Russia’s Investigative Committee to monitor social networks for criminal cases

Russia’s Investigative Committee to monitor social networks for criminal cases
Russia’s Investigative Committee said it will monitor Facebook, Twitter and Instagram along with other social networks for evidence and reactions on serious crimes. The top law enforcement agency has posted a contract for the creation of the system.

The winner of the 1.2-million-ruble (about $38,000) contract, expected to be named by the end of June, will be tasked with helping the Investigative Committee monitor 15,000 print publications and 8,500 online sources, as well as blogs and social networks, to find information on crimes and public reactions to them.

The list of sites the Committee plans to monitor round-the-clock includes popular Russian social networks Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki (‘Classmates’), Twitter, LiveJournal, video-hosting websites Youtube and Rutube, and location-based social network Foursquare.

The Committee claims that the system will track down the sources of Web posts in order to determine the causes of crimes, and help to solve them, Russian news website Lenta.ru reported

However, it is unclear if the Committee will focus only on Russian websites and crimes committed in Russia – the contract says that the system should be able to operate in Russian, English and German. And besides information on crimes, the Investigative Committee is also interested in online reactions to its work.

The Investigative Committee launched a similar scheme in January 2013, signing a contract worth 1.1 million rubles ($35,000) with Intergrum Company to monitor media coverage of the Committee’s work.

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation was formed in January 2011 to probe high-profile cases, similar to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. The agency’s predecessor was the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor General’s Office (SKP), which was formed in 2007. The Committee, which employs over 20,000, is aimed at establishing a wall of separation between the prosecution and the preliminary investigation in criminal cases.