Government starts tracking blogs

The government’s Central Office of Information (COI) is creating a blog monitoring utility that will track hot debates on government policy and forward them to relevant departments.

The tool, developed by the COI’s Media Monitoring Unit (MMU), will use software created by internet intelligence company 23 Ltd, which automatically monitors the internet for blogs attracting a large amount of debate and flags those with enough posts.

The flagged threads are then forwarded to an analyst who assesses the worth of the thread, the positives and negatives, and repackages it into a useable briefing for the official on the other end of the service.

Around 100 blogs will be monitored initially covering a range of issues from pensioners to counter terrorism, with the hope being that the service will eventually feature a series of daily alerts for subscribing members.

“What we’re trying to do is provide a service on a more organised and widespread basis,” says MMU director David Mitchell. “We looked at an online debate among pensioners in a recent budget. The debate looked at how the budget impinged on pensioners, their council tax payments, winter fuel allowances and so on.”

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