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CIA’s “Facebook” Program Dramatically Cut Agency’s Costs

Facebook seems to have quite a reputation for inadequate privacy safety protocols if the number of hits a google search is any indication.  Feel free to weigh in on this at will: I know nothing about it all, except a few things kgb told me, and even those were beyond my ken; like listening to Klingon-speak, largely.

This post is courtesy of the brilliant NY artist Anthony Freda, who this morning sent me his  new piece below, along with a link to the Onion piece above that seems to have inspired it.  Such fine timing it was once again, as I’d been lazily checking into the list of key words that DHS uses to filter communications online over the past few days.  The Electronic Privacy Information Center had received the lists recently through a FOIA request, and I had started a diary trying to use a boatload of the terms, some of which are just comically benign.  But hell; I’m lazy, it was hard work (h/t: Dubya), and it might not have been all that funny anyway.  So, this was a simpler way to show them to you, and it may keep me outta Gitmo, always a plus, imo.  ;o)

From the May 26, 2012 Daily

“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 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.

Er…aren’t those last two claims in direct opposition?  At any rate, the whole list filter thing is almost absurdly fun, but apparently DHS is saying they’ll update it to…something more relevant?  Who knows?  But at, Reuven Cohen is wondering:

“What wasn’t disclosed is how the agency actually gains access to the various search engines and social networks to monitor the specified keywords. My guess is the DHS has a “special arrangement” with companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and Twitter to gain secure direct API access. This type of access would allow it to use distributed cloud technologies to monitor the daily flow of social media and search activity in something close to real time.”

The lists are  here, here, and here; I’d forgotten that I can’t embed them.

Pork? Whassup with that?

Anthony Freda weighs in with his typical, incisive, Dadaesque aim:


'Zuck You' by Anthony Freda via wendydavis

So: keep those DHS analysts busy, folks!  It’s a massive jobs program, and let it always be said that WE SUPPORT JOB CREATION HERE.  What is the multiplier effect of a DHS analyst’s salary, anyway?  Your government is scrupulous about spending your tax dollars well!

[Edit update]: Please weigh in at will on key words they forgot; or key numbers, lotsa scary ones out there!


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