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The emerging role of new social media in enhancing public security

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MEDIA4SEC (The emerging role of new social media in enhancing public security)

Reporting period: 2017-10-01 to 2018-12-31

MEDI@4SEC focuses upon enhancing understanding of the opportunities, challenges and ethical consideration of social media use for public security: the good, the bad and the ugly. The good comprises using social media for problem solving, fighting crime, decreasing fear of crime and increasing the quality of life. The bad is the increase of digitised criminality and terrorism with new phenomena emerging through the use of social media. The ugly comprises the grey areas where trolling, cyberbullying, threats, or live video-sharing of tactical security operations are phenomena to deal with during incidents. Making use of the possibilities that social media offer, including
smart ‘work-arounds’ is key, while respecting privacy, legislation, and ethics. This changing situation raises a series of challenges and possibilities for public security planners. MEDI@4SEC will explore this through a series of communication and dissemination activities that engage extensively with a range of end-users to better understand the usage of social media for security activities. MEDI@4SEC will seek a better understanding of how social media can, and how social media cannot be used for public security purposes and highlight ethical, legal and data-protection- related issues and implications. Activities centre around six relevant themes: DIY Policing; Everyday security; Riots and mass gatherings: The dark web; Trolling; and Innovative market solutions. MEDI@4SEC will feed into, support and influence changes in policy-making and policy implementation in public security that can be used by end-users to improve their decision making. By structuring our understanding of the impact of social media on public security approaches in a user-friendly way MEDI@4SEC will provide an evidence-base and roadmap for better policymaking including: best practice reports; a catalogue of social media technologies; recommendations for EU standards; future training options; and, ethical awareness raising.
WP1 has provided a detailed understanding of the existing body of knowledge through a series of stocktaking and inventories on the influence of social media in public security planning and the potential threats and challenges this uptake brings about. The activities in this work package included an extensive review of published sources together with interviews with a series of key stakeholders in the field. The main findings from this work were a thematic review of the current state of the art (D1.1) an understanding of the various patterns of social media usage by actors in the field (D1.2) an inventory of key ethical and legal issues in the use and adoption of social media in public security (D1.3) and the development of a framework of analysis to be used and refined throughout the project (D1.4).
WP2 has further contributed to the knowledge base developed in WP1. A fine-grained user survey was conducted with experts to better understand stakeholders’ concerns and needs. The findings from this are published in D2.1. The focus of WP2 activity has been through the hosting of 3 dialogue workshops: DIY Policing (Workshop 1, Berlin (D2.3)) Riots and Mass Gatherings (Workshop 2, Athens (D2.4)) Policing the Dark Web (Workshop 3, The Hague (D2.5)) Social Media and Everyday Security (Workshop 4, Barcelona (D2.6)) Trolling & Online Hate (Workshop 5, London (D2.7)) and Innovative market Solutions (Workshop 6, Brussels (D2.8)). Alongside - and utilising information from – the workshops we have identified a range of existing technologies and solutions for the use of social media for public security and understanding the potential for future developments. This is available as a catalogue (D2.2 and available via the project website) which will be integrated within the wider work of DRIVER+.
Work in WP 3 has established the framework and tools to ensure our communication and dissemination activities maximise the benefit and impact of the MEDI@4SEC Project. A Communication and Dissemination Strategy and Plan was established through D3.1. This has been operationalised through a series of interlinked activities including the establishment and updating of the project website (D3.2) the creation of a LinkedIn group and Twitter profile and regular communication to the growing MEDI@4SEC community (D3.3). This work continued through the second half of the project, continuing to engage our MEDI@4SEC Community through evidence based dialogue and information exchange (D3.4). This Work Package has culminated with the publication of a future road map for the adoption and appropriate use of social media (D3.5) together with a framework syllabus for the development of training which will assist in its implementation (D3.6).
The activities in WP4 have supported work completed in WP1 and WP2. This has included a background analysis of the workshop topics and identification of ethicists and legal experts to invite to each of them and ethical advice on the qualitative research. Significantly, work in WP has reported on the ethical and legal dimensions of each of the themes discussed at the dialogue workshops (D4.1 to D4.6 inclusive). An overall summary of the critical ethical and legal issues identifying the main challenges moving forward was prepared to conclude this work (D4.7).
WP5 has been focussed on the effective and efficient management of the project. These include the organisation of consortium meetings to address progress, properly communicating with the EC and continuous monitoring of the project budget and assisting partners with budget and task allocation. WP main outputs include the submission of D5.1 D5.2 and D5.3 together with the organisation of and production of notes for GA/EB and WP meetings.
At the outset of the project, the state of the art was very rudimentary. In WP1 we developed this further by outlining the current uses or social media and in doing so we have exposed a range of critical questions and gaps. These have been explored in the policy dialogue workshops hosted throughout project and in or continued engagement with users the MEDI@4SEC Community through communication and dissemination activities such as blogs and local training and knowledge transfer events.

Through its activities MEDI@4SEC has had significant impact influencing policy and practice of public security planning, policing activities and the lives of citizens. We have met and gone beyond the impact challenges outlined in the original call text by advancing knowledge and understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of using social media in a range of contexts (DIY policing, riots and mass gathering, everyday policing, the dark web, trolling and innovative market solution) and developed a future roadmap of social media use for public security planners comprising directions for future training, standards, research agendas, technological developments, ethical and legal frameworks, and future recommendations for effective and acceptable social media use.
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