The FBI is planning to use "publicly available" information on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks in a bid to fight national and international threats.

In a Request for Information (RFI) that was published earlier this month, the US authority is asking for developers to put forward potential solutions for a "social media alert, mapping and analysis application solution" that can be used by the FBI's strategic information and operations Center (SIOC)

Furthermore, the solution must use "mash-up technology" ensuring the FBI will be able to assemble all the information in one place and overlay it on mapping service such as Google Maps to easily identify the location of emerging threats

"Social media has become a primary source of intelligence because it has become the premier first response to key events and the primal alert to possible developing situations," the FBI said in the RFI

However, Privacy International told the BBC, the software could see innocent web users being snooped on.

"Social networks are about connecting people with other people - if one person is the target of police monitoring, there will be a dragnet effect in which dozens, even hundreds, of innocent users also come under surveillance," said Gus Hosein, the group's executive director.

"It is not necessarily the case that the more information law enforcement officers have, the safer we will be. Police may well find themselves overwhelmed by a flood of personal information, information that is precious to those it concerns but useless for the purposes of crime prevention."