For the past few years, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been keeping tabs on the
system of tubes internetz. The rather lengthy explanation provided doesn’t ever seem to explain precisely why they would be interested in this eclectic list of reading material, but I suppose everyone needs a hobby.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s command center routinely monitors dozens of popular websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, WikiLeaks and news and gossip sites including the Huffington Post and Drudge Report, according to a government document.
A “privacy compliance review” issued by DHS last November says that since at least June 2010, its national operations center has been operating a “Social Networking/Media Capability” which involves regular monitoring of “publicly available online forums, blogs, public websites and message boards.”
The purpose of the monitoring, says the government document, is to “collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture.”
Among other “controversial sites” listed are, ABC News’ investigative blog “The Blotter;”; blogs that cover bird flu; websites that follow wildfires; Threat Level; Danger Room; JihadWatch and Informed Comment.
This raises a few questions, starting with… how do I get a job doing this at DHS? I mean, that’s pretty much what I do all day long anyway, and if they’re willing to pay me for it.. Well, just saying.
Second, how did Hot Air not make the list? What, we’re not “controversial” enough? Did you SEE the explosive expose I did on Twinkies this weekend? Pretty racy stuff if you ask me.
Look, before any privacy advocates start setting their hair on fire, I fail to see how this is even an issue. This isn’t a revelation of the government prying into your personal e-mail or tapping your phones. If you’re going to go around tweeting every single thing you do and posting about it in detail on your public blog, people are going to read it. And that may very well include the government. And I can see why security agencies would be interested. These days, stories break faster and get fleshed out more fully in social media streams than they do on cable TV. There are only “x” number of reporters to cover everything everywhere, but bloggers and tweeters and Facebook reporters cover the entire planet and their camera phones never sleep.
Bonus: This breaking news actually broke two years ago.