DHS Releases List of Hundreds of Keywords/Phrases Used to Monitor Net for Threats

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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.