The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) paid over $20,000 to help train local police officers in extracting “hidden” social media data, according to a report.
“A set of documents obtained by Motherboard through the Freedom of Information Act also show how the DEA funds training sessions for other law enforcement bodies, including local police, in order to ‘exploit’ social media,” reported Motherboard on Tuesday. “The DEA paid a company called Plessas Experts Network just over $20,000 to provide two training sessions in March and April last year, according to financial documents included in the released records.”
“The DEA wanted the contractor to provide instructions and tools to help law enforcement locate hidden information from social networking sites; teach attendees how to customize search tools (presumably including Google); and also help with “photo exploitation,” which may refer to things such as uncovering image metadata,” they continued.
A similar training program that took place shortly after boasted that “Students will be able to identify digital ‘footprints’ that users leave online and explore techniques to view websites without being identified,” hinting at the types of training local law enforcement received.
The full documents are currently available online.