This Is the Modern Manhunt: The FBI, the Hive Mind and the Boston Bombers

Red Eft

Former Staff
May 2007
8,067
3,168
...............
#1
In an earlier era, law enforcement might not have identified the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing so rapidly.
When the smoke literally cleared on Monday, investigators had a huge problem and nearly no leads. No individual or organization claimed responsibility for the bombings that killed three and wounded more than 180. So they took a big leap: They copped to how little they knew, and embraced the wisdom of The Crowd.

Hiding in plain sight was an ocean of data, from torrents of photography to cell-tower information to locals’ memories, waiting to be exploited. Police, FBI, and the other investigators opted to let spectator surveillance supplement and augment their own. When they called for that imagery, locals flooded it in. They spoke to the public frequently, both in person and especially on Twitter. All that represented a modern twist on the age-old law enforcement maxim that the public’s eyes and ears are crucial investigative assets, as the Internet rapidly compressed the time it took for tips to arrive and get analyzed.


But the FBI and police have been reluctant to embrace what the hive mind can provide: it implies the authorities don’t always have the answers. Veteran law enforcement officers remember cases from the ’90s when the bureau clammed up to the public and local cops, at the expense of receiving greater public cooperation. “If law enforcement didn’t share any information — [as with bombers] Terry Nichols, Ted Kaczynski — if your intel is shared with no one, that is the consummate investigative challenge,” says Mike Rolince, a retired FBI special agent who set up Boston’s first Joint Terrorism Task Force.
.....


There was another element to the modern manhunt: the Boston Police’s social media presence.

All through the week, the @Boston_Police Twitter account has provided surprisingly rapid factual information about the manhunt. Yael Bar-Tur, a social media and law-enforcement consultant, says Boston bucked a trend among cop shops to shy away from the unfamiliar terrain of Twitter and Facebook. “It’s so unusual for police departments to do this,” she says.


This Is the Modern Manhunt: The FBI, the Hive Mind and the Boston Bombers | Danger Room | Wired.com


Just another story about this whole Boston thing that I thought was interesting.
 
Likes: 4 people
Jan 2008
32,903
9,708
Vertiform City
#2
The "hive mind". Interesting take.

I don't think there's any such thing. What I think there is, is people who believe in things they don't understand.
 

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
27,270
19,999
.
#3
Crowd sourcing is very hive-mind like, even if they didn't know it at the time of video / picture taking.

Hell even 4Chan took a very healthy stab at it and they are troll-extraordinaires.
 
Likes: 1 person
Jan 2008
32,903
9,708
Vertiform City
#4
Crowd sourcing is very hive-mind like, even if they didn't know it at the time of video / picture taking.

Hell even 4Chan took a very healthy stab at it and they are troll-extraordinaires.
Hm. I dunno johnflesh, I'm having difficulty grasping that concept.

I mean, like, when an "event of interest" happens in politics, people sometimes "glom onto it", right? But I wouldn't call that "engaging the hive mind", I'd call it having lots of independent eyes on the events of interest.

In fact, a "hive" mentality is exactly the opposite of what's needed in such cases, isn't it?

Don't we want more like the "scientific" thing, where you've got hundreds of different eyes/opinions/models looking at the same events from different angles, trying to make sense of them?

I kinda see the analogy of the hive (kinda like the Borg or whatnot), but I mean, isn't just a leeetle bit inaccurate in this context? What do you think?
 

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
27,270
19,999
.
#5
Hm. I dunno johnflesh, I'm having difficulty grasping that concept.

I mean, like, when an "event of interest" happens in politics, people sometimes "glom onto it", right? But I wouldn't call that "engaging the hive mind", I'd call it having lots of independent eyes on the events of interest.

In fact, a "hive" mentality is exactly the opposite of what's needed in such cases, isn't it?

Don't we want more like the "scientific" thing, where you've got hundreds of different eyes/opinions/models looking at the same events from different angles, trying to make sense of them?

I kinda see the analogy of the hive (kinda like the Borg or whatnot), but I mean, isn't just a leeetle bit inaccurate in this context? What do you think?
Not enough to be consequential. We can call it anything you want.

The hive would be more or less the data, not the people. Data collection has shown to have a nature of it's own.