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We really have to get this George W. Bush guy out of office so we can put a stop to this kind of government intrusiveness and… what? Who is president? Well, in that case I’m sure this is okay:

The Department of Homeland Security has been forced to release a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.

The intriguing the list includes obvious choices such as ‘attack’, ‘Al Qaeda’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘dirty bomb’ alongside dozens of seemingly innocent words like ‘pork’, ‘cloud’, ‘team’ and ‘Mexico’.

Released under a freedom of information request, the information sheds new light on how government analysts are instructed to patrol the internet searching for domestic and external threats.

The words are included in the department’s 2011 ‘Analyst’s Desktop Binder’ used by workers at their National Operations Center which instructs workers to identify ‘media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities’.

Department chiefs were forced to release the manual following a House hearing over documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit which revealed how analysts monitor social networks and media organisations for comments that ‘reflect adversely’ on the government.

However they insisted the practice was aimed not at policing the internet for disparaging remarks about the government and signs of general dissent, but to provide awareness of any potential threats.

I just got myself flagged seven times just for running a snip of the story. It’s possible “pork” made the list because the government considers those who expose federal waste to be a clear and present danger to the security of the United States.

Read the entire list of words. It’s virtually impossible to write online without using several of them a day.

This kind of thing has been going on a long time. Remember Echelon? It’s a global surveillance network I first heard about back in the 1990′s that I think was invented as a way to allow Bill Clinton to eavesdrop on Elizabeth Hurley and Claudia Schiffer’s phone calls.

Strange. On the list of words that could constitute a threat to America, “Forward™” didn’t make the cut.

Comments

9 Responses to “DHS Releases List of Hundreds of Keywords/Phrases Used to Monitor Net for Threats”

  1. SignPainterGuy on May 27th, 2012 2:57 pm

    You`re absolutely correct Doug, it would be nearly impossible to carry on a conversation online without using several of these words each day; I`ve used some from each sub-list on this blog recently !

    Could it be that the DHS has compiled this list to place EVERYONE on "their list" so they can legally watch EVERYONE ? Well, I mean "everyone" except muslims and obvious terrorists, that is !

    I just hope that the super-computers that monitor all communications (the descendent of ECHELON) have been programmed to put the use of these key words in context to avoid what happened back before Echelon became public !

    Two moms of grade school classmates were talking on the phone. One of the moms mentioned that her son had "bombed" on a test. Within a few days, she began to hear clicking and echo sounds on her phones, saw strange dark suvs driving by her home, her mail was tampered with, etc. Somehow (I don`t remember now the details of the story) she learned that she was indeed under surveillance and it took over two years to get her off "the list".

    That was an early sample of proof of Echelon`s existence. I used to purposely use key words just to see if anything happened. Yes, I have heard strange noises on my phones, but with the weird noises you get on cell phones, who knows !

  2. jeffythequick on May 27th, 2012 3:16 pm

    I'm of two minds on this…

    The first is that the Internet isn't your private highway, and anything you do is fair game. Using certificates and encryption isn't really that safe, as Microsoft ISA Server (any IT person can buy it; I think it's called something else now…) will decrypt packets incoming to a network and look for threats (viruses, etc.) It also can be made to have rules that search for words like those in the list, even for encrypted information.

    The other part is the Constitutional requirement that we will be secure in our papers (4th amendment) I think trumps this. Get a warrant if you're that concerned, or amend the Constitution.

  3. clu seatoe on May 27th, 2012 5:30 pm

    Looks like they’re covering the Mexican border OK. Except I didn’t see “illegal,” “alien,” or “carpetbagger” I guess they’re not considered a threat to national security.

    Thank the Men in Black for keeping track of the aliens. Your government won’t do it.

    Sometime this weekend give thanks to the memory of the men and women who gave their lives in service to America to secure our freedoms.

    If you can’t thank them for that, at least think of them for getting you a paid day off.

  4. backwoodsconsr on May 27th, 2012 6:49 pm

    Remember the good old days when all we had to worry about was the seven words you couldn't say on TV?

  5. Dave brickner on May 27th, 2012 9:48 pm

    One toad over the line………..

  6. Yazsters on May 27th, 2012 10:14 pm

    I'm hoping to be using the word pork, in vain, often in the future! At least that is the hope. Guess DHS's pork alert cold be beeping often.

  7. Billy on May 10th, 2014 6:16 am

    However they insisted the practice was aimed not at policing the internet for disparaging remarks about the government and signs of general dissent, but to provide awareness of any potential threats.

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