A lot of people say “I have nothing to hide.” When people tell me that I like to stare at them until they become uncomfortable. The point being if you have nothing to hide then you shouldn’t have a problem with me staring at you all the time. Having said that I am deeply disturbed by all the government surveillance that is going on.
In my post Surveillance costs money I said “In accordance with the 4th amendment, all searches to include electronic surveillance should only be used in the case of probable cause, or a reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed.”
The FBI, CIA, and the DHS are all looking to expand their domestic spying programs.
The FBI released a request for a social media monitoring application that can spy on citizens via their social media content. According to zdnet.com “The FBI is looking to monitor all public information posted on social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace. The organization is asking for an app to do all the scraping automatically.”
The CIA is also getting in on the action. The agencies Open Source Center in McLean,Va is full of so called vengeful librarians who have nothing better to do then spend their days pouring over your social media content. According to the center’s director, Doug Naquin “The center already had predicted that social media in places like Egypt could be a game-changer and a threat to the regime.”
The DHS is no stranger to spying on innocent citizens. EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Centre) has filed a Freedom of information Act lawsuit against the DHS for monitoring social media websites. According to The Daily Mail
The Department of Homeland Security makes fake Twitter and Facebook profiles for the specific purpose of scanning the networks for ‘sensitive’ words – and tracking people who use them.
Simply using a word or phrase from the DHS’s ‘watch’ list could mean that spies from the government read your posts, investigate your account, and attempt to identify you from it.
The words which attract attention range from ones seemingly related to diseases or bioweapons such as ‘human to animal’ and ‘outbreak’ to other, more obscure words such as ‘drill’ and ‘strain’.
The DHS also watches for words such as ‘illegal immigrant’.
In addition the DHS released a Federal Register notice detailing their plans to spy on US citizens. According to the notice
In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the Department of
Homeland Security is giving notice that it proposes to establish a new
Department of Homeland Security system of records titled, “Department
of Homeland Security Office of Operations Coordination and Planning–
004 Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational
Awareness Initiative System of Records.” The Office of Operations
Coordination and Planning (OPS) National Operations Center (NOC), has
launched and leads the Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and
Situational Awareness (Initiative) to assist the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) and its components involved in fulfilling OPS statutory
responsibility to provide situational awareness.
The country I grew up in is over. We used to stand for freedom and human rights. Now we are just like those we once criticized. Our nation employs agencies reminiscent of the Stasi. In fact the DHS had hired Ex-Stasi Spy Chief, Markus Wolf who worked for them up until his death in 2006.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”