
a two-day training session at $3,000, which ShadowDragon says 
constitutes a “big deep dive on threat assessment and sentiment analysis.”

The total cost of the MSP contract is $3,293,000.

The sum paid to Microsoft for its Azure Government Cloud services is 
bundled into the “Licensing & Support Services” portion of the contract, 
and there is no indication how much of that money Microsoft receives.

Because most of their contracts are not made public or difficult to 
access, it’s hard to discern how pervasive Kaseware and ShadowDragon are 
in the world.

The first ShadowDragon contract 
with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was awarded to 
IT firm C & C International Computers & Consultants, Inc. on July 16, 
2020, at a cost of $289,500. The second was for a contract awarded 
to cybersecurity firm Panamerica Computers on August 31, 2021 at a cost 
of $602,056. Both were for the use of SocialNet.

ShadowDragon’s SocialNet, OIMonitor, and malware investigation product 
MalNet is also being deployed 
by IT firm ALTEN Calsoft Labs and Cloudly in Asia — “especially India” — 
as “solutions for industries such as Government, Banking, Financial 
Services, Healthcare and many other verticals.” ALTEN is headquartered 
in Bangalore, India, and has offices in the U.S., Europe, and Singapore. 
Cloudly is a cybersecurity, intelligence, and surveillance firm based in 
Silicon Valley.

With offices in the U.S. and Denmark, ShadowDragon claims a market 
presence in “North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin 

When asked about potential human rights abuses by clients, Clemens said 
the company vets “all in-bound requests for our products to ensure 
they’re not used to conduct human rights violations.”

Dodge, in the interviews predating this story, told me Kaseware had 
about 30 customers as of June 2020 but does not disclose most of them. 
The Winslow, Arizona, Police Department rolled 
<https://www.winslowaz.gov/2018%20Annual%20Report%20Final.pdf> a 
Kaseware Computer Aided Dispatch and Records Management System in 2018, 
and the Wickenburg, Arizona, Police Department was at least considering 

Kaseware states <https://www.kaseware.com/about> its platform “is now 
used by police departments around the world, Fortune 100 Companies, and 
many international non-profit organizations.”

Kaseware did not respond to a request for comments for this article.

      Human Rights: A World of All-Seeing Public Surveillance

With Kaseware and ShadowDragon, we live in a world where the public’s 
online behavior can be monitored across the internet and accessed at the 
click of a button to determine who we are, who we know, what our 
“lifestyle” is like, where we are located, and more.

These capabilities fundamentally change police powers, said Eric 
Williams, managing attorney at the Detroit Justice Center’s Economic 
Equity Practice: “It is qualitatively different when you go from the 
police being able to check information” a little at a time “to 
artificial intelligence being able to analyze everything that you’ve 
done online.”

The potential for discriminatory applications is enormous. Williams 
noted that searches made by big data tools are “inevitably biased 
against people of color, poor people” and the like. He said that 
activists from Black Lives Matter, unions, and the #MeToo movement may 
be targeted by these technologies, “depending on who is in charge of them.”

    “This presents the scary possibility of law enforcement of our daily
    lives that would be unimaginable until recently.”

Phil Mayor, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Michigan, said of 
ShadowDragon, “mapping of the relationships between people risks 
suspicion by association” and “is likely to entrench systemic racism and 
is a threat to everyone’s privacy. … This presents the scary possibility 
of law enforcement of our daily lives that would be unimaginable until 

There is virtually no transparency behind what Kaseware and ShadowDragon 
do, or how the Michigan State Police and other clients might be using 
their products, where they are deployed, for what purpose, and who gets 
access. Likewise for how these tools impact activists, the poor, and 
marginalized communities, who are disproportionately the targets of 
police surveillance.

“It’s deeply concerning that this kind of technology is being purchased 
and used by law enforcement without public discussion,” Mayor told me. 
“Before engaging in new forms of surveillance of citizens, law 
enforcement should be coming to the polity and asking what we expect in 
terms of our privacy rather than making those decisions for us.”

Williams echoed this, stating, “It is problematic that public money is 
being spent on surveillance, of a particularly intrusive type, and the 
public is unaware of it.” Even if the police want to keep their 
surveillance methods hidden, “the public has a right to know, and should 
know, given the lack of laws we have governing a lot of electronic 

In the U.S., as many as 70 percent of police forces use social media to 
gather intelligence and monitor the public. Yet the law does little 
to constrain these kinds of tools and practices.

“There’s not a lot of regulations on this,” Williams said, “and we can’t 
begin to have a discussion on how it should be regulated if we’re not 
aware that it’s happening.” He added that he favors a ban on the 
technology, given its opaque deployment and intrusive nature.

Dragnet social media surveillance needs to be urgently addressed by 
lawmakers, who should step in and ban this attack on civil rights and 
liberties immediately.

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