government monitoring

Common words the gov’t uses to monitor social networks

June 6, 2013
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listening Common words the govt uses to monitor social networks

Government monitoring social networks

It sounds like something from a conspiracy theorists’ website, but as it turns out… your social media posts actually are being monitored in an official capacity and it has been uncovered exactly which phrases and keywords that the Department of Homeland Security uses to monitor social networking sites.

DHS is not so much worried about what you had for dinner, but more along the lines of finding “signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.” So, what words are they looking for? Well, if you tweet about Food Poisoning, Bust, or even Tornadoes – your post may ping DHS.

The list was posted by a request under the Freedom of Information Act by the Electronic Privacy Information Center who sued the Department of Homeland Security to release the information. Homeland Security states that they use the information to identify ‘media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities.’

Even still, I don’t know how I feel about my information being monitored. We all know that everything posted online can be tracked and isn’t personal, however it still feels like a bit of an intrusion. It makes me slightly uneasy, but not because I’m planning on doing any harm… but it kind of feels like I’m being watched by spies. Which, I guess, I am.



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Words used to monitor social networks

That being said, I see the absolute necessity for the monitoring. Whether I know how or not, I am extremely grateful for all that our national security does for us and that diseases are being tracked in innovative ways now, and that emergency situations, particularly storm situations are better monitored and guided through these efforts. If they have to read about the pork I ate which burned my mouth while at the airport on my way to Mexico and how the entire trip was a bust because of the storms and extreme weather, so be it.

I don’t know all that our country does to keep us safe, and I’m not sure I want to know everything. To me, ignorance is bliss in this area. I know that I’m not doing anything malicious, so I have no need to worry. But, there are definitely people out there who are plotting to do harmful acts and if the government missed an obvious plot out in public, the world would be in an uproar.

See the full list of words DHS tracks on social networks on page 2:

Tasha Salinas is a staff writer at AGBeat, holding a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and Journalism from Northeastern University. She is an info geek who reads, talks, & thinks way too much. You don't want to know how long it took her to write this bio. You can find her at facebook.com/TashaSalinas.