The U.S. Government Releases List of Words to Monitor in Social Media World

Calling all social media junkies! The United States Department of Homeland Security has released a 39-page manual called the 2011 National Operations Center Media Monitoring Capability Analyst Desktop Binder. What is this, you ask? It’s the down-low on how the government kept tabs on social media and online news outlets to make sure that we’re all safe. There are a bunch key words that are vigorously monitored, along with a lot of other mumbo-jumbo, that you can take a look at here, in this document.

Many of the words on their own could be totally harmless, but written by the right wrong person with a specific plan in mind could lead to something catastrophic (that word’s on the list). We don’t really feel the brunt of this “big brother” scanning our trillions upon trillions of words, sentences, and paragraphs first hand. Some of the words, though, are as common and harmless as “southwest,” “enriched,” “ice,” “word,” and even our favorite: “social media.” So is this borderline infringement upon our First Amendment rights?

According to a passage in the Huffington Post:

“These terms and others are ‘broad, vague and ambiguous’ and include ‘vast amounts of First Amendment protected speech that is entirely unrelated to the Department of Homeland Security mission to protect the public against terrorism and disasters,’ stated the Electronic Privacy Information Center in letter to the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.”

Which brings me to the ultimate question here, how do you guys feel about this? Getting a look at the list (which can be found in completion in the link I posted above), along with an in depth look behind their ultimate “mission” is pretty cool, I guess…But the Huffington Post also says that,

“The manual was released by the center a week after Homeland Security officials were grilled at a House hearing over other documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that revealed analysts were scrutinizing online comments that ‘reflect adversely’ on the federal government.”

Let us know your thoughts @20sTweet!


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