The UK’s Ministry of Defence has published a data strategy promoting the idea of the British armed forces conducting social media surveillance on behalf of local governments.
The document, which is about the armed forces making better use of their existing data, says that the military should conduct “automated scanning of social media platforms” to identify any “change in population sentiment.”
“Decision making is enhanced by local surveillance of groups of interest,” the MoD wrote in the document. The MoD believes that spying on the social media rants of angered citizens can help “local authorities” to come up with “heightened readiness measures.”
The document, however, does not explain why the military should collect social media data to be used for non-military purposes. Besides, for years, private companies have been tracking social media sentiment not only for marketing but also for government agencies.
“Working with local authorities ensures the Defence Data Framework is collaborative,” an MoD spokesperson told The Register.
“Our partnerships are exploring the potential use of different types of data sources, including those in the public domain to better understand how data can be used to improve decision making.”