The Biden administration is about to sign a contract with Dataminr – a licensing deal for the company’s product that is used in the monitoring of social media.
This is revealed in documents published by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) which will buy 30 licenses to deploy Dataminr’s First Alert V2, designed for the public sector and the scouring of 200,000 online sources and data mining, then compiling real-time news alerts for the White House, and other clients.
Dataminr is a popular tool used by news desks and others that want to monitor the internet and it’s easy to see why it would be useful to the government. Portions of the press show an unfavorable attitude towards Dataminr because it was used by police in many cities, including New York and Los Angeles, to monitor the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests and riots.
US Defense Department’s non-civilian employees already use Dataminr’s services thanks to a 2021 contract signed with the Air Force.
DISA said in June it had no plans to directly or in another way “involve” Twitter as a subcontractor. In August, this agency that handles the White House communications said it needed a contract (with Dataminr) of its own because civilians it employs cannot utilize mass surveillance of social media through that Air Force deal.
New York-based Dataminr, which is also known for its work as one of Twitter’s official partners and bills itself as an AI company, has been awarded the contract but the details, such as its duration and the overall cost of licensing have not been announced.
Meanwhile, it is speculated that Dataminr was chosen by the US administration precisely for its association with Twitter, as DISA spelled it out in the document explaining the choice of the vendor by saying it must be a certified Twitter partner.