The Boston Bomber
Credit: David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe / Getty Images

The FBI asked for assistance, but the crowdsourced search for the Boston Bomber turned into more of a vigilante effort than they expected when it very publicly pointed to high-school sophomore Salah Barhoun and nearly a dozen other innocents as suspects. Critics of crowdsourcing point out people have a hard time with a passive role – which can lead to misidentification and the circumvention of official operations. Using a search platform like Tomnod, which can double-check crowdsourced finds, collate them, and then pass them along to authorities may be one answer to more accurate searches. Another is to make sure the agencies actually want (and can use) all the information that comes in.