MEDI@4SEC – The emerging role of new social media in enhancing public security

Media4sec_logoSocial media is omnipresent and has become a powerful mechanism driving social, economic and organisational change. New and emerging forms of social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and other platforms) are open, distributed, digital communication platforms that enable people and social networks to create and share information and ideas. But it also has a dark side, where those outside the law have found new ways to organise and commit criminal acts, sometimes transnationally, while remaining (relatively) anonymous.

MEDI@4SEC focuses upon enhancing understanding of the opportunities, challenges and ethical consideration of social media use for public security purposes: the good, the bad and the ugly. The good comprises people, businesses and government using social media for problem solving, fighting crime, decreasing fear of crime and increasing security and the quality of life. The bad is the increase of digitised criminality and terrorism with new phenomena emerging through the usage of social media. The ugly comprises the grey areas where trolling, cyberbullying, threats, or live video-sharing of tactical security operations are phenomena to deal with during incidents. Making use of the possibilities that social media offer, including smart ‘work-arounds’ to prevent threats from ugly to bad situations, is key while respecting privacy, legislation, and ethics.

Efus is a partner of this project through which it wishes to draw attention on local authorities’ needs and expectations in this area so that adequate research may be conducted.

Aims and objectives
Local events

Aims and objectives

  • to define the nature and extent of influence of social media in the different public
    security domains;
  • to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) for Social Media
    in different public security domains;
  • through dissemination and communication, to ensure that the project results will be utilised by end- users beyond the project.


Through a range of communication and dissemination activities, MEDI@4SEC will create a future vision for the role of social media in law enforcement and public security planning, not only for communication purposes and as a listening platform, but also as a collaboration platform – a digital realm where policing and crime prevention can be done in new ways with new types of (digital and real world) interventions. The evolution being brought about by social media has tremendous implications for organisational transformation, but also for society as it prompts re-evaluation of ethical principles and legal and data protection protocols.


University of Warwick (UK) (leader)
Fraunhofer IAO (DE)
Utrecht University (NL)
XLAB Research (SI)
Northern Ireland Police (IE)
Valencia Local Police (ES)


MEDI@4SEC began on 1st July 2016 and will run for 30 months.

Local events

The recent massive increase in social media use has drastically transformed people’s communication and information habits, providing authorities with new types of data and platforms for communication. These platforms provide other means of understanding the complex problems faced by local security actors.

Efus, in the framework of the Medi@4sec project, organizes four events in four European cities.

Their objectives are to:

  • raise awareness among Efus Network members about the opportunities and challenges of using social media in urban security
  • share experiences with other actors/stakeholders on the use of social media for security purposes specifically at the local level
  • explore the needs and priorities of local authorities and other local security actors for whom social media can be useful

These local events will focus on major themes:

  • the use of social media in urban security: Riots & Mass Gatherings
  • social media for local police, in a community policing approach
  • security threats that are emerging from social media (cyberbullying, cyberhate, cyberstalking, cyberharassment, sextortion)
  • the use of social media for the benefit of urban security policies


For more information, please visit

Flag_of_Europe.svgMEDI@4SEC is funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union.