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Why security should monitor social media to prevent violence

David Geer | Feb. 19, 2014
Behaviour on social media can offer clues to potential threats of violence against an organisation and its employees. Here are some tips for why and how security managers can keep an eye on social media to mitigate future problems.

Information security and perhaps external law enforcement will have to collaborate to discover the identity of a person posting an anonymous threat on social media. The information security group is accustomed to dealing with the social media aspect and can look into technical evidence pointing to the perpetrator. The police now have tools for tying social comments to real world crime including LexisNexis' new Social Media Monitor.

The prosecutor can ask the judge for a criminal protective order prohibiting the offender from contacting or coming within 300-feet of the intended victim. And violation of these court orders is a crime. "Prosecutors love violations of court order crimes," says Flores. All the person or the enterprise needs is a court order and evidence that the offender is making contact or coming within 300 feet. If the victim can produce a photo of the person 20 feet away, then the prosecutor picks up the phone. "The police go to the defendants house, cuff him and throw him in jail until the hearing," says Flores.

Steps for in-house counsel
Unprepared victims often limit police and prosecutors. In-house counsel should keep meticulous records on the particular defendant and their conduct, according to Flores. "If the intended victim needs psychiatric help or they need Xanax because they're so panicked about this person, those damages might be recoverable from that defendant," says Flores. So in-house counsel should keep close records.

In-house counsel should maintain a very good relationship with the watch commander of local law enforcement. "When you call, be very nice, work with your detective, when the detective calls, pick up the phone right then," says Flores. The police are often very busy and when compared with corporate threats that are not yet realized, armed robberies will take precedence.

"I would keep a good relationship with a local investigator as well. Private investigators are often retired detectives and are phenomenal at what they do," says Flores.


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