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?

Filed Under: blogs, comments, forums, homeland security, monitoring, terrorists


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  • identicon
    ryan, 24 Dec 2008 @ 5:19am

    Considering everything else that the government is behind on, this would be fitting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Dec 2008 @ 5:33am

    They could have been doing it in real-time for a while, but maybe now there just announcing it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Dec 2008 @ 5:38am

    i find that hard to believe, that or every one in the word gives the US (government) too much credit.


    no offense intended any one

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      jonnyq, 24 Dec 2008 @ 6:44am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anthony, 24 Dec 2008 @ 5:40am

    Until now they have been diligently surveiling America's bank teller drive thru's because the tubes are clear so they can see any threats easily. We all know that the internet is a series of tubes...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael Lockyear, 24 Dec 2008 @ 5:45am

    2 words...

    Google Alerts!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Haywood, 24 Dec 2008 @ 5:56am

    My favorite hangout might be watched

    It is really just a bunch of aging yuppies trying to out do each other in cars, guns and women, frequently posting pictures of all of that. After a while of hanging there, it is just normal, but a gung-ho agent stumbling into it could misread the content, especially the guns.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ben, 24 Dec 2008 @ 6:33am

    They have been

    They've been using private companies to do the fancy stuff for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lonnie E. Holder, 24 Dec 2008 @ 6:40am

    Maybe they suspect bingo parlors...

    Homeland Security is really a bunch of gung-ho kids who assumed that no one would ever use the internet to plot terrorist activities because everyone is assuming that someone is monitoring the internet...it would be too obvious, yes?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bit Golem, 24 Dec 2008 @ 6:55am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Vincent Clement, 24 Dec 2008 @ 8:57am

    Security Theatres Becomes Reality

    On January 6, 2009, security theatre will go big time with it's own TV show, Homeland Security USA. Aye carumba.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Dec 2008 @ 11:52am

      Re: Security Theatres Becomes Reality

      It'll be like COPS! except that the people on camera will have no idea what they've done or what this man is beating them senseless.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Martin Edic (Techrigy), 24 Dec 2008 @ 9:24am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    weneedhelp, 24 Dec 2008 @ 10:33am

    The NSA's Secret Spy Room at AT&T

    Dont kid yourselves, they have been collecting ALL phone/Internet traffic for years. Follow the link in my username.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    weneedhelp, 24 Dec 2008 @ 10:34am

    EFF Press Conference After NSA Wiretapping Court Hearing

    Dont kid yourselves, they have been collecting ALL phone/Internet traffic for years. Follow the link in my username. 2009 WILL BE 1984.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Dec 2008 @ 11:26am

    Really?

    This is rich!

    I don't know how many posts I have seen on Techdirt complaining about all the nasty spying the govt. has been doing.

    And now complaining that the govt. is not spying on the Internet.

    P.S. No doubt a post will appear in 2009 complaining that the govt. is spying on the Internet!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    don, 24 Dec 2008 @ 9:33pm

    how many is "many, many years"?

    Let's see, it's been 7 years since 9/11/2001. That to me is a "few" years. It's certainly not "many, many years" - 100 years might be "many, many years."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Dec 2008 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: 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....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anthony, 25 Dec 2008 @ 9:15am

      Re: Re: 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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Adolf von Wurttemberg, 26 Dec 2008 @ 9:13am

    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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    pughmeister, 28 Dec 2008 @ 7:09am

    It's all in the clouds

    This is only the beginning of something that began long ago. Data mining is alive and well in the Google -Amazon Cloud, This is where we are going right? Cloud computing and data mining, through social networks?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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