FBI in The Process of Creating a System for Monitoring all Conversations on Social Networking Sites

J. D. Heyes
Natural News / News Report
Published: Sunday 11 March 2012
“The bureau has placed a request from tech firms to develop a program that would enable agents to sift through waves of “publicly available” information, ostensibly to look for keywords related to terrorism, criminal activity and other threats to national security.”
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If you're a regular reader of Natural news, you're already well aware of the fact that government, the courts, and private industry have all essentially disregarded the intent and meaning of the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment privacy protections in the age of information technology. It seems that you give up your right to be "secure" in your "persons, houses, papers, and effects" if you dare to use a social media network or virtually any other information exchange system.

The latest onslaught comes from the FBI, which is only the most recent federal agency seeking to monitor all of your conversations on sites like Facebook and Twitter.The bureau has placed a request from tech firms to develop a program that would enable agents to sift through waves of "publicly available" information, ostensibly to look for keywords related to terrorism, criminal activity and other threats to national security.

'Early warning' system?

The goal, according to the bureau's request, is to develop a sort of early warning system that provides real-time intelligence to improve "the FBI's overall situational awareness." The proposed program must "have the ability to rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence that will allow SIOC to quickly vet, identify, and geo-locate breaking events, incidents, and emerging threats."The FBI joins DARPA - the secretive Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency- and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in searching for a program that can "monitor" social media chatter (DARPA, ironically enough, invented the Internet, not Al Gore). The difference there, however, is that the Defense Department and the CIA focus on threats overseas; the FBI, meanwhile, is a domestic law enforcement apparatus, and as such, subject to constitutional restrictions regarding the development of its cases.

A work-around?

In defending its request for the development of a social media-monitoring program, the FBI emphasized its focus on the "publicly available" information- the same information that is accessible to marketers and advertisers.To get around that, social media companies like Facebook and Twitter may be able to exempt them from the monitoring by making their posts private, says Jennifer Lynch, an attorney with the San Francisco-based Electronic Freedom Foundation. Beyond that, she adds, the U.S. government's growing desire to monitor everyone is likely to have dire consequences for privacy and other civil liberties.In an interview with the New Scientist, Lynch says most people post to their Facebook or Twitter accounts in the expectation that only their friends and followers are reading, which gives them "the sense of freedom to say what they want without worrying too much about recourse.""But these tools that mine open source data and presumably store it for a very long time do away with that kind of privacy. I worry about the effect of that on free speech in the U.S.," she added.

More government monitoring

As the FBI looks for its program, what many Americans may not know is that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is already engaged in domestic monitoring of social media Web sites. In fact, DHS even has an operating procedure manual for the program.Earlier, DHS officials had brushed off early suspicions about the program as saying it was "limited to gathering information that would help gain operational awareness about attacks, disasters or other emerging problems, “The New York Times reported.And yet, despite DHS officials' denials, one of the categories that constituted an "item of interest" in the 2011 version of the manual was discussion on social media about "policy directives, debates and implementations related to DHS." When asked, department spokesman Matthew Chandler said that in practice the program was limited to "social media monitoring for situational awareness only."Really?Ginger McCall, of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group that filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to gain access to the department's manual, is skeptical."The D.H.S. continues to monitor the Internet for criticism of the government," she told the Times. "This suspicion less, overbroad monitoring quells legitimate First Amendment activity and exceeds the agency's legal authority."  No doubt.



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18 comments on "FBI in The Process of Creating a System for Monitoring all Conversations on Social Networking Sites "

Anonymousq

August 14, 2013 2:19am

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital component to Internet marking success. First, it’s important for businesses to understand how search engines operate, in order to appreciate the complicated algorithms that are used to generate action.

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james2021

March 11, 2012 6:54pm

Any real terrorists will not likely use Facebook or Twitter to post their planning. If they do, it w0uld most likely be encripted. So our benevolent government is spying on the rest of us, for what reason? Very likely to see what Occupy Wall street is up to, and any other groups that do not appreciate our benevolent government. Want lots of warning if the sheep begin to become agitated. Looks like the US is becoming more and more like the Communists regimes of the 1950, 60 and 70s. And we the sheep continue to allow this to happen.

Mark Yungbluth

March 11, 2012 3:43pm

LONG LIVE BIG BROTHER! LONG LIVE BIG BROTHER!

Phineas

March 11, 2012 3:40pm

Looks like the "industry partners" AKA defense contractors and their friends in the FBI and the military are planning another mega flop system to blow hundreds of $millions of taxpayer money. Now that we know who runs this country - forget Congressional oversight or what the Constitution says - when Panetta testified last week he told us all we needed to hear about that.

These bozos are obviously embarking on another Trilogy screw up since it's obvious they don't even know what their requirements for such a system are. If the govenment can't articulate exactly what they want and how they want it to work, the contractors are only too happy to write you a plan and proposal for the biggest, most expensive boondoggle they can milk it for.

Based on their track record, don't hold your breath for the debut of this one. The FBI and their inept contractors blew hundreds of $millions on an unusable, unworkable "virtual case file system" called Trilogy and its sucessors. Nobody ever was held accountable for that mess and waste of taxpayer mony, and who knows if its successor ever worked at all? But you can be sure the contractors got paid. Here's what the Washington Post said about Trilogy back in 2006. http://www.zdnet.com/blog/government/saic-deserves-big-share-of-blame-fo...

Author Sherrie ...

March 11, 2012 3:36pm

Shoot, my post disappeared because they redirected me.
I will just re-post the links and tell you that this is not new and it can be very intimidating, esp. when people you know get visited by the FBI. Also, we got death threats and they mentioned names of people they were targeting. I also think the govt. paid Cubans to go and protest against us. They were allowed to have their signs on pointy sticks. We were not.
If you follow the links, you will also see that our govt. spend OUR tax dollars to do this work.
The first post is to a book that talks about FBI harrasment against protesters of the wars in Central America which I took part in. I am mentioned in there though not by name:
http://www.pathfinderpress.com/s.nl/it.A/id.701/.f
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO
http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/cointelpro/churchfinalreportIIIa.htm
Here is an excerpt from the preface of the Pathfinder book:
A measure of the changes in political consciousness in the years
since Cointelpro was exposed was the public outrage that greeted
the release of FBI documents detailing the agency’s undercover spy
operation against the Committee in Solidarity with the People of
El Salvador (CISPES).
The sharp reaction to this spy campaign was a product of the
change in awareness brought about by the SWP suit and other ini-
tiatives against the FBI, including the Cointelpro revelations. The
notion that people have the right to freedom of speech and associa-
tion, without their privacy being violated by snoops and finks, is
one that is more dearly held by far broader layers of the population
than ever before.
Nelson Blackstock
July 1988

gromoh@aol.com

Gromoh@aol.com

Ineptness before 9 11, yes, and we can thank all of them for changing our lives forever and that would be NSA Condi Rice along with those crackerjacks Cheney and W. I remember how proud he was that he could trim brush with his new chain saw!!!! That made the news all summer, everyday for two months...
Oh well let bygones be bygones. I have no problem with them checking my FB.

Traveler123

March 11, 2012 2:56pm

A corrupt government lives in constant terror of Truth. It must monitor all communications to discover, manipulate and silence Truth if it wants corruption to prevail.

BozoAdult

March 11, 2012 5:10pm

You pretty much nailed it.

Traveler123

March 11, 2012 2:54pm

A corrupt government lives in constant terror of Truth. It must monitor all communications to discover, manipulate and silence Truth if it wants corruption to prevail.

William Bednarz

March 11, 2012 1:03pm

fools - reading what other people want them to know . . . as if they were smart enough to tell the difference. . . . . read history before you start spying on citizens

Sageman69

March 11, 2012 12:29pm

Thanks for bringing this information foreward. Ever since the days of J Edgar, with his rants about the evils of communism, into the sixties and seventies with the FBI's monitoring of civilian mail during the Vietnam conflict, to the police state actions at Ruby Ridge and Waco, the FBI has had a central role in US history and politics. As an arm of the modern political state, we need to openly think about and address the role the FBI has played in numerous administrations and ask ourselves--does this agency serve democracy, or the interests of bureaucratic and civilian control of the population? Too often the FBI has historically reflected the thinking, mood and tenor of the times--from the G-men heroism during prohibition, to the information and bureaucratic ineptness leading up to 9 11. Now, with the War on Terror, we have more anxiety and rationale to monitor citizens despite the guarantees found in our constitution. When will we ever learn from our own history, and perhaps stop to think carefully and critically about our policies and their impact? Or is that too archaic a task for an ever chaotic and unmanageable 'constructed' modern society?

Cedar Cat

March 11, 2012 12:28pm

Big Brother has already arrived and is putting his fingers on more and more angles of communication. So, can they see inside our homes with our webcams? Orwell missed by 20 years, it wasn't 1984, it was 2002 forward.

Yes. They can see you through your webcams. It's an app. Also, hear you through any phone-even when it's hung up. Including your cell phone. Track your location? Please.

We have been toast for nearly a decade.

tpowen

March 11, 2012 11:46am

.

Lori Norman

March 11, 2012 10:53am

sorry for second post

Lori Norman

March 11, 2012 10:52am

An individual may say, “I do not care if the government listens in on my private conversations, I have nothing to hide”. The point is that at some point the individual may become dissatisfied with government, its regulations, or policies and want to speak out about it. The individual then will come under scrutiny by the government. It is at that time the government will use data collected through public monitoring of private communication to find the individual or individuals of like mind. The government will harass those they can and then prosecute those they cannot silence. The most resent evidence of such actions are those committed against the “occupy movement”.