In America’s brave new world, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has set up fake Twitter and Facebook accounts in order to catch a potential criminal.
They claim to be protecting the Internet by invading American’s privacy without warrants, for the sole purpose of catching the bad guys. Really?
DHS says they are now “protecting” Americans by programming a few sensitive hot-key words into their computer programs and then tracking those who are tweeting words they think fit a certain profile.
The DHS's “watch” list could land Americans on a collision course with secret agents tracking their every move. In other words, DHS can insert government agents into the “average Joe’s” life without serving a warrant or providing any explanation.
A few “key” words DHS is concerned with include “diseases” or “bio weapons” or “human to animal” or “outbreak” and “illegal immigrant.” In fact, DHS has outlined plans to scan blogs, Twitter and Facebook, according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
EPIC claims a Freedom of Information Act requested in February for more details has gone unanswered.
It’s also been reported by some news agencies that DHS can program their computers in order to target certain words and phrases. If a match is triggered, the personal information may be recorded and open to further investigation by agency officials.
It remains unclear how DHS will use the information gathered without a warrant on the Internet blogosphere. EPIC points out that the government has used scans of social media before to analyze events, like the 2010 BP oil spill, but using “fake” profiles on social media is new.
“The initiatives were designed to gather information from online forums, blogs, public websites, and message boards. [They plan] to store and analyze the information gathered, and then disseminate relevant and appropriate de-identified information to federal, state, local, and foreign governments and private sector partners,” according to an EPIC court filing.
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