Investigators Issue Open Call For Boston Marathon Spectator Data

Monday's twin blasts occurred at a time when more people than ever use social media. Authorities hope the photos and videos that bombarded the Internet in the moments following the attack will prove useful in their search.

What's the Latest Development?


Investigators looking into Monday's twin explosions at the Boston Marathon have taken the unusual step of issuing an open call for any photographic or video media captured by spectators before, during and after the event. Police commissioner Ed Davis says that even though they are collecting surveillance video from cameras already installed in the area, bystander data can provide a much wider range of angles and vantage points: "[We plan to ] go through every frame of every video we have to determine who was in the area."

What's the Big Idea?

As with any type of crowdsourcing, the potential amount of information collected could be unwieldy, but together with interviews from human eyewitnesses, it's hoped that the person or persons responsible will be located relatively quickly. According to Davis, the 12 blocks comprising the crime scene is the most complex his department has ever had to deal with. Importantly, while the data is being crowdsourced, the investigation itself is not: "A crowdsourced investigation runs a high risk of becoming a witchhunt, as [was seen] in the Newton shooting spree."

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