Subscribe for premier reporting on free speech, privacy, Big Tech, media gatekeepers, and individual liberty online.

UK Ministry of Justice Invests in Social Listening Tool

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

The UK’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has decided to spend taxpayer money in order to be able to use a monitoring tool whose job is to access people’s conversations that might impact the ministry’s “reputation.”

This decision certainly impacts that reputation, but perhaps not in a positive aspect.

And it would be an interesting full circle if the maker of the software, Brandwatch (owned by Cision, a PR outfit) – allowed the MoJ to learn how inking this three-year deal will impact its reputation.

From what is known about the contract, things don’t look good – just more outsourced good old mass surveillance carried out by governments and various departments and agencies.

The tech is described as social media and “online listening,” and will cost the MoJ £50,000 per each of the three years of the deal. The hope is that it will allow the ministry to know about any of the millions of times people mention it online.

The procurement documents show that the contract, signed last month, will give the MoJ the ability to monitor and track mentions about itself on social and online media in general, in forums, blogs, based on particular keywords, terms and topics.

The justification for needing this tool, found in the same documents, is that the MoJ has a social media presence on major platforms. And that means it is exposed to discussion – and, likely, criticism, that the officials would like to know about, all for the sake of “reputation, campaigns, and policy announcement.”

The MoJ steers very far from framing any of this as surveillance and tracking, but rather a selfless act where money will be spent simply in order to work better – by “listening” (figuratively, and literally) to what citizens and stakeholders are saying and expecting from it.

Reports say that the contract with Brandwatch will cover 100 individual users, as well as 48 million past mentions of MoJ, along with two million more “live” ones each month.

Up to 50 different terms can be fed to the software to be tracked on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram each, and whatever information is gathered will remain accessible on the cloud, including that from the previous 2 years.

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

Read more

Join the pushback against online censorship, cancel culture, and surveillance.

Already a member? Login.