Proposal to monitor social media posts in 5-county area pulled by judge

Published On: Jun 12 2013 12:32:33 PM CDT

A five-county security initiative proposal to develop software to monitor social media posts about breaking news was struck down by a judge.

The Fort Bend County Commissioners Court first discussed the "social media intelligence gathering software" project last month and the proposal was scheduled to be on the court's agenda Tuesday when County Judge Bob Hebert pulled it.

Judge Hebert said he decided to remove the proposal because of questions about a potential invasion of privacy. He added that the concerns were magnified given the recent news stories about the federal government's surveillance program to collect information on private citizens' phones and emails.

The regions involved were Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris and Montgomery counties.

Fort Bend County's emergency management coordinator said the $120,000 grant required the money to be spent by the end of August, and that the proposal was unlikely to be put back on the court's agenda in time to meet that deadline.

According to officials involved, the software was designed to analyze information that is already available online.


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