Despite reassurances, Met police already monitors social media

Although the Met’s boss has moved to downplay social media monitoring by the police, a consultation will look into creating a dedicated unit.

Tim Godwin, acting Met commissioner, spoke at a recent Home Affairs select committee meeting about the role of social media. Highlighting the importance of social media for the Met itself, he was quick to downplay suggestions that the police force is building extensive files on members of the public, as was highlighted by ZDNet UK.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz even joked with the Met boss about building files on MPs, as you see in a video of the meeting, here.

Godwin downplayed using social media monitoring to root out illegal behaviour, attempting to reassuring the committee that this is not the case.

Of course, such tactics were used by the police to apprehend two young men who received lengthy jail sentences after posting crap jokes on Facebook.

TechEye talked to the Met and heard that it is actively looking into monitoring social media.

When asked about setting up a unit to monitor social media networks, TechEye heard “one stream of the review both we and the HMIC recognise is the need to improve our capacity in this area and this is one solution we are considering.”

As to current operational methods we were told that the Met can’t comment.

But one of our sources at the Met told us it’s likely that social media monitoring has happened in the past and that using monitoring cannot be ruled out in the future.