Big Brother is watching… Twitter?

posted at 12:45 pm on January 12, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

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.


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No fair! I want to be watched!

Some sites get all the voyeurs.

Logus on January 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Hot Gas apparently not controversial enough

That’s just what they want you to think.

cozmo on January 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Oh believe me…Hot Air is being watched.
They sent some of their people in here!

KOOLAID2 on January 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Janet Incompetano is watching everyone who is an enemy of the State. Which includes everyone who won’t vote for Obama or for democrats.

wildcat72 on January 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Hey Jazz I have to ask is Jazz your real first name or a nickname

gerrym51 on January 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Look at me! look at me!

borntoraisehogs on January 12, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Put the framework in place, then test it.

They look for traffic patterns after a event like the FL SS office lockdown with full auto weapons and attack dogs.

No feedback, so goto the next part of the plan.

Kinda like the wolves watching all the sheep in a pen, only on a larger scale.

orbitalair on January 12, 2012 at 12:53 PM

It seems HotGas needs more comments about Red Dawn survivalist fantasies, maybe add in a few topics that discuss sniper rifles or something like that.

If AP hadn’t spent so much time marginalizing and suppressing all us Apocalypse types, HotGas would make the government watchlist.

Bring back Holger!

Bishop on January 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Turns out this story is 2 years old and amounts to normal web browsing. Should DHS officials be barred from browsing the web?

And even if they are “monitoring” public sites looking for visits, so what? It still amounts to browsing. It is like accusing them of “monitoring” the NYT or WSJ because they have subscriptions to those publications.

NotCoach on January 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM

I have a decent stockpile of .30-06 for my M1 Garand as well as a decent store of MRE’s and freeze dried foods. Will that do?

wildcat72 on January 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM

So when do the jackboots and full-length black leather coats get issued to go along with the TSA paramilitary uniforms and the Homeland Security VIPR team swat gear?

kens on January 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Turns out this story is 2 years old and amounts to normal web browsing. Should DHS officials be barred from browsing the web?

NotCoach on January 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Yes. If we the taxpayers are PAYING them to do it.

wildcat72 on January 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Bonus: This breaking news actually broke two years ago.

Beat me to the punch…

NotCoach on January 12, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Jazz:

Your just not enough of a dem partisan hack.

Using government money to monitor public opinion and fine tune their BS is what this is. You think DWS has the brains to come up with anything new herself??

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Geez, why didn’t HotGas say so!? I could offend the people
who are perputually offended…..if that doesn’t do it, I can
fill my sentences with these characters:

*%&@***!!!!!!

ToddPA on January 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM

wildcat72 on January 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Different issue. DHS may have a legitimate reason for monitoring the news. And since they actually released a report about web browsing, I assume they think they do.

NotCoach on January 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM

I have a decent stockpile of .30-06 for my M1 Garand as well as a decent store of MRE’s and freeze dried foods. Will that do?

wildcat72 on January 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Make sure to install an aftermarket gas plug if that 30-06 isn’t mil-spec. Keep it to 180 grains or less.

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Reminds me of when my buddies and I used to talk on the phone with each other and would randomly insert terms that we knew were “hot button” words. Then we might say something like, “Hello NSA!”

When you’re young and dumb.

Heh, now my friend gets hassled enough by the TSA and probably HS that it’s not worth it for him to intentionally mess around. He’s getting his PhD in explosives engineering… so his clothes (especially his boots) make sniffers go bonkers.

Logus on January 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM

A dose of Jihad Watch or as good,http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/,
would be good for these clueless dolts.

pat on January 12, 2012 at 1:02 PM

I have known AllanPundit for many years. It was some intertube cruelty and hackers that affixed the Islamically insensitive and blasphemous tag “AllahPundit”. I have never seen him express Islamophobia. He is only guilty of addiction to politics. And there the addiction is junkie like. Otherwise on HotGas it is already illegal on the blog to say certain words that might offend, so adding Is*** and Mu***** to the list will pose no problems. Hillarys public shaming surge is unwarranted here.

BL@KBIRD on January 12, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Speaking of Twits

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/01/michelle-obama-joins-twitter/

Del Dolemonte on January 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Different issue. DHS may have a legitimate reason for monitoring the news. And since they actually released a report about web browsing, I assume they think they do.

NotCoach on January 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM

The CIA has a legitimate purpose too, but it didn’t keep them from sticking it to Bush with that dumb “intelligence” estimate..

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Shouldn’t Homeland Security be interested in gun trafficking?

(that little beep sound you’re hearing on your cell phone is HS doing their job Mr. Holder)

Rovin on January 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

“Just what do you think you’re doing, Jazz? Jazz, I really think I’m entitled to an answer to that question.” – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s command center

forest on January 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

“The purpose of the monitoring, says the government document, is to “collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture.”

OK, you asked for it…

… Right Spathi?

Seven Percent Solution on January 12, 2012 at 1:04 PM

OT: just watching one of the lsm channels, and there is no outrage towards obama and panetta re: the marines ‘urinating’ on corpses….

remember the 24.7 outrage towards W and Rummy during abhu graib(sp)?

good times

cmsinaz on January 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

I don’t know about Hot gas being ignored. Maybe Homeland Security sent over libforlife to infiltrate… Nah, he’s too stupid even for them…

sandee on January 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

I absolutely refuse to fly because I WILL NOT submit to a TSA grope-down OR being irradiated by their porno scanners.

And if they try the same nonsense on the highways I will refuse to submit. “Because you are there” does NOT rise to the level of probable cause mentioned in the 4th Amendment. And as a non commercial driver I don’t have to have any kind of federal license to travel the highways. Therefore, I do not believe myself to be subject to any mandatory TSA VIPR checkpoint or anything else done by the federal government.

wildcat72 on January 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Hot Gas apparently not controversial enough

Of course they are watching! The thing is, you don’t actually tell someone you’re, like, watching them because they then know that you’re actually watching them.

You tell them you’re watching someone else so they don’t know that you’re reall ….. hey! Who are you? Get out of here. Why are in my offi

Rod on January 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

“The purpose of the monitoring, says the government document, is to “collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture.”

This gibberish answer is obviously designed to conceal and evade rather than explain their purpose. So….why are they creating this database and what do they intend to do with it?

tommyboy on January 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Big Sis et al seem unclear on the concept of vigilance especially when selecting the targets to snoop on.

jangle12 on January 12, 2012 at 1:08 PM

“Just what do you think you’re doing, Jazz? Jazz, I really think I’m entitled to an answer to that question.” – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s command center

forest on January 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Nice reference to the lead photo!
Is that a HAL DHS-9000?

freedomfirst on January 12, 2012 at 1:09 PM

The CIA has a legitimate purpose too, but it didn’t keep them from sticking it to Bush with that dumb “intelligence” estimate..

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Incompetence and corruption are certainly an issue. But if we are going to criticize DHS over this, privacy is not the way to go.

NotCoach on January 12, 2012 at 1:09 PM

This gibberish answer is obviously designed to conceal and evade rather than explain their purpose. So….why are they creating this database and what do they intend to do with it?

tommyboy on January 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Read it with their morning coffee?

NotCoach on January 12, 2012 at 1:12 PM

“The purpose of the monitoring, says the government document, is to “collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture.”

…and over the office bulkhead in the DHS office, you can hear:

“Ow Charlwey! Ow! Owww! That hwurt, Charlwey! OWWWW!”

Just letting everyone know how their taxdollars are put to work….

Turtle317 on January 12, 2012 at 1:13 PM

If DHS is as good at monitoring the internet as they are doing everything else we have nothing to worry about.

fogw on January 12, 2012 at 1:13 PM

There are actual legit reasons for this. When school shootings and such happen, one of the first places people check for info is Twitter. Remember the guy in Pakistan who live tweeted the attack on Osama Bin Laden’s compound? He did not know exactly what was going on, but he was one of the first in the world to know *something* was going on.

AngusMc on January 12, 2012 at 1:16 PM

It would take more Michelle and/or Mohammed jokes in Hot Air to get on the Big Brother watch list.

albill on January 12, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Plus, I’m sure some westernized jihadists are dumb ehough to use facebook and twitter to communicate with their cells, and quite possibly post thoughts and comments that could indicate jihadist intentions.

timbok on January 12, 2012 at 1:21 PM

I’m just glad Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Palin and Perry read this site. Oh, and Andy Levy.

John the Libertarian on January 12, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Pssst…..Hey Buddy…Habib….Wanna buy some grenades…uh…how ’bout some ‘splosives….Plastic stuff…. in the shape of little pink piglets…OK! OK!….nevermind…I got some AK 47′s, too….Uh…it’s OK…we’re safe here on Hot Gas…cell phones, I got cell phones….untraceable…watches….K_Y jelly, goat flavored…..Buddy, Habib….I got it all…one stop…Quick, quick and you’re outta here….cash ‘n kerry….Heh Heh..

b4lucy on January 12, 2012 at 1:23 PM

How do I get my photography blog added to the DHS list of sites? I could use the traffic and potential sales!

BRunner on January 12, 2012 at 1:23 PM

It’s called open source intel. Every operations floor for I’ve worked on for the Air Force has one monitor/display with a news feed of some kind right next to the tracking displays.

Tremor on January 12, 2012 at 1:26 PM

I like the picture of what is going on with the big bro thing on Savage! It reminds me of 1984 as how I had big bro in my mind!

http://www.michaelsavage.wnd.com/
L

letget on January 12, 2012 at 1:27 PM

gerrym51 on January 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM

It’s a nickname. Most people have trouble spelling Jaspercornelian. (My parents were hippies)

Jazz Shaw on January 12, 2012 at 1:36 PM

I absolutely refuse to fly because I WILL NOT submit to a TSA grope-down OR being irradiated by their porno scanners.

wildcat72 on January 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Personally, just being the sicko I am, I just grin broadly at the TSA starlet who’s irradiating my junk just so I can get a “rise” out of someone… but you are right. It isn’t that dam*ed hard to spot someone who wants to commit a terrorist act. Just ask Jethro.

Turtle317 on January 12, 2012 at 1:36 PM

<blockquoteIncompetence and corruption are certainly an issue. But if we are going to criticize DHS over this, privacy is not the way to go.

NotCoach on January 12, 2012 at 1:09 PM

I am not so concerned with the privacy side of it. Heck, I am putting what I type into the public ether anyway. I just don’t want taxpayer dollars used for democratic strategists.

>

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 1:38 PM

It’s a nickname. Most people have trouble spelling Jaspercornelian. (My parents were hippies)

Jazz Shaw on January 12, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Lol…sorry to hear that.

NotCoach on January 12, 2012 at 1:39 PM

ATTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATCH!!!!!

powerpickle on January 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM

How much you wanna bet they get VERY interested in porn sites. You know, state employees being what they are

In 2010, 33 employees of the Securities and Exchange Commission — half making $100,000 to $200,000 per year — were found to have spent most of their workdays downloading Internet pornography over a five-year period. (Thank goodness there were no financial shenanigans going on then, so the SEC guys had plenty of time on their hands.)

One, a senior lawyer at SEC headquarters in Washington, D.C., admitted to spending eight hours a day looking at Internet pornography, sometimes even “working” through his lunch hour. Another admitted watching up to five hours a day of pornography in his office. (Would that Bernie Madoff had posted naked photos of himself online!)

Not one of the porn-surfing employees of the SEC was fired.

kurtzz3 on January 12, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Just what do we at HA have to do to get some love from Homeland Insecurity? Post nekid?

TheClearRiver on January 12, 2012 at 1:46 PM

This reminds me of when people with G-mail accounts started FREAKING out because of the targeted ads “Oh my GOD They are READING my E-mail!” I constantly remind people that:
a) Google has SOFTWARE searching for keywords in your text, there is nobody sitting down and “reading” it.
b) E-mail is plain text. Which means ANYONE can grab the data and read it if they really wanted to. If you have something that private to say, you need to use something more secure. Same with public blogs & social media sites. Puh-lease…

Violina23 on January 12, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Just what do we at HA have to do to get some love from Homeland Insecurity? Post nekid?

TheClearRiver on January 12, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Please don’t let libfreeordie see that. Please

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 1:49 PM

This is probably just an excuse for all the government workers who spend their taxpayer funded time doing nothing but surfing the web.

clearbluesky on January 12, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Yeah, I’m sure Dave Rywall or one of the others have reported us all to attack watch or whatever.

dogsoldier on January 12, 2012 at 1:50 PM

I have a decent stockpile of .30-06 for my M1 Garand as well as a decent store of MRE’s and freeze dried foods. Will that do?

wildcat72 on January 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Make sure you point the part of the M1 that has the hole away from you.

timberline on January 12, 2012 at 1:55 PM

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.

This isn’t about any privacy issue – this is about a State apparatus being so large that it has the capability of monitoring every facet of communication or networking.

The Stasi – East German Secret Police – kept files on the “opponents” of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, which included pieces of clothing or personal items, from which the scent could be used – for tracking by dogs.

This is what happens when the State is given, or takes, power over the People.

The people in this country refuse to believe that this kind of monstrosity can happen here. And, precisely for that reason, it is those people who will enable it to happen – by electing the very Statist politicians who will create this kind of system of control and monitoring.

OhEssYouCowboys on January 12, 2012 at 1:58 PM

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.

I fully agree. I’ve never understood people’s propensity to “air their dirty laundry” in public. It’s Jerry-Springer on a nauseatingly electronic/global scale.

Personally-speaking, I don’t ‘tweet’ because it’s a waste of time and I don’t do FB because it too is a waste of time & its founder spoons with Present SippyCup.

SnarkySam on January 12, 2012 at 1:58 PM

How much you wanna bet they get VERY interested in porn sites. You know, state employees being what they are…

In 2010, 33 employees of the Securities and Exchange Commission — half making $100,000 to $200,000 per year — were found to have spent most of their workdays downloading Internet pornography over a five-year period. (Thank goodness there were no financial shenanigans going on then, so the SEC guys had plenty of time on their hands.)

One, a senior lawyer at SEC headquarters in Washington, D.C., admitted to spending eight hours a day looking at Internet pornography, sometimes even “working” through his lunch hour. Another admitted watching up to five hours a day of pornography in his office. (Would that Bernie Madoff had posted naked photos of himself online!)

Not one of the porn-surfing employees of the SEC was fired.
kurtzz3 on January 12, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Can we file a FOI request to get the best sites????

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Personally-speaking, I don’t ‘tweet’ because it’s a waste of time and I don’t do FB because it too is a waste of time & its founder spoons with Present SippyCup.

SnarkySam on January 12, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Twitter is like a tattoo. Many eventually grow up and regret it.

NotCoach on January 12, 2012 at 2:04 PM

If the evil Boooooosh was publicized doing this, there would be left wing media hysteria. I loathe liberals and their double standard hypocrisy.

ultracon on January 12, 2012 at 2:05 PM

The problem I have with this is that on social networks such as FaceBook-when you set your updates to private or friends only-those are the only people who should have access to your updates. You cannot even block the DHS page on FaceBook. This is not so. Plus knowing Janet NoImAGuyO, she will probably use the demographics and information gathered to compile another pamphlet on hategroups such as anti abortionists, and problem groups such as soldiers returning from war.///

canditaylor68 on January 12, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Just what do we at HA have to do to get some love from Homeland Insecurity? Post nekid?

TheClearRiver on January 12, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Please don’t let libfreeordie see that. Please

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 1:49 PM

I predict that if libfreeordie keeps dropping in here, he’ll be a conservative by election time.

TheClearRiver on January 12, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Hot Gas apparently not controversial enough

Nyah, it’s your filtering. When you can’t even write “revolu..” oops, almost caught me there.

You know…

Kraken on January 12, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Just what do we at HA have to do to get some love from Homeland Insecurity? Post nekid?

TheClearRiver on January 12, 2012 at 1:46 PM
Please don’t let libfreeordie see that. Please

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 1:49 PM
I predict that if libfreeordie keeps dropping in here, he’ll be a conservative by election time.

TheClearRiver on January 12, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Not a chance. Sounds like a massachusetts transplant.

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Second, how did Hot Air not make the list? What, we’re not “controversial” enough?

I can see why Hotair wouldn’t be on the list. IMO, there’s an Hotair of desperation to be perceived as fair, so it’s designed to be non-threatening.

The Rogue Tomato on January 12, 2012 at 2:38 PM

I predict that if libfreeordie keeps dropping in here, he’ll be a conservative by election time.

TheClearRiver on January 12, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Not a chance. Sounds like a massachusetts transplant.

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Well, shock therapy straightened out my crazy aunt; Uncle Hank can use real knives to cut his meat, now. So there’s that.

TheClearRiver on January 12, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Well, shock therapy straightened out my crazy aunt; Uncle Hank can use real knives to cut his meat, now. So there’s that.

TheClearRiver on January 12, 2012 at 2:46 PM

LOL. Do you know the amps/volts? I’ve got a few who need it too.

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Pretty bummed. Thought they were watching us like a hawk.

Hummer53 on January 12, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Well, shock therapy straightened out my crazy aunt; Uncle Hank can use real knives to cut his meat, now. So there’s that.

TheClearRiver on January 12, 2012 at 2:46 PM

LOL. Do you know the amps/volts? I’ve got a few who need it too.

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 2:48 PM

I believe it was around a kV per egg-timer turn. Every time they goosed her, the streetlights would dim, and all the town cats would get reeeeeaally fluffy. But, when they were done with her, doggoned if she didn’t start voting “right” ~ not to put too fine a point on it.

TheClearRiver on January 12, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Oh believe me…Hot Air is being watched.

They sent some of their people in here!

KOOLAID2 on January 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM

That’s just crazy talk.

… k, o, o, l, a, i, d, 2 … 12:52 …

Axe on January 12, 2012 at 5:22 PM

B4Lucy
Goat flavored k-y
wow, that’s just to funny!
Racist, hehe

angrymike on January 12, 2012 at 8:06 PM

“Hot Gas apparently not controversial enough”

Bwaaahahahaha — coffee spray on monitor incident lmao

DaMav on January 13, 2012 at 12:51 AM