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DHS Searches Your Facebook and Twitter Accounts for Keywords Like Marijuana

By talltom, Mar 1, 2012 | | |
  1. talltom
    Recently released documents reveal that the Department of Homeland Security is keeping tabs on us via our social networks. According to an internal DHS document released by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the department and/or a DHS subcontractor is searching social networks like Facebook and Twitter for all kinds of keywords, which are then made into reports about "items of interest" (IOI).

    The list of terms is HUGE, and according to the blog Animal New York, "the DHS can also add additional search terms circumstantially as deemed necessary." Here are some of the keywords; you can view the full list at Animal New York.

    • Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
    • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
    • Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
    • Secret Service (USSS)
    • Assassination
    • Attack
    • Domestic security
    • Drill
    • Exercise
    • Cops
    • Law enforcement
    • Gang
    • Drug
    • Narcotics
    • Cocaine
    • Marijuana
    According to the blog post, the DHS does attempt to strip personally identifiable information (that gets its own acronym too, PII) -- unless you fall into one of the following rather broad categories:
    1) U.S. and foreign individuals in extremis situations involving potential life or death circumstances; (this is no change)
    2) Senior U.S. and foreign government officials who make public statements or provide public updates;
    3) U.S. and foreign government spokespersons who make public statements or provide public updates;
    4) U.S. and foreign private sector officials and spokespersons who make public statements or provide public updates;
    5) Names of anchors, newscasters, or on-scene reporters who are known or identified as reporters in their post or article or who use traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed;
    6) Current and former public officials who are victims of incidents or activities related to Homeland Security; and
    7) Terrorists, drug cartel leaders or other persons known to have been involved in major crimes of Homeland Security interest, (e.g., mass shooters such as those at Virginia Tech or Ft. Hood) who are killed or found dead.
    Also, the department's "Media Monitoring Capability team can transmit personal information to the DHS National Operations Center over the phone as deemed necessary." In other words, there are a lot of loopholes here. Remember that the next time you tweet about an airport, or link to an article about marijuana on Facebook.

    Lauren Kelley,
    AlterNet
    March 1, 2012


    http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/819547

Comments

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Department Of Homeland Security Tells Congress Why It's Monitoring Facebook, Twitter, Blogs
    The House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Counterintelligence and Intelligence was not pleased. (Insert "angry" emoticon here.)

    At a Congressional hearing this morning that veered into contentious arguments and cringe-worthy moments, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spilled the beans on their social media monitoring project.

    DHS Chief Privacy Office Mary Ellen Callahan and Director of Operations Coordination and Planning Richard Chavez appeared to be deliberately stonewalling Congress on the depth, ubiquity, goals, and technical capabilities of the agency's social media surveillance. At other times, they appeared to be themselves unsure about their own project's ultimate goals and uses. But one thing is for sure: If you're the first person to tweet about a news story, or if you're a community activist who makes public Facebook posts--DHS will have your personal information.

    The hearing, which was held by the Subcommittee on Counterintelligence and Intelligence headed by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), was highly unusual. Hacktivist collective Anonymous (or at least the @AnonyOps Twitter feed) sent a sympathizer to the visitor gallery to liveblog the proceedings under the #spyback hashtag.

    Interactions between the DHS officials and representatives were often strained--both Chavez and Callahan were scolded and chastised by Representatives from both parties. Reps. Billy Long (R-MO), Meehan, Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Bennie Thompson (D-MS) all pointed out issues relating to what they variously saw as potential First Amendment violations, surveillance of citizens engaged in protected political speech, the fact that an outside contractor handles DHS' social media monitoring, DHS' seeming inability to separate news monitoring from disaster preparedness, and a massively unclear social media monitoring mandate on the DHS' part.

    Video footage of the hearing has already been made available on YouTube, and the written testimony of both DHS experts has been made publicly available. Privacy watchdog group EPIC also filed a formal disclosure to Congress on the results of a FOIA lawsuit. DHS appears to have also stonewalled EPIC regarding their social media monitoring project. The results are staggering.

    According to testimony, the Homeland Security Department has outsourced their own social media monitoring program to an outside contractor, defense giant General Dynamics. General Dynamics was the sole party to the original DHS contract, which was not offered to any outside parties--and Chavez was caught misleading the Committee about General Dyamics' sole status.

    General Dynamics employees responsible for the DHS social media monitoring contract are required to attend a training course in DHS privacy practices several times a year. If General Dynamics employees misuse the personal information of journalists, public figures or the general public (to include Twitter or Facebook users) in any way, their punishment is restricted to additional training classes or dismissal from the project.

    General Dynamics and the Department of Homeland Security are primarily engaging in keyword monitoring of social media. Callahan admitted in sworn testimony that the bulk of the keywords used by DHS were chosen as the result of being included in commercially available, off-the-shelf bulk packages. These bulk keyword packages were later customized according to DHS specifications.

    The DHS, meanwhile, is truly interested in breaking news tweets. The Twitter handles, Facebook names and blog urls of first witnesses to news events (the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords and a January 2012 bomb threat at an Austin, Texas, school were specifically cited) are being recorded. Homeland Security claims this information is only used to verify reports, and that dossiers are not being assembled on private citizens and that personally identifying information is regularly scrubbed from their servers.

    Another worrying tendency is the fact that DHS appears to be keeping tabs on individual American citizens engaged in community activism and hot-button political issues. EPIC's evidence package to congress included FOIA-obtained data on community reaction to the housing of Guantanamo detainees in a Standish, MI prison. Against the DHS' own guidelines, the agency compiled a report titled Residents Voice Opposition Over Possible Plan to Bring Guantanamo Detainees to Local Prison-Standish MI. This report contained sentiment gathered from newspaper comment talkbacks, local blogs, Twitter posts, and publicly available Facebook posts--something expressly forbidden by the DHS' own policies. Chavez and Callahan claimed that the report was not disseminated and that privacy policies forbid similar things from occuring; nonetheless the report was made and not obtained by EPIC until they sued the DHS.

    In testimony, the DHS representatives appeared unclear on what the collected data would actually be used for and which agencies would be using it. Hurricane Katrina was constantly bought up as a talking point, but Committee members were constantly blocked when they asked how Homeland Security would be using their social media findings. In addition, barriers preventing other government agencies from obtaining sentiment information from DHS on individual journalists or private citizens is extremely flimsy; when Rep. Chip Cravvack (R-MN) asked Chavez what he would do if, say, the Attorney General was asking for information, Chavez simply answered that his agency's mandate forbid him from doing that. While that answer is fine and good, it also infers that the DHS has not put proper inter-agency data security safeguards in place.

    The hearing was less Big Brother then sloppy-kid-down-the-block... only with a big fat government contract. When numerous Committee members, including Long, questioned Chavez about the existence of similar social media monitoring projects at other government agencies, Chavez said he didn't know of any. Meanwhile, the Associated Press--in a major story--reported on Monday about the FBI putting out a contract for an almost identical project. As a mid-ranking official responsible for analysis operations, it is assumed that Chavez would have a vested interest in knowing what other government agencies were up to in the same field.

    At other times, neither Chavez nor Callahan could answer to the Committee's satisfaction why a contractor was hired for the job nor why the federal government was misled on the duration of General Dynamics' social media monitoring contract.

    According to testimony, a second, classified, Committee meeting on the subject of DHS social media monitoring was held on February 15 as well.


    BY NEAL UNGERLEIDER
    02-16-2012

    http://www.fastcompany.com/1816814/...s-social-media-monitoring-project-to-congress
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    [IMGL="white"]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=25016&stc=1&d=1330733981[/IMGL]The Department of Homeland Security Is Searching Your Facebook and Twitter for These Words

    The Department of Homeland Security monitors your updates on social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, to uncover “Items Of Interest” (IOI), according to an internal DHS document released by the EPIC. That document happens to include a list of the baseline terms for which the DHS–or more specifically, a DHS subcontractor hired to monitor social networks–use to generate real-time IOI reports. (Although the released PDF is generally all reader-selectable text, the list of names was curiously embedded as an image of text, preventing simple indexing. We’ve fixed that below.)

    To be fair, the DHS does have an internal privacy policy that attempts to strip your “PII”–Personally Identifiable Information–from the aggregated tweets and status updates, with some broad exceptions:
    1) U.S. and foreign individuals in extremis situations involving potential life or death circumstances; (this is no change)
    2) Senior U.S. and foreign government officials who make public statements or provide public updates;
    3) U.S. and foreign government spokespersons who make public statements or provide public updates;
    4) U.S. and foreign private sector officials and spokespersons who make public statements or provide public updates;
    5) Names of anchors, newscasters, or on-scene reporters who are known or identified as reporters in their post or article or who use traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed;
    6) Current and former public officials who are victims of incidents or activities related to Homeland Security; and
    7) Terrorists, drug cartel leaders or other persons known to have been involved in major crimes of Homeland Security interest, (e.g., mass shooters such as those at Virginia Tech or Ft. Hood) who are killed or found dead.
    In addition, the Media Monitoring Capability team can transmit personal information to the DHS National Operations Center over the phone as deemed necessary.
    The MMC watch may provide the name, position, or other information considered to be PII to the NOC over the telephone when approved by the appropriate DHS OPS authority. But that information must not be stored in a database that could be searched by an individual’s PII.

    In addition to the following list of terms, the DHS can also add additional search terms circumstantially as deemed necessary.
    DHS Media Monitoring Terms

    2.13 Key Words & Search Terms
    This is a current list of terms that will be used by the NOC when monitoring social media sites to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture. As natural or manmade disasters occur, new search terms may be added.
    The new search terms will not use PII in searching for relevant
    mission-related information.
    DHS & Other Agencies
    Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
    Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
    Coast Guard (USCG)
    Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
    Border Patrol
    Secret Service (USSS)
    National Operations Center (NOC)
    Homeland Defense
    Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)
    Agent
    Task Force
    Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
    Fusion Center
    Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
    Secure Border Initiative (SBI)
    Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
    Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS)
    Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS)
    Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
    Air Marshal
    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
    National Guard
    Red Cross
    United Nations (UN)
    Domestic Security
    Assassination
    Attack
    Domestic security
    Drill
    Exercise
    Cops
    Law enforcement
    Authorities
    Disaster assistance
    Disaster management
    DNDO (Domestic Nuclear Detection Office)
    National preparedness
    Mitigation
    Prevention
    Response
    Recovery
    Dirty Bomb
    Domestic nuclear detection
    Emergency management
    Emergency response
    First responder
    Homeland security
    Maritime domain awareness (MDA)
    National preparedness initiative
    Militia
    Shooting
    Shots fired
    Evacuation
    Deaths
    Hostage
    Explosion (explosive)
    Police
    Disaster medical assistance team (DMAT)
    Organized crime
    Gangs
    National security
    State of emergency
    Security
    Breach
    Threat
    Standoff
    SWAT
    Screening
    Lockdown
    Bomb (squad or threat)
    Crash
    Looting
    Riot
    Emergency Landing
    Pipe bomb
    Incident
    Facility
    HAZMAT & Nuclear
    Hazmat
    Nuclear
    Chemical Spill
    Suspicious package/device
    Toxic
    National laboratory
    Nuclear facility
    Nuclear threat
    Cloud
    Plume
    Radiation
    Radioactive
    Leak
    Biological infection (or event)
    Chemical
    Chemical burn
    Biological
    Epidemic
    Hazardous
    Hazardous material incident
    Industrial spill
    Infection
    Powder (white)
    Gas
    Spillover
    Anthrax
    Blister agent
    Exposure
    Burn
    Nerve agent
    Ricin
    Sarin
    North Korea
    Health Concern + H1N1
    Outbreak
    Contamination
    Exposure
    Virus
    Evacuation
    Bacteria
    Recall
    Ebola
    Food Poisoning
    Foot and Mouth (FMD)
    H5N1
    Avian
    Flu
    Salmonella
    Small Pox
    Plague
    Human to human
    Human to ANIMAL
    Influenza
    Center for Disease Control (CDC)
    Drug Administration (FDA)
    Public Health
    Toxic
    Agro Terror
    Tuberculosis (TB)
    Agriculture
    Listeria
    Symptoms
    Mutation
    Resistant
    Antiviral
    Wave
    Pandemic
    Infection
    Water/air borne
    Sick
    Swine
    Pork
    Strain
    Quarantine
    H1N1
    Vaccine
    Tamiflu
    Norvo Virus
    Epidemic
    World Health Organization (WHO and components)
    Viral Hemorrhagic Fever
    E. Coli
    Infrastructure Security
    Infrastructure security
    Airport
    CIKR (Critical Infrastructure & Key Resources)
    AMTRAK
    Collapse
    Computer infrastructure
    Communications infrastructure
    Telecommunications
    Critical infrastructure
    National infrastructure
    Metro
    WMATA
    Airplane (and derivatives)
    Chemical fire
    Subway
    BART
    MARTA
    Port Authority
    NBIC (National Biosurveillance Integration Center)
    Transportation security
    Grid
    Power
    Smart
    Body scanner
    Electric
    Failure or outage
    Black out
    Brown out
    Port
    Dock
    Bridge
    Canceled
    Delays
    Service disruption
    Power lines
    Southwest Border Violence
    Drug cartel
    Violence
    Gang
    Drug
    Narcotics
    Cocaine
    Marijuana
    Heroin
    Border
    Mexico
    Cartel
    Southwest
    Juarez
    Sinaloa
    Tijuana
    Torreon
    Yuma
    Tucson
    Decapitated
    U.S. Consulate
    Consular
    El Paso
    Fort Hancock
    San Diego
    Ciudad Juarez
    Nogales
    Sonora
    Colombia
    Mara salvatrucha
    MS13 or MS-13
    Drug war
    Mexican army
    Methamphetamine
    Cartel de Golfo
    Gulf Cartel
    La Familia
    Reynose
    Nuevo Leon
    Narcos
    Narco banners (Spanish equivalents)
    Los Zetas
    Shootout
    Execution
    Gunfight
    Trafficking
    Kidnap
    Calderon
    Reyosa
    Bust
    Tamaulipas
    Meth Lab
    Drug trade
    Illegal immigrants
    Smuggling (smugglers)
    Matamoros
    Michoacana
    Guzman
    Arellano-Felix
    Beltran-Leyva
    Barrio Azteca
    Artistics Assassins
    Mexicles
    New Federation
    Terrorism
    Terrorism
    Al Queda (all spellings)
    Terror
    Attack
    Iraq
    Afghanistan
    Iran
    Pakistan
    Agro
    Environmental terrorist
    Eco terrorism
    Conventional weapon
    Target
    Weapons grade
    Dirty bomb
    Enriched
    Nuclear
    Chemical weapon
    Biological weapon
    Ammonium nitrate
    Improvised explosive device
    IED (Improvised Explosive Device)
    Abu Sayyaf
    Hamas
    FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces Colombia)
    IRA (Irish Republican Army)
    ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna)
    Basque Separatists
    Hezbollah
    Tamil Tiger
    PLF (Palestine Liberation Front)
    PLO (Palestine Libration Organization)
    Car bomb
    Jihad
    Taliban
    Weapons cache
    Suicide bomber
    Suicide attack
    Suspicious substance
    AQAP (Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula)
    AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb)
    TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan)
    Yemen
    Pirates
    Extremism
    Somalia
    Nigeria
    Radicals
    Al-Shabaab
    Home grown
    Plot
    Nationalist
    Recruitment
    Fundamentalism
    Islamist
    Weather/Disaster/Emergency
    Emergency
    Hurricane
    Tornado
    Twister
    Tsunami
    Earthquake
    Tremor
    Flood
    Storm
    Crest
    Temblor
    Extreme weather
    Forest fire
    Brush fire
    Ice
    Stranded/Stuck
    Help
    Hail
    Wildfire
    Tsunami Warning Center
    Magnitude
    Avalanche
    Typhoon
    Shelter-in-place
    Disaster
    Snow
    Blizzard
    Sleet
    Mud slide or Mudslide
    Erosion
    Power outage
    Brown out
    Warning
    Watch
    Lightening
    Aid
    Relief
    Closure
    Interstate
    Burst
    Emergency Broadcast System
    Cyber Security
    Cyber security
    Botnet
    DDOS (dedicated denial of service)
    Denial of service
    Malware
    Virus
    Trojan
    Keylogger
    Cyber Command
    2600
    Spammer
    Phishing
    Rootkit
    Phreaking
    Cain and abel
    Brute forcing
    Mysql injection
    Cyber attack
    Cyber terror
    Hacker
    China
    Conficker
    Worm
    Scammers
    Social media
    Yes, the Department of Homeland Security is searching social media for…”social media”.

    http://animalnewyork.com/2012/02/th...ng-your-facebook-and-twitter-for-these-words/
  3. Terrapinzflyer
  4. talltom
    Thanks for expanding on this topic. It's worse than I thought. How can you have a discussion on current events without using the words in the DHS list. You can't even talk about the weather without getting flagged for using the word "weather." And this is not necessarily a complete list -- it says DHS can add words to the list "as deemed necessary." I made it through the Nixon and Reagan administrations, but this is worse.
  5. supercat
    This is almost too disturbing to apply words to.

    Its really nothing that should come as much of a surprise. The measures used to prevent terrorist activity in the last ten years have been outright subversions of our rights as citizens (though, who actually KNOWS our rights as citizens these days? We might have let them all go!) which are disturbingly irrelevant to terrorism a substantial amount of the time. Starting with the passage of the Patriot Act it has been common knowledge that government agencies are doing away with anything that deters them from acting with accountability. The goal seems to be unrestricted authority to do whatever they want to whomever they want and have no need to explain why.

    This is something that was foreseeable with respect to the internet. Its public domain and anything you express is archived and open to anyone who looks hard enough. Posts on DF arent an exception. The problem is its not compatible with what American freedom is interpreted by our citizens.

    Problems created by this sort of development:

    We can no longer trust the country we are citizens of

    Democracy is not strong enough to correct problems like this. Once you give a government agency more power, you cant take it back.

    This is a documented symptom of a country that is trending toward totalitarianism and extremist conservative government.

    This is a necessary step in the development of a police state.

    Conducting surveillance on ordinary citizens creates fear and uncertainty, which is exploited to exert more control.

    The government catalogues everyone based on who they are, gay, drug addicts, minorities and so forth. The holocaust would have been impossible without doing this first.

    Everything is justified by claiming to make life safer. A lawmaker who disagrees with improving the prevention of terrorism is automatically a terrorist.

    We have almost completely lost our basic rights to be treated with dignity and provided with legal council and benefits such as being informed of what we are accused of. Innocent until proven guilty can now be waived so long as the person is an enemy combatant. There is no legal method of determining wheter someone is an enemy combatant, so its decided by the captors at their discretion. Now we are very specific about what torture is so that we can torture people more and argue semantics. Its not required to try the captive in a court of law with at least acceptable standards of justice before the person can be incarcerated, and instead they are incarcerated at length when no proof, nor even explanation, of their infraction is ever presented.

    Terrorism was recognized as a very useful manipulation tool the second the first plane hit. Fear eliminates reason. A completely non national and undefined enemy is not only scary but also the perfect justification of illegal policies, effective to the extent that we were willing to permit counter terrorism to operate outside the law if it meant we were safer.

    This is no longer confused with measures for our security, and has been identified repeatedly as a final straw in America's loss of credibility, and established as illegal. Nothing changed, even with awareness.

    We end up having astoundingly limited privacy, most of which is while we are showering. Everything we purchase, support, identify with, discuss, or believe in has the potential to be documented somewhere and somehow used against you.

    The next step we will see is citizens instructed to spy on citizens. Eliminating freedom is like following a recipe. The steps have already been established and implemented across history. Each step builds upon the last and before anyone realizes whats happening elections get suspended to prevent terrorism.

    The most upsetting part for me is the notion that Americans are actually aware of this problem but there is literally nothing we can do about it. It continues and gets worse no matter if a conservative or liberal occupies the white house. Fuck it im going to smoke.
  6. supercat
    This post does justice to this issue to about the same degree as an erotic novel does justice to romance.
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