The term: SOCMINT refers to “Social Media Intelligence”. It’s basically a description termed by a government think tank to differentiate this particular type of information gathering from say, OSINT – “Open Source Intelligence”. Essentially, SOCMINT is mapping geolocation information with personal data gleaned from social media.
Social media intelligence mining is something of a new concept, but, essentially, it is an old technique adapted to modern communication methods. Investigators old and new track and gather information about people’s lives, the people around them and their locations.
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, Google+ and Instagram are the main social media platforms that people use and are the main sites that crop us time after time, for interrogation.
Ofcom’s study into: Media Use, estimates that over 83% of the UK population go online on a regular basis, breaking this demographic down, nearly all 16 – 34 year olds are online at any time.
More and more people are going online, using smart phones, tablets and or course the traditional PC. Without enabling their privacy settings, people are leaving a trace of their activity.
From an investigation point of view it is necessary to fully identify the subject of the enquiry and to then gather usable information, filtering out hearsay and blind alleys – analysing, grading and corroborating. Sometimes, the time and effort of endless searching pays no dividend and it is no surprise when investigators draw an early line under Socmint research…
..but, when the cards fall right and a subject’s identification can be verified, third party applications can add unexpected and welcome twists. For instance, software like Geofeedia can monitor and track social media communications around the world. Sometimes the information gleaned is remarkable – revealing the data subjects lifestyle, where they hang out, live and work. The geolocation information transmitted with the users post or tweets is basically gathered by the software and mapped onto street view.