Department of Homeland Security Contractor Monitored Social Networking Sites

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Official ...

Federal Contractor Monitored Social Network Sites, By Charlie Savage, New York Times,  January 13, 2012

The Department of Homeland Security paid a contractor in 2009 to monitor social networking sites — like Facebook, blogs and reader comments on a news article — to see how the residents of Standish, Mich., were reacting to a proposal to move detainees from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to a local prison there, according to newly disclosed documents. While it has long been known that the department monitors the Internet for information about emerging threats to public safety like a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, the documents show that its Social Networking/Media Capability program, at least in an early stage, was also focused on “public reaction to major governmental proposals with homeland security implications.” A department official said Friday that the social network monitoring program did not produce reports about public opinion, but instead focused exclusively on monitoring crises like hazardous material spills, shooting incidents and natural disasters. …

For full text of this article, Federal Contractor Monitored Social Network Sites – NYTimes.com.

How can DHS effectively use social media for rapid situational awareness to improve crisis response, while at the same time minimize the potential impact on privacy and first amendment rights? What do you think is the appropriate balance?

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4 responses to “Department of Homeland Security Contractor Monitored Social Networking Sites”

  1. Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne says :

    If one is posting to a publicly accessible web site isn’t this exactly what we want our government to do – listen to the concerns of the citizens?

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