This, of course, is the "US Department of Homeland Security Privacy Impact Assessment for the Office of Operations Coordination and Planning Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness Initiative". In short, "Federal law requires the NOC [National Operations Center] to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture for the entire federal government, and for state, local, and tribal governments as appropriate, and to ensure that critical disaster-related information reaches government decision makers." To this end,
The NOC will use Internet-based platforms that provide a variety of ways to follow activity related to monitoring publicly available online forums, blogs, public websites, and message boards. Through the use of publicly available search engines and content aggregators the NOC will monitor activities on the social media sites listed in Appendix A for information that the NOC can use to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture. Appendix A is a current list of sites that the NOC will use as a starting point under this Initiative. Initial sites listed may link to other sites not listed. The NOC may also monitor those sites if they are within the scope of this Initiative. The NOC will gather, store, analyze, and disseminate relevant and appropriate de-identified information to federal, state, local, and foreign governments, and private sector partners authorized to receive situational awareness and a common operating picture.In other words, they will spy on you. But fear not.
Under this initiative, OPS will not: 1) actively seek personally identifiable information (PII); 2) post any information; 3) actively seek to connect with other internal/external personal users; 4) accept other internal/external personal users’ invitations to connect; or 5) interact on social media sites.Because the US government has never spied on its own citizens, and then used that information to try to subvert organizations, repress civil rights, or criminalize behavior. No, sir, they would never do that.
So, in order to express my absolute confidence in our government, here is every single phrase the NOC monitors for as of June 22, 2010:
DHS & Other Agencies
HAZMAT & Nuclear
Health Concern + H1N1
| Southwest Border Violence |
MS13 or MS-13
Cartel de Golfo
Narco banners (Spanish equivalents)
Al Qaeda (all spellings)
Improvised explosive device
IED (Improvised Explosive Device)
FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces Colombia)
IRA (Irish Republican Army)
ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna) Basque Separatists
PLF (Palestine Liberation Front)
PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization
AQAP (AL Qaeda Arabian Peninsula)
AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb)
TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan)
Tsunami Warning Center
Mud slide or Mudslide
Emergency Broadcast System
DDOS (dedicated denial of service)
Denial of service
Cain and abel
To Homeland Security: Welcome to The Great Redoubt, guys. Hope you like it.
To everyone else: Sleep tight, secure in the knowledge that your government is watching you.