As this article is being written, while I simultaneously check Facebook and bob my head within the privacy of my cubicle to tunes on Grooveshark, homeland security could very well be watching me.
According to a report from Reuters, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring many popular Web sites, including social media like Facebook and Twitter, since June 2010 as a part of a privacy compliance review.
Homeland Security reportedly regularly monitors publicly available online forums, blogs, public websites and message boards from its national operations center in order to collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture, according to the government document obtained by Reuters.
However, don't feel too intruded yet; According to the agency, the monitoring was officially issued last November so it, along with the U.S. Secret Service and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), can manage government responses to disaster events in a more timely, precise way.
A Homeland Security official told Reuters the monitoring is intended to keep up with Internet-era media and publicly available and... all use of data published via social media sites was solely to provide more accurate situational awareness, a more complete common operating pictures, and more timely information for decision makers...
According to the report, all information obtained from the monitoring the controversial sites would be retained for no more than five years.
Here is a list of Web sites monitored by Homeland Security, according to the report.
- ABC's The Blotter
- Blogs that cover bird flu...drug trafficking and cybercrime, are related to news and activity along U.S. borders and websites that follow wildfires in Los Angeles and hurricanes
- The Drudge Report
- Huffington Post
- NY Times Lede Blog
- Wired's Threat Level and Danger Room
- Blogs related to terrorism and security
- Informed Comment