Custom Cybersecurity Platform Scours Social Media for Potential Threats During Super Bowl 50

Posted Feb 9, 2016

The terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris have prompted tech upgrades, including software provided as an application that public safety officials can use to send video, text and photos from their mobile phones.


(TNS) -- In the heart of Silicon Valley, the epicenter of resistance to U.S. spying on phone calls and Internet traffic, law enforcement has set up unprecedented digital surveillance to keep fans and revelers safe from terrorists and other mayhem around Super Bowl 50.

Dozens of federal, state and local agents are collecting data and images from street cameras, license plate readers, helicopters and mobile phones carried by police throughout the San Francisco Bay area. Ahead of Sunday’s game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, a custom cybersecurity platform is searching social media for keywords indicating threats and helping analysts assign risk scores to data.

It’s all making the big game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., one of the most closely scrutinized events on record, coming after the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris. The latter began at an international soccer match.

“Probably more people will attend the game and all of the Super Bowl related parties, venues and related activities than any previous Super Bowl,” said John Lightfoot, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Francisco division and the commander on scene. “For that reason it is a heavily guarded event.”

Shifts of about 40 law-enforcement and intelligence agents are working about 8 miles from the stadium in a makeshift command center set up like the cafeteria it once was.

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