Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Tweeting Danger": Open sourced intelligence on cartels happening with or without law enforcement

The part of the headline in quote marks is the title to a Texas Observer story about social media filling in gaps in MSM reporting on the Mexican drug war because of cartel murders and intimidation of journalists, with texted photos and brief, tweeted descriptions often the main sources of news coverage. I find these developments especially notable because they complement suggestions I've offered previously for incorporating social media into "open sourced" intelligence, where the state facilitates information sharing instead of thwarts it and encourages average citizens to contribute information through (secure) social media venues.

As such, I was particularly pleased to learn of this site (privately operated, Spanish language) compiling grass-roots contributions with links to MSM accounts of the cartel wars all in a single spot. If this Mexican 27-year old college student is willing to put his life on the line to do this of his own accord, surely the rewards are worth the risks for criminal law enforcement. What's more, some MSM reporters might be willing to anonymously contribute pieces via social media to a secure site when they're too afraid to publish under their own byline.

If nothing else, there's a vested interest in translating news about Mexican drug violence and politics for an English speaking audiences in the United States, hopefully contributing to a greater understanding of exactly what's happening on the ground. That's not happening now. The social media model could be successfully built upon to protect reporters on the front lines and fill in the news gap caused by MSM reporters who've been intimidated or killed by cartel thugs.

See related Grits posts:

1 comment:

Hoof said...

Pretty cool information, Scott. I think we'll check some angles on it. And thanks for always providing a perspective, even if we disagree.