Imagine a world in which everyone is a law enforcement official. A world where we are almost self-governing. A world where we work as a collective unit to make our society a safer place. This world may not be to far off…

A new U.S State Department program called “The Tag Challenge” is an experiment that is trying to discover whether the rise of social media can help make this world a reality. The Challenge’s premise is this:

Five jewel thieves have lifted the world’s 3rd most valuable diamond from a showroom in Washington, D.C., and split to the five different cities. The person or team who finds them and uploads all of their photographs will win $5,000, courtesy of the State Depatment. The contest was devised in part by J.R. Lara, a grad student at George Washington University, who attended a conference on trans-Atlantic security and social media, according to Danger Room. He wanted to test whether social media could actually result in actionable intelligence, he tells DR.

If this program is successful, we could see a type of law enforcement implemented in the future where Twitter, Facebook, Google Earth and other popular sites are used by average citizens to track down criminals. Wow.

With all new technology comes dilemmas. On one hand, a program like this could save the State Department a good deal of money if they are able to rely on citizens around the world to assist them. On the other hand, there is a definite risk of invasion of privacy. An expansion of this system could mean being watched, virtually or physically, every hour of every day.

Would you like to see a system like this implemented and expanded in the future?