Thursday, April 18, 2013

Crowdsourcing the Boston Bombing Investigation

An article in today's Boston Globe explains how the FBI and other criminal investigators are calling on those who were at the Marathon, near the finish line, to share their photos and videos.  Not only that, but because they are getting thousands of images to sift through, they are also asking the public's help in looking at the images. 

Photos and video clips are being uploaded to 4chan's where visitors can scan them looking for suspicious images.  There is then a Reddit newsgroup, Find Boston Bombers forum, is also active in sorting images. The hosts of the Reddit group were aware of concerns that innocent people captured in these photos could be wrongly targeted, or that there could be vigilante justice.  They said that any clues marked by interested members are being forwarded as tips to federal investigators.

On the day of the bombing, early news reports mentioned both the FBI and ATF as turning up for the investigation.  There are, of course, lots of local police and state troopers involved. The Boston Firefighters and Police Unions have together offered a $50,000 award for information leading to an arrest.

The response of the public, in support of Boston and the Marathon has been truly heartwarming. The New York Yankees, Boston's baseball archrival, displayed a banner in unity with Boston and played the Boston theme song Sweet Caroline at the game yesterday.  The organizers of the London Marathon announced that they would not cancel their race, but hold it in tribute to the victims of the Boston Bombing. And the Colbert Report opened and the Daily Show last night with a tribute to the city of Boston. And today, there is an interfaith service at the Boston Cathedral of the Holy Cross. President Obama is scheduled to attend.  The service will be broadcast here at 11 AM Thursday, April 18.

The image decorating this post is courtesy of CBC Canada.

1 comment:

Betsy McKenzie said...

Just an update to this post. The crowd-sourcing must have worked to the extent that law enforcement were able to identify the suspects of the Boston Bombing case. However, the Globe ran a short article about a teenager who had nothing to do with the Bombing, who was wrongly tied to the case on both the Internet and in the New York Post newspaper. He is now afraid to leave home or attend his high school, at least until the bombers were apprehended. The first was killed in a shoot-out with police, and the second suspect was taken into custody in the early hours of April 20. I hope this teenager can now feel safer.