Be careful what you say to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers in the future. According to a Sacramento Bee article, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has formed an initiative aimed at monitoring social media sites for emerging threats. That agency’s Privacy Office has recently given their approval to proceed with the initiative.
There have been several pilot projects to test the effectiveness of such an initiative and the usefulness of the data gathered. Those projects have evidently been successful, as the agency is now apparently moving past the pilot stage.
“According to the privacy office, however, the Twitter profile “does not engage with other users by posting ‘tweets,’ nor does it have ‘followers,’ ” according to the report issued last week. “The DHS profile does not ‘follow’ other Twitter users who are individuals.”
Program employees instead hunt for dozens of keywords in the social media landscape using relatively simple and widely available tools like TweetDeck. For that reason, it’s unclear how words like “burn,” “cocaine” or “collapse” can be analyzed effectively enough to reveal truly useful information among the hundreds of millions of tweets that course across the Web every day.”
Such a program is bound to be controversial; with some people resisting privacy and civil liberties violations, and others encouraging the U.S. Government to use all means necessary to protect it’s citizens from terrorism. What do you think?
Reference: Sacramento Bee article
Be very careful…it’s dangerous out there.
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