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Dear Homeland Security: Please spy on us
We don’t mind if your agents scour our pages. Every click makes America stronger!
The Department of Homeland Security exists to protect America from threats, both domestic and international. As Reuters revealed this week, those in the department take their jobs so seriously that they routinely spend precious anti-terrorist resources cruising YouTube, Hulu, Twitter, and the New York Times.
On that list, the Daily Dot is surely worth trawling for potential threats, too, right? But no.
As Reuters reported:
A “privacy compliance review” issued by DHS last November says that since at least June 2010, its national operations center has been operating a “Social Networking/Media Capability” which involves regular monitoring of “publicly available online forums, blogs, public websites and message boards.” The purpose of the monitoring, says the government document, is to “collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture.”
The Atlantic laid out a complete list. Even the moribund Myspace is deemed worth tracking:
The Drudge Report
The Huffington Post
The New York Times Lede blog
Wired’s Threat Level
Wired’s Danger Room
ABC News’ investigative blog The Blotter
“blogs that cover bird flu … news and activity along U.S. borders … drug trafficking and cybercrime”
Talk about your misplaced priorities.
If there’s one website that the U.S. government should pay its employees to monitor for suspicious activities, it’s the hometown newspaper of the World Wide Web.
Don’t they know that this humble website recently hired a known Occupy sympathizer who once attempted to transport aromatherapy across the US border and whose ancestors looted and burned the White House?
Hellooooooo, Homeland Security! What does a website gotta do to get a little notoriety these days?
Oh, fine. Here you go.
“Human to human outbreaks of paranoia infect the USA even unto your virtual offshored employees and/or illegal immigrants. Mad cow. Green card. Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”
If that doesn’t put us on a watch list, nothing will.
Seriously, we need those pageviews. And startups create jobs, right?
Two birds, one stone: America gets safety and stimulus. The Daily Dot gets a loyal readership in the office parks of the greater Washington, D.C. area.
Lorraine Murphy is an Ottawa-based cybersecurity journalist and founding editor of the Cryptosphere. She has a keen interest in WikiLeaks and web culture, and her bylines have appeared in Salon, Vanity Fair, Serious Eats, and elsewhere.