Wait, You Mean Homeland Security Isn't Already Scanning Blogs & Forums For Terrorists?

from the uh,-yikes? dept

USA Today is reporting that Homeland Security is looking to start scanning blogs, forums and message boards to try to track terrorists and terrorist activity. My first reaction to this, honestly, was shock. Shouldn’t they have been doing this already? As in, for many, many years? To be fair, the article suggests that the real difference here is that in the past Homeland Security has done static searches that they check on every so often — and now they’re hoping for a more real-time solution. Even so, it strikes me as odd that Homeland Security didn’t already have something that was at least close to real-time in alerting them to certain things online. For all the talk of sophisticated monitoring on internet activities, could it be that we’re really that far behind in internet terrorist monitoring?

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Comments on “Wait, You Mean Homeland Security Isn't Already Scanning Blogs & Forums For Terrorists?”

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23 Comments
jonnyq says:

Re: Re:

People give the government too much credit. People have seen movies about how the government can know anything in an instant and they believe that’s how it really works.

I know the government has admitting to data mining and the excuse is that the data is so large it’s almost useless for anything except mining for certain bits of information. I don’t like that – not because I really thing they’re spying on things I do, but because they shouldn’t have the information.

No it doesn’t surprise me that the government hasn’t been savvy enough to check Google more often, but it is a little surprising they haven’t tried to create their own web crawler.

Bit Golem says:

The new Communism

Department of Homeland Security reminds me of Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Basopasnosti, or Committee for Government Security, our old buddies the KGB.
The whole lie that the US is at risk of terrorist attack is a tool to keep Americans focus away from the real issues we face. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the Government needed a new enemy. They tried drugs, but noone cared, so they created global terrorism.
Ask the Israelis, the Lebanese, the British… There is NO WAY to stop urban terrorism. If we were really at risk, shit would be happening every day in this country the way it is all over the world.

Martin Edic (Techrigy) (user link) says:

As someone whose company provides social media monitoring I’m not surprised that they are not deeply involved. These guys have too much on their plates and there is still a long way to go before the understanding of social media’s value sinks in. With the new administration I think we’ll see a change as they are much more tech-savvy.
And BTW, Google Alerts is a very limited tool that doesn’t pick up 95% of the conversations across the full range of social media sources.

Anonymous Coward says:

Really?

Complaining: [ trans. ] express dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event.

So tell me what is this: “Shouldn’t they have been doing this already? As in, for many, many years?”

And I used to live under that bridge in Minneapolis, but I had to move. Now living under the Bridge to Nowhere….

Anthony says:

Re: Really?

Well you had better not try to live under a bridge in Des Moines. Mayor and city council just tore down all their shanties by the river citing fire hazards due to one wood stove accident in a decade.

Now they are freezing to death. GG.

At any rate Homeland is watching chat rooms and things but not just for terrorists, they look for pedos and any other kind of cyber crime. They need to focus IMO or get out of the game and quit wasting our time and money. Not that stopping pedos isn’t a noble pursuit but we already have the FBI for that and like someone said above, you can’t really stop urban terrorism so if you’re going to spend money and time trying you had better make damn sure it’s the only thing you’re focused on.

Adolf von Wurttemberg says:

Chertoff and his goon squard

Homeland Security (“sic”) cannot do anything correctly. Why, just look at the (low-tech) New Orleans fiasco! These incompetent fools cannot do anything w/o screwing up and high tech is just totally beyond them. May they wallow and die in their stupidity. That will indeed happen because of the kind of “government” pseudo-mentalities (i.e. ‘warm bodies’) whom they hire. Why, just imagine these morons monitoring our e-mail. Gross incompetence!

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