POSTED: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 10:34pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 12:47pm
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — The El Paso County Sheriffs Office is feeling heat after announcing plans to buy software that monitors social media to find people who are committing crimes.
Some say this proposed monitoring invades their privacy, but the Sheriff said this has been blown out of proportion.
It's software that's not cheap. It costs about about $10,000. The Sheriffs Office has applied for a grant that would pay for about a third of it.
Commissioners court must first approve the purchase before the software can be used and it's creating quite a stir in the community, as some say it's a violation of their privacy.
"We're not targeting anybody," said Deputy Jesse Tovar. "We're not spying on anybody. If anybody does not put their settings at private and displays them to be public, that's what we'll be able to see".
Software like the kind they're trying to buy helped out law enforcement during disasters like Sandy Hook ...and the Boston Marathon bombings.
"It would be no different from randomly searching people in the streets," said UTEP student Alexander Roldan. "They have no probable cause. What's the initial justification for granting the monitoring?".
Others see that while an inconvenience, it's for the greater good.
"I don't like it, because it is a violation of our privacy and I don't like the fact knowing that our government is out there watching our sayings and messages, but I can recognize why they do it and the need for it at times," said UTEP student Adrian Sobrino.
"We're not going to be hacking into somebody's account," Deputy Tovar said.
They say they'll only be used on the people who publicly post about crimes.
"Everybody knows that one individual that posts something or knows someone that posts something that says 'Hey look what I smoked today',.
Whether you like it or not, soon EPCSO could be watching you.