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Belgian spooks get social media search robot

The Belgian intelligence services have purchased a powerful search robot that will be able to target and filter important information from social media sites Facebook and Twitter.  The software will become operational very soon.

It was in August 2016 that the Belgian cabinet gave the go ahead for the purchase and two years on the Belgian intelligence services are poised to use it for a first time.  The programme will be initiated in several stages.

Using algorithms this automated tool will collect and process data online.  Searches will involve both terrorism and espionage cases.  Ingrid Van Daele, spokeswoman for the Belgian secret service: "E.g. we will search Facebook for one week looking for claims with regard to an attack.  We can set the period of the search!"

The software costs 20 million euros, but many believe this is money well spent.  The price includes search robot maintenance.  The three security services will employ the tool: the secret service, the army's intel service and Belgium's federal police.