The US department of Homeland Security has commissioned a one-year contract to investigate the efficacy of using social networks to identify instances of bioterrorism, pandemics and other health and security risks.
It is paying Accenture Federal Services $3 million (£1.8 million) to scan the networks' for key words in real time to see if growing threats or health trends can be distinguished. So if an individual flags up a nasty cough in a Facebook update, for instance, the software will be looking to see if key medical terminology is repeated in connected groups or from other individuals posting from the same location.
Source: Wired UK. Read full article. (link)