December 29, 2011

Warning: Posting These Words on Facebook and Twitter Might Land You in Trouble With the Government

SOME OF  you will say, "I told you so."

New reports claim that the US government and the Department of Homeland Security, more specifically, are spying on Twitter and Facebook users who use "sensitive words."

The DHS has apparently created a watch list of words that are considered "sensitive," and simply using a single one could put you on the government's radar, according to the unofficial Twitter Resource, 'All Twitter.'

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, an online privacy advocacy group, is suing the DHS for the data that the Department has collected on Twitter and Facebook users. Their complaint claims that the DHS will begin monitoring social media sites in February in an effort to "store and analyze the information gathered, and then to disseminate relevant and appropriate de-identified information to federal, state, local and foreign governments and private sector partners."

And the ways in which the DHS is said to be spying on Twitter users are pretty nefarious.

For instance, the suit claims they are setting up fake profiles - like the ones that you normally brush off as spambots - to monitor individuals accounts.

Plus, they've created a database of keywords and phrases that stand out as sensitive, such as:
  • collapse
  • illegal immigrant
  • outbreak
  • human to animal
  • infection
  • trojan
  • drill
  • strain
  • virus

When the DHS finds an account using these words, they ostensibly record it and any personal information associated with it. But as with most things classified, the details are not exactly known.

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