Security Through Social Media: The Potential for Innovation

Innovation goes beyond mainstream R&D

“It goes far beyond the confines of research labs to users, suppliers and consumers everywhere – in government, business and non-profit organisations, across borders, across sectors, and across institutions”

Social media as a communication, monitoring and intelligence gathering tool, has become mainstream in the hands of society. Usage of social media has disrupted social norms and has revolutionised the market evolving around it. In the process of adaptation to current trends, public authorities’ actions have been measured and scattered. For this reason, they are faced with constant developments related to new trends like the Dark Web, fake news and terrorist content online amongst others. Increasingly, security challenges will include AI based solutions. AI will present the next generation of new technologies and processes in our societies.

The 6thMEDI@4SEC Workshop on Innovative market Solutions consolidates the results of all other workshops, DIY Policing, Riots and Mass Gatherings, Dark Web, Everyday Policing and Trolling and brings together developers and public entities to discuss what are the most upcoming innovations.

According to a 2016 survey from the International Association of Chiefs of Police[1], social media is used:

  • 91 percent to notify the public of safety concerns,
  • 89 percent for community outreach and citizen engagement,
  • 86 percent for public relations and reputation management, and
  • 59 percent have contacted a social media company (e.g., Facebook or Twitter) to obtain information to use as evidence (2016).

With the new features on social media having been introduced so rapidly within 2017 and even more in 2018, someone can wonder, how will security stakeholders maintain the momentum and integrate those features into their communication and investigation processes. Due to cultural differences, internal procedures and decision-making processes within practitioner organisations, the usage of social media has been uneven, similarly to policies and guideline for using social media at the national level, which in some cases are non-existent. Additionally, for online interaction some end-users are well advanced into communicating with citizens, informing, guiding during a crisis and even receiving input when requested. Others have just recently been introduced on social media platforms. This gap between different European states, regions and cities, de-evolves the importance of innovation in Europe and usage of those innovative solutions from public authorities.

Innovation, closing the gap from research to the market within the funding programs as well as competitiveness in international markets have been amongst the goals of the European Union (EU), since 2007 with Framework Program 7 (FP7) expanding to security challenges. For FP9, the budget for Security is amounting to 4.255 bl euro, in fact *1.8 upwards and Research, Innovation, Digital *1.6 from its previous budget[2]. Hence, putting money and effort to solidifying and improving Research and Innovation (R&I) actions for the usage of results by public authorities among others. But if innovation outpaces society’s capacity to follow up with new technology, how do we expect that public authorities would so rapidly adapt.

Today, Research and Innovation, Innovative Market Solutions and Social Media can distil the work of end-users but can also facilitate shift in criminal trends. With innovations related to AI, the Dark Web and advanced encryption software among others, criminal behaviour will shift since criminals adapt much faster than public authorities which is a core challenge for security.

Register to our event and share your perspective with us.

[1]2016 Law Enforcement Use of Social Media Survey, A Joint Publication by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Urban Institute, February 2017

[2]Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, The European Council, The Council, The European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions “A  Modern budget for a Union that Protects, Empowers and Defends, The Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027”, Brussels, 2.5.2018

Klaudia Tani



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