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DHS Monitors Social Media For 'Political Dissent' 385

Posted by Soulskill
from the howdy-boys dept.
OverTheGeicoE writes "Recently, TSA's 'Blogger Bob' Burns posted a rant against a cupcake on the TSA blog. Perhaps it made you wonder if TSA and its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, really understand what we're saying about them, especially online. Well, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from the Electronic Privacy Information Center, we now know a lot more about how they monitor online comments aside from 'Blogger Bob.' EPIC has received hundreds of pages of documents regarding DHS's online surveillance program. These documents reveal that DHS has contracts with General Dynamics for '24/7 media and social network monitoring.' Perhaps it will warm your heart to know that DHS is particularly interested in tracking media stories that 'reflect adversely' on the U.S. government generally and DHS specifically. The documents include a report summary that might be representative of General Dynamics' work. The example includes summaries of comments on blogs and social networking sites, including quotes. Then again, you might remember J. Edgar Hoover's monitoring of antiwar activists during the Vietnam War, which certainly wasn't for the protesters' benefit."
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DHS Monitors Social Media For 'Political Dissent'

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  • by bonch (38532) * on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:19PM (#38702456)

    From the government that brought us flag@whitehouse.gov [politico.com]. "Homeland security" is a tool used by a media-obsessed administration to justify its ever-increasing intrusiveness. This kind of robotic behavior in which common sense isn't allowed to override unreasonable strictness isn't making us safer, but it is making us miserable. Terrorist attacks have the word "terror" in them for a reason. The killing of innocent victims is just a vehicle for the ultimate goal of instilling paranoia and apprehension to influence behavior, and now we're fretting over jarred cupcakes. Mission accomplished.

    • by ozmanjusri (601766) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (bob_eissua)> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:36PM (#38702574) Journal
      Why complain about the government?

      All social media sites are now just playgrounds for marketing teams. There are multi billion dollar indusries built around promoting products/slandering competitors while pretending to be part of the onine community. Most of the big tech companies use sockpuppet accounts to "manage discussion" on Slashdot already.

      Why would you care if the government joins them?

      • by bonch (38532) * on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:43PM (#38702618)

        You're asking me why I care about the government monitoring social media sites because you believe tech companies are paying for sockpuppets on Slashdot? Well, you win the blue ribbon for random rant of the day.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @10:21PM (#38703148)

        Because people trying to market things to me is just the way capitalism works. The government spying on you and monitoring you for political dissent is a TRUE invasion of privacy.

        Why people get so bent out of shape because some ads get shown to them will NEVER make sense to me. But the idea that the government spying on you is BETTER? Wow.

        • by ozmanjusri (601766) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (bob_eissua)> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @11:06PM (#38703326) Journal

          Because people trying to market things to me is just the way capitalism works. The government spying on you and monitoring you

          Your government has, and will continue to do many disgraceful things which invade your privacy and limit your freedoms, but In this instance, they're just monitoring public information. Your corporations are not only monitoring, they are actively influencing community discussions (using sockpuppet accounts) while pretending to be part of the community. That is decietful, and in many cases has effectively killed the community (ie, Digg).

          The point I'm making is that it doesn't matter if your government monitors/interferes in social media, because all social media sites are already infested and untrustworthy.

          • by geekmux (1040042) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @12:44AM (#38703762)

            Because people trying to market things to me is just the way capitalism works. The government spying on you and monitoring you

            Your government has, and will continue to do many disgraceful things which invade your privacy and limit your freedoms, but In this instance, they're just monitoring public information. Your corporations are not only monitoring, they are actively influencing community discussions (using sockpuppet accounts) while pretending to be part of the community. That is decietful, and in many cases has effectively killed the community (ie, Digg).

            The point I'm making is that it doesn't matter if your government monitors/interferes in social media, because all social media sites are already infested and untrustworthy.

            Yes, and the point the Government is trying to make here (which is clearly working), is that they can easily take small "innocent" baby steps like this, just as they been doing for the last 20 years, and eventually it will lead to the flock of sheep blindly following without question or much resistance. The way things are going, you'll either be a blind and obedient servant, or you'll be behind bars for being anything but, especially after turning incarceration into a profitable business model. And they've already proven that resistance is futile, based on the utter failures (OWS) to even exercise our right to peaceful assembly. Seems we're not even allowed to do that without it turning into a taser-firing, club-throwing, pepper-spraying good time.

            It's so damn ironic that we sit back and laugh at other countries massive moves to oppress or control their citizens, smiling under a cloud of illusion and ignorance that a 200-year old document that framed our Rights actually still means something, or that our own Government isn't guilty of attempting to do the exact same thing.

            This model has always been along the lines of death by 1,000 cuts. We cannot continue to be so blind to yet another "slip" of the proverbial knife. It won't be the last if the masses continue to ignore it.

      • by geekmux (1040042) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @12:34AM (#38703722)

        Why complain about the government?

        All social media sites are now just playgrounds for marketing teams. There are multi billion dollar indusries built around promoting products/slandering competitors while pretending to be part of the onine community. Most of the big tech companies use sockpuppet accounts to "manage discussion" on Slashdot already.

        Why would you care if the government joins them?

        I'll stop caring once I have a proven, valid, and honest answer from the Government as to why they are wasting tax dollars data mining "playgrounds for marketing teams". If it's so "innocent", then why do they care enough to waste a few billion jumping in these discussions? Perhaps that is the more prudent question to ask and focus on.

        • by causality (777677) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @01:39AM (#38703916)

          Why complain about the government?

          All social media sites are now just playgrounds for marketing teams. There are multi billion dollar indusries built around promoting products/slandering competitors while pretending to be part of the onine community. Most of the big tech companies use sockpuppet accounts to "manage discussion" on Slashdot already.

          Why would you care if the government joins them?

          I'll stop caring once I have a proven, valid, and honest answer from the Government as to why they are wasting tax dollars data mining "playgrounds for marketing teams". If it's so "innocent", then why do they care enough to waste a few billion jumping in these discussions? Perhaps that is the more prudent question to ask and focus on.

          No shit. "Well it's all public data anyway, no expectation of privacy, so neener!" Yeah, that does explain how they can easily do it. It does not explain why they care to and what they hope to accomplish. The former is not an effective dismissal of the latter no matter how hard you try.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:48PM (#38702638)

      You're so right!

      -The Choir

      For the exception the occasional "law and order" conservative, very few of us here will disagree with you. Here's the thing, I know many people who think the government is really out to protect us. They really think that this monitoring of us is necessary and that if you do nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about - really, I'm paraphrasing a programmer I used to work with and she's actually quite talented, too.

      This security theater appeals to many people's emotional need to feel safe and there's no reasoning with them. I would be surprised if intelligence has anything to do with it because I've this fear pervade all levels of society. And as a democracy, excuse me, a republic, we are doomed to live under the tyranny of the scared huddled masses who feed off of the fear that is fed them by an irresponsible, profit hungry, corrupt media.

      History is loaded with examples of people using people's fear to override their reason and their intellect. It has worked since the beginning of history and it saddens me that it will be true until the day we are extinct.

      • It's called White Knight Syndrome: a lot of males grow up being taught that certain things "need" their protection, but are not given an outlet for this impulse. Consequently, they go on to try and assuage this impulse by finding all sorts of "causes" or "victims" where they can play the hero. In short, they're idealists, but instead of joining the rebel's cause, they joined the empire's.

        And in order for this fantasy to survive in their minds, the people they are protecting must "need" their help, but be co

        • by Culture20 (968837)

          If you pointed out that they remind you of one of the insane characters from Lexx's third season (Fire and Water), they'd have no idea what you're talking about.

          Only because no one watched Lexx beyond one episode. Most people don't even know what it is (is it a car wax?).

    • by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:36PM (#38702918)

      Terrorist attacks have the word "terror" in them for a reason. The killing of innocent victims is just a vehicle for the ultimate goal of instilling paranoia and apprehension to influence behavior, and now we're fretting over jarred cupcakes.

      Who is fretting? It's plausible that the dimwits at TSA have been brainwashed to be genuinely terrified of the world, but I don't believe the scared masses exist, and if they do it's a result of the paranoia instilled by the US government and not some angry muppets on the other side of the world. NOBODY I've talked to or know of is personally concerned about exploding cupcakes or nail-files being used to break down the cabin door. It's bullshit and it's time to treat it as such.

      • by quarkscat (697644) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @12:19AM (#38703688)

        Ten years ago, 19 hijackers armed only with box-cutters, took over 4 commercial aircraft and 3 of 4 of them into USA militarily & economically sensitive sites while eluding the entire NORAD defense organization, causing nearly 3 thousand deaths. At least, that is the official conspiracy theory, that through a series of extraordinary coincidences in near-perfect alignment, 9/11/2001 "just happened", "and that no one had any idea that such an event was even possible."

        Ignored, discounted, and not investigated were such factors as (1) the USA 'Visa Express' program based in Saudi Arabia was used to bring Islamist fighters to the USA for military training for many years and, (2) the fact that at least 8 of 19 hijackers were still alive in the ME and merely victims of identity theft, (3) that 3 office towers built from concrete, steel, & glass fell symmetrically within their own footprints at very nearly the acceleration of gravity in a vacuum, and (4) that senior Bush regime officials were collaborators & signatories to the PNAC document which called for global military hegemony subsequent to a "new Pearl Harbor".

        I don't mean to sound callus about the loss of those 3,000 people on 9/11/2001, but 200,000+ people per year die from tobacco-related illnesses, and 20,000+ people per year die from alcohol-related traffic accidents. We Americans have surrendered our birthright Constitution & Bill of Rights, and have waged "preemptive wars" for the past 10 years in 6+ countries, costing over $1.2 Trillion and over 5,000 servicemen killed & 100,000+ GIs seriously wounded. In all that 10 year period, no additional domestic terrorist attacks by foreign islamic terrorists have ever been consummated, and each serious attack attempted have been thwarted by alert civilians, not the USA police state.

        How has this vast expenditure of blood & treasure, of the loss of individual freedoms, liberties, and inalienable rights, been worth the minimal risk of new domestic terrorist attacks? I don't see the value ...
             

        • by Erikderzweite (1146485) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @04:36PM (#38708098)

          Shadowy government agent #1: "We need more oil. Let's invade Iraq."

          Shadowy government agent #2: "We need an excuse first."

          Agent #1: "OK - let's rig the Twin Towers with explosives, making sure none of the thousands of people who work there sees us doing it. Then let's brainwash some Saudis to hijack two planes and fly them into the towers. Then we'll set off the charges and collapse the buildings."

          Agent #2: "Why bother with making sure the buildings collapse? Plenty of people will die when they fly planes into them. That should get the world on our side."

          Agent #1 "Because there won't be enough people in on the conspiracy with just a simple kamikaze attack. We want to have hundreds of contractors, suppliers, demolition experts, security guards, fire department personnel, building supervisors, etc, etc to bribe to keep quiet for at least ten years."

          Agent #2: "Um, OK. Shall we attack another building too?"

          Agent #1: "Yes. Let's fire a cruise missile at the Pentagon during morning rush hour."

          Agent #2: "Not in the middle of the night when no one would see it?"

          Agent #1: "No."

          Agent #2: "But there'll be lots of witnesses."

          Agent #1: "Don't worry. We'll pay them all to say it was a Boeing 757. And we'll knock down some lampposts on the highway overpass too, because I've just realised a cruise missile doesn't have the same wingspan as a 757. Oh, and we'll confiscate some CCTV footage to make people think we're hiding something."

          Agent #2: "But don't we always confiscate CCTV footage when we're investigating something?"

          Agent #1: "Yes. But this time, for some reason, it'll be suspicious."

          Agent #2: “But if we fire a cruise missile, that would leave a 757 unaccounted for.”

          Agent #1: “No problem. We’ll just hijack one ourselves and fly it somewhere like Andrews Air Force Base or Area 51 or somewhere like that, dismantle it, kill all the passengers, burn the luggage and then transport all the wreckage to the Pentagon to scatter around as evidence.”

          Agent #2: “I see.”

          Agent #1: “Also, because the towers have a lightweight steel tube framework to allow them to sway in the wind, and the Pentagon is made of reinforced concrete, a lot of LiveLeak users will be confused by the different impact shapes. So they’ll be happy to believe in the cruise missile.”

          Agent #2: “Um.”

          Agent #1: “What’s up?”

          Agent #2: “Why don’t we just, er, actually fly another plane into the Pentagon? I mean, by that stage people will already have seen two jumbo jets fly into the Twin Towers, so I don’t see the problem with using a third.”

          Agent #1: “For Christ’s sake, how many times do I have to tell you? We want things as complicated as possible so clever people on the internet can spot the holes in our plans.”

          Agent #2: “Ah, right.. Sorry. OK, I’ll go get the brainwashing machine and kidnap some Saudis, then we’re good to go.

    • by kheldan (1460303) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:37PM (#38702932) Journal
      Hear, hear.

      To those of you who still have your heads in the sand: Do you at least begin to see now, that the so-called "war on terror" is a bad joke, because the so-called "terrorists" have already won -- and our own government are now the terrorists?

      This shit has got to stop. NOW.
    • by Gideon Wells (1412675) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:48PM (#38702984)

      The government has been doing this for decades, i.e. the comments about Hoover. The old joke that there were more CIA agents in the Communist Party at one point than communists.

      The tools change is all. The only worrying thing is how flippant and overt the government is becoming about this. It is like they don't even want to bother pretending to do this covertly any more.

      • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @10:57PM (#38703286) Homepage Journal

        The McCarthy days. That's exactly what came to my mind, when I read the title, and then the summary. Back then, there was a Commie hiding on every corner, now it's a terrorist. And, yes, it's all bullshit.

        • The McCarthy era also provides a lot of counterexamples to the argument 'I'm not doing anything I'm ashamed of, why should I care?' Consider the person who, during the Second World War was involved with a charity to send aid to parts of Russia recovering from the Nazi invasion. At the time, the USSR and the USA were allies. These people were involved in sending food and medical supplies to one of their allies in a time of war: surely nothing to be ashamed of? But then, just a little bit later, the USSR
      • by theNAM666 (179776) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @02:50AM (#38704148)

        >The old joke that there were more CIA agents in the Communist Party at one point than communists.

        Well, that's perhaps the joke. The simple reality is that there *were* more FBI (NSA, etc-- CIA could not operate on US soil, and most of the actual time period was pre-FBI/NSA etc) paid informants in the Communist Party, than actual non-paid members. Go figure :).

    • Gasp the government is monitoring public information!
      No we want a government that will only listen to its fan mail and not go to the sites that say something bad. If you are complaining about the government you should be happy they are listening to you.
      Also if the government is going to monitor against threats agains it's own country, I would expect you get more info from places where there is negative information.
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:28PM (#38702504)

    This is a quote from a friend's mother, shortly after 9/11, in response to the absurd increase in airport security procedures. As long as people are willing to trade freedom for security, DHS and its ilk will prosper.

    • by n5vb (587569)

      The fact that many people believe it doesn't make it true.

      Personally, I' don't want to feel "safe" if it means I'm not paying attention to threats I shouldn't ignore. And given current trends, I feel far more threatened by the government of my own country than I ever did by swarthy bearded foreign terrorists..

    • by dmbasso (1052166) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:35PM (#38702914)

      As long as people are willing to trade freedom for illusion of security, DHS and its ilk will prosper.

      There, FTFY.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is the triumph of feelings over reality. Build a huge security apparatus that does nothing for the reality of more security, as long as it makes people FEEL safer. Punish people who dare to say things that are true, but might make someone FEEL bad.

      When you put feelings over reality, you live as much in a fog as any religion-obsessed friar in the Dark Ages did.

      I long to see anyone running for office stand up and say "To hell and gone with your FEELINGS." Or perhaps, "No, I don't FEEL your pain!"

      Fuck

    • by dragonhunter21 (1815102) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:50PM (#38702994) Journal

      This doesn't make me feel "safe". It makes me feel like a prisoner in my own country.

    • by Bacon Bits (926911) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @11:56PM (#38703574)

      Every time I read one of these stories I think of two things.

      One is the full quote from my signature (damn Slashdot's absurdly short truncation):
      "The road to tyranny has always been paved with claims of necessity made by those responsible for the security of a nation." -- Alan Dershowitz

      The second is that the founding fathers of the United States did not fear Terrorism. They feared tyranny. All the famous phrases from the American Revolution are phrases attacking unjust laws, unjust abridgment of rights by the sovereign government with no redress, and general what-the-fuck-King-George-edness. And don't say the early Americans had no knowledge of the evils of Terrorism. I'm sure every one of them could remember, remember the fifth of November [wikipedia.org].

      It's getting to the point that the DHS is calling anything the directors of the DHS don't like "Terrorism". The whole problem is the damn word. It's meaningless. It means "something that is intended to cause general fear or panic". Gee, that's as clear as a summer day in San Francisco [wikipedia.org]. You know what we used to call the types of events like Oklahoma City and 9/11 before we called them Terrorism? Because they did happen before, and the word 'terrorism'. If the person committing the act was a citizen, we called it Treason. If the person committing the act was a foreign national, we called it an Act of War. Personally, I find those terms a whole lot easier to manage in my head. It makes it really clear what the problem is. Because "causing fear" is too damn easy to do. Hollywood makes millions of dollars a year "causing fear". We have an entire holiday dedicated to how fun it is to "cause fear". Anthropologists and behaviorists will tell us that fear is one of the most primal and varied motivators. You can't make a law against making someone afraid any more than you can make a law against making someone cry. Not that some asshole isn't trying to do exactly that as we speak, I've no doubt.

      Congress, the Presidency (the office, not just the man), the DHS specifically, and the TSA most especially have embraced ambiguous language, ambiguous laws, and inconsistent and ever-changing standards. They are using them as an excuse to police and confuse the citizens of this country in ways which the founding fathers found so onerous that they chose to take up arms against. One of the first acts of which was citizens storming a military fort to steal the cannons [wikipedia.org]. To our founding fathers, treason and acts of war were less distasteful than the continued governance of a tyrant.

  • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:31PM (#38702524)

    DHS = STASI. And this is just the beginning. When it comes to the US government you can never be too paranoid. Yet another reason not to use facebook. But it's not just facebook I bet. Forums like this or any forums critical of the TSA are obviously being monitored for dissent. For 'domestic extremists', which really means anyone who would advocates abolishing the TSA or DHS.

    • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:35PM (#38702560)

      We haven't reached that point yet, but if people in general continue to accept the intrusions as necessary, I'm not sure what short of civil war will stop it.

      • by Smallpond (221300) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:01PM (#38702734) Homepage Journal

        We haven't reached that point yet, but if people in general continue to accept the intrusions as necessary, I'm not sure what short of civil war will stop it.

        Would it be OK if we try writing letters to our representatives first?

        Here's a start

        Dear Congressman Cashdrawer,

        As you know, the Air Marshall service is currently patting itself on the back for scrambling fighter jets tp save us from a guy who lit a cigarette in an airplane toilet. Also, an alert screener helped prevent obesity by confiscating a cupcake with an excessive amount of "gel-like" frosting. Despite these major successes, there is reason to be concerned about how funds are being spent by TSA. Although Facebook may well be a threat to "Life as we know it" it seems that the TSA does not understand its mission. It is monitoring social media sites looking for "reports that reflect adversely on the U.S. Government, DHS, or prevent, protect, respond government activities" (sic). However, the purpose of TSA is not to protect itself or the US Government, it is to protect the American people. Please do your F***ing job.

        Thank you

        • Make an appointment to visit their office. Then they know you're not just someone who dashed off an email casually.

          I wonder if visiting their campaign staff would have more effect.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes, that is indeed true. And it will also be a convenient make-work program for troops returning from war, so they will be fed and have less reasons to betray their traitorous government.

      Here is a list of the websites to be monitored:
      Social approach, go.usa.gov, wikileaks, cryptome, Google Blog Search, Technorati, Foreign Policy Passport, Wired's Danger Room and Threat Level blogs, Homeland Security Today, NTARC, LA Now, NY Times Lede Blog, STRATFOR, Drudge Report, Huffington Post, BNONews, MEMRI, Inf
      • by whoever57 (658626)
        Where is /. in that list? They want to monitor people critical of the government but miss /. in favor of the Drudge Report?
    • by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:43PM (#38702616)

      Actually, it is possible (and indeed quite easy!) to be overly paranoid. For example, when you start comparing the DHS to an organization that routinely executed dissidents, that's being too paranoid.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Things don't happen overnight, the transformations are gradual so as not to alarm any target demographics. By the time America has its own version of Krystallnacht, [wikipedia.org] it will be too late. That famous saying, "First they came for the..." saying comes to mind, though of course it will apply to the blanket label "terrorist" and not any one demographic.

        There is a trend here, and that trend is certainly heading towards a Gestapo / Stasi-like situation. Taking into account that trend with the assumption that it
        • by hedwards (940851)

          That's a slippery slope argument, it could prove to be true, however there's nothing inherent about our current situation that suggest that it will continue unchecked for 10, 20 or more years. Eventually people will forget why it is that we're putting up with this bullshit. Starting in 2019 we'll start to have voters who were born after 9/11 and even those who were born as late as 1997 are probably not going to be emotionally wrapped up in it the way that people of our age or older are.

          Think about Pearl Har

          • by GaryOlson (737642) <slashdot&garyolson,org> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:21PM (#38702844) Journal
            Those same voters born after 9/11 will have developed their mindset in society infused with "terror awareness". To those who have never lived in a different societal norm, the incursions on our liberties will only seem natural. This group will also lack the firsthand stories, with the emotional impact from grandparents, who survived truly desperate times.

            The US has a pattern of desperate times approximately every 80 years:
            Revolutionary War to Civil War (four score and seven years)
            Civil War to Great Depression
            Great Depression to the current Great Terrorist Attacks

            The continuing degradation of our Rights in bits and pieces is just part of a larger pattern and cycle the US cannot seem to escape.
          • It doesn't take 10, 20, or more years. Adolph and his thugs worked hard to get where they could stage their Kristallnacht. Let's call it 5 years of serious groundwork, followed up with a metamorphic event.

      • by jamstar7 (694492) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:59PM (#38702718)

        Actually, it is possible (and indeed quite easy!) to be overly paranoid. For example, when you start comparing the DHS to an organization that routinely executed dissidents, that's being too paranoid.

        When the government has created an end run around the Constitiution & habeas corpus, the proper question is, "Are we paranoid enough?"

        Gitmo is still in business. Extreme rendition is a fact of life. And what with the US trying to extradite a UK citizen from the UK for trial in the US for something that happened in the UK, when the government of the UK refused to prosecute him for said 'crime', I think we all need to ask that question.

        • by SalsaDoom (14830)

          And what with the US trying to extradite a UK citizen from the UK for trial in the US for something that happened in the UK, when the government of the UK refused to prosecute him for said 'crime', I think we all need to ask that question.

          This happened in Canada too, with Mark Emory.

          Our Government shipped out him nice and proper. Its illegal to do that in Canada, according to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but no one here is actually read that interesting little document. At least in the US, people have heard of the Constitution.

      • by AHuxley (892839) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @11:14PM (#38703358) Homepage Journal
        What to do with dissidents? A body in the ground is useless unless they talked to the press. A body in a cell for 10-15 years is of value to private US prison investors, as prison labor, as a warning to others.
        The East Germans did kill dissidents in the West, but at home they like to mess with peoples minds long term- tell a joke 10 years, protest 10++ years, cover for an escape ect.
        You also lost your job, risked your wider family and friends been pulled down with you.
        If you did "hang yourself" during protective custody - a sealed coffin and no questions.
        If a family member got to the West and made problems, they did like to use family/friends who where left behind.
        Set up a meeting in the West (visa out), tell us when and where and your free...
        Your child will not disappear into state care ...
        As for the US, the no fly list is a start, freezing bank accounts, targeted raids over state or federal laws, diesel therapy (shackled and been being transported from prison to prison over weeks, months), does your lawyer have a security clearance, psychiatric care...
      • by guspasho (941623) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @12:15AM (#38703670)

        Apparently you haven't heard of Anwar al-Awlaki.

    • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki AT cox DOT net> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:45PM (#38702970)

      Oh jesus crust.

      No. No. no. no no no no no no no no.

      First off, the DHS isn't that evil

      Second off, STASI isn't that bumbling and stupid.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:32PM (#38702534)

    "Paranoia doesn't mean the whole world isn't out to get you."

    I think Slashdot has become self aware.

  • by GaryOlson (737642) <slashdot&garyolson,org> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:32PM (#38702536) Journal
    The Gestapo (; abbreviation of Geheime Staatspolizei, Secret State Police) was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning in April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police (Chef der Deutschen Polizei). From September 1939 forward it was administered by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) ("Reich Main Security Office") and was considered a sister organization of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) ("Security Service") and also a suboffice of the Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo) ("security police").
    • Re:History ryhmes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GaryOlson (737642) <slashdot&garyolson,org> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:37PM (#38702578) Journal
      By posting an equivalency between the Nazi Germany Gestapo and the US Department of Homeland Security, I am declaring myself as belligerent. As such, according to recent legislation, this US citizen may be subject to military detainment without counsel or trial. Please inform my .......
    • by khipu (2511498)

      I think the DHS should be scaled back and reined in, but this is really over the top. DHS can monitor, but they can do very little with the information, and furthermore DHS isn't using secret information when they are monitoring social media sites.

  • anonymous speech (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    this is why free speech can sometimes necessitate anonymous speech. Tt seems that the people in charge of the government are fearing revolution by the people more each and every day to me.

  • ...so they can truly grasp the disdain they have earned.

    SOPA? Really?
  • that our fears about SOPA are overblown!

    right.

  • Hey DHS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noah69 (1083017) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:38PM (#38702584)

    Here's some dissent for you: Fuck You. Fuck you and everything related to this systematic destruction of civil liberties in the US.

    • Re:Hey DHS (Score:5, Funny)

      by Noah69 (1083017) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:40PM (#38702596)

      Oh, in case I didn't get their attention: I'm an Islamic terrorist socialist nazi communist with bombs. Yeah, bombs. Also Obama. Did I mention bombs?
      Hope their filters work well enough.

  • Monitoring is fine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:41PM (#38702600)

    I'd expect them to read postings and keep an eye out for people threatening violence. That's a good thing. If someone stands up in a town square and yells that they're going to go shoot the mayor, I'd expect cops to take note. Where it becomes bad is if they harass or in any way mistreat people who aren't threatening violence. Is there any evidence that they're doing that?

    • by jamstar7 (694492) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:04PM (#38702748)
      Three words. 'Free Speech Zone'.

      Unconstitutional, of course (violated the protestor's right to freedom of assembly at the place they wanted to assembe at), but highly effective. Got the protesters away from the action and away from the camera where they could be ignored and/or beaten into a pulp.
      • by artor3 (1344997)

        Yup, and that's a terrible thing. But does it have anything to do with this story? The abuses of protestors are being carried out by cops, frequently at the behest of mayors and other local leaders. Leaders who, as local politicians, are extremely vulnerable to local movements to force them out of office. And yet no one seems to talk or care about local politics, preferring to focus their outrage on groups like the TSA and DHS. Groups which really aren't doing all that much harm... lots of expensive, i

  • Cupcakegate? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    That must have passed me by.

    I can see why they'd show their reasoning behind it, so I can't really say they're "ranting" about it. Imagine if the TSA had to "rant" about every single one of their decisions they made? Wouldn't that be the transparency behind their decisions that we're hoping for?

    The tone of the cupcake blog post seems a bit harsh, but the information conveyed and the link to past events which helped support such thinking is one I wish would come up in every single complaint we have against t

  • by 7-Vodka (195504) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:44PM (#38702630) Journal
    Vote Ron Paul 2012
  • Just start adding this in everything you post online:

    #PBUH #S.A.W.W.

    If you wanna get really creative, add the full phrases in Modern Standard Arabic.

  • The agency plans to create fictitious user accounts and scan posts of users for key terms

    Isn't creating an account in a fictitious name illegal? Haven't people been prosecuted for this?

  • by forkfail (228161) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:00PM (#38702728)

    ... who honestly could not have seen this coming?

  • by guttentag (313541) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:49PM (#38702988) Journal
    I think they're missing the mark here. Just because social networks are juicy, low-hanging fruit doesn't mean they're going to find terrorists using them. Aren't most terrorists characterized by their anti-social behavior? People who have lots of social connections are less likely to have a desire to carry out a terrorist attack than someone who is isolated, anti-social and bitter. They're not going to find a terrorist plot posted on someone's wall with a time stamp and a description of the atrocities the person is mulling over. They ought to be looking at sites frequented by anti-social people who are isolated and bitter, like Sl... On second thought, Facebook sounds like a great resource to monitor!
  • by headhot (137860) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @10:11PM (#38703112) Homepage

    DHS was going to monitor Islamic sites, but they couldn't figure out all the squigglies. Since the equipment was already bought, and the contract to their buddies were already handed out, they figured, fuck it, we'll us it to monitor Americans. At least we can understand the language.

  • In all fairness to DHS and its potential intentions, there isn't necessarily anything nefarious about the mere act of monitoring social media. What if the intent of the monitoring is introspective, actively seeking out criticisms of their performance with the intention of improving it?

    I'm not saying the intent actually is that noble, but it could be, lacking damning proof to the contrary.

  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @11:17PM (#38703376)
    From almost 1 year ago: http://crooksandliars.com/suzanne-ito/new-national-security-distraction [crooksandliars.com]

    Yesterday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of Nick George, a Pomona College student who was detained and aggressively interrogated by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) authorities, by the FBI and by Pennsylvania police when he tried to board a plane carrying Arabic language flash cards.

    You heard right: Not liquids, not matches, not a bomb. Flash cards.

    George, a physics major who's studying Arabic, was pulled aside for secondary screening at the Philadelphia International Airport as he tried to go through security. When he emptied his pockets, the inspector saw his flash cards and he was arrested, handcuffed, locked in a cell for hours and aggressively questioned. Because of some flash cards.

    The following exchange took place between George and a TSA supervisor who questioned him:

    TSA Supervisor: You know who did 9/11?

    George: Osama bin Laden.

    TSA Supervisor: Do you know what language he spoke?

    George: Arabic.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @11:57AM (#38706284) Homepage Journal

    ...Is another man's "domestic terrorism", or "hate speech".. or several other labels that lets the government take it down, and detain the writer/contributors ( and soon.. mere readers of such forbidden fruit )

    All for your protection.. save the children.. !

  • by sjames (1099) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @04:32PM (#38708074) Homepage

    How about some real security? Security from unemployment, from medical bankruptcy, from foreclosure.

    We could have spent a third of that 1.6 Trillion to give us security from crumbling infrastructure (and make a good dent in unemployment). Security from insurance of all kinds reneging on the deal as soon as a claim is filed would be good.

    How about some financial security for middle class households? Why doesn't the 'family values' party value the family enough to make sure the parents have time to be with their kids and that it's not spent worrying about the mortgage?

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.

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