Government and government offices have gradually understood the importance of having a grip over social media. Having a social media presence and keeping an eye on online conversations is the need that seems to be now acknowledged by the Mumbai Police. As reported by the Indian Express, Mumbai Police inaugurated its “Social Media Lab” over the weekend, with the aim to keep tabs on the sentiments and activities happening on social media.
With the inauguration of such a lab, Mumbai Police arguably becomes the first one to do so in India. The lab which has been set up in association with Reliance Foundation and NASSCOM has been created with an aim to have proactive policing and to have better intelligence gathering since information spreads faster on social media. 20 trained policemen would be working in shifts and their major task would be constantly monitoring content on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. To monitor such huge data, the lab will be using special trawling software, which would sit on social media and pull out content that could be troublesome.
Talking at the occasion, Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh clarified that today it is important to keep a check on what people are saying on social media. The trained staff would be monitoring content and whenever they come across objectionable content they would inform the cyber cell of Mumbai to take it further. However, he was quick to clarify that the initiative is to make the police force better equipped with changing times and has no intention to invade someone’s privacy. The monitoring of content will only happen in public domain. The inauguration was attended by Rajan Luthra from the Reliance Foundation, Rajiv Vaishnav, Vice President, NASSCOM, cyber expert Vijay Mukhi and actor Abhishek Bachchan.
Earlier in the month of January, we had shared that the Crime branch of Mumbai was planning to start such an initiative and with this launch the police department is all set to carry out the monitoring process. The department became more serious with social media after its failure to handle the Palgarh case that took place last year where two girls were arrested for their Facebook posts.
Monitoring social media is the key but along with that Mumbai Police should also seriously brainstorm on having a responsive mechanism via social media. I did a small search but failed to find any active presence by Mumbai Police on Facebook. Along with monitoring, Mumbai Police should spend some time trolling the Bangalore Police social media presence and take inputs on the proactive initiatives being carried out constantly.
Mumbaikars will now have to think before they tweet. What do you think?