Posts tagged ‘public information’

Twitter Attack Raises Security Concerns for Government and Citizens

Many government agencies are now using social networking sites in order to keep the public informed. Police departments send out event reminders, crime prevention tips, as well as crime information. Fire departments and local municipalities also send out public safety information, including emergency alerts and highway closures. When Twitter and other social networking sites were attacked yesterday, the flow of information was interrupted as users experienced site closures and massive slowdowns and timeouts of service.

The use of these sites as public information conduits has been very beneficial to community members across the US, and an interruption of the service highlighted a concern that many government IT professionals have expressed in the past—that public social networking sites pose some new and complex security issues for government and citizens.

Not only can the flow of data be interrupted, but identity and hacking concerns have come into play. The Twitter accounts of Bill O’Reilly, Brittany Spears, and Barack Obama, among others have been hacked in the past. As well, an impostor created a Twitter page for the Austin Police Department and had 450 followers before users discovered that the profile owner was not the actual Austin Police Department.

This is not to say that Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites should not be used by government agencies and individuals. On the contrary, these sites have been immensely useful and are facilitating the President’s call for greater transparency and data sharing in government. But government agencies, either through technological or policy changes, need to begin to address these issues, and citizens need to understand the issues behind the security concerns. If we want to continue benefiting from these amazing technologies, we will need to address these concerns before they become a larger problem.


Get on the map at

Bookmark and Share

August 7, 2009 at 2:00 pm 2 comments

Mapping Keeps Kids Away From Crime

Usually, here at the Neighborhood Crime Map, we’re talking about ways to provide citizens with easy access to crime prevention resources and crime data; however, in New Orleans, an initiative funded by the Afterschool Partnership has the goal to create maps that will keep kids out of trouble during the long hot summer months when they are out of school.

The maps will focus on providing information to kids and parents on the location of parks, community centers, and other places in the city that will keeps kids busy and out of trouble. Their hope is that this resource will provide youth with productive alternatives to just hanging out and will hopefully reduce crime for the summer months.


Search crime in your neighborhood at

June 25, 2009 at 12:08 pm Leave a comment



The views expressed in this blog are those of the individual contributing bloggers and may not necessarily reflect the official or actual opinions of CrimeReports, its parent company Public Engines, or any of its employees.


Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.

Recent Posts