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DHS Monitors Social Media For 'Political Dissent'

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the howdy-boys dept.

Security 385

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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Mission accomplished (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702456)

From the government that brought us [] . "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.

Re:Mission accomplished (5, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702574)

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?

Re:Mission accomplished (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Mission accomplished (1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 2 years ago | (#38702786)

Attempting to label his comment offtopic and subtly ridiculing him with the phrase

...because you believe tech companies are paying for sockpuppets...

as well as the term "random rant" doesn't change the fact that corporations and even the government are, in fact, attempting to influence forum participants with astroturfing and sockpuppetry. Just ask HBGary.

We understand why you may feel strongly about this, given that you are a obvious known shill of some sort. Do not attempt to mess with us or we will crap all over your face.

Re:Mission accomplished (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | about 2 years ago | (#38702964)

> you win the blue ribbon for random rant of the day

This is /.. To quote Jack Palance, "the day ain't over yet..."

Re:Mission accomplished (0, Troll)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702664)

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.

Do you actually have any proof of this? Going by your post history, it looks like you're basing this on personal hatred of Apple and any pro-Apple posts. But couldn't your pro-Android posts just as easily be construed as paid-for posts by Google? Why does Google/Android evangelism on Slashdot escape your accusations?

Hell, did you read the comments to the Google FTC antitrust investigation [] article? The first 50 posts are almost all upmodded conspiratorial accusations against Microsoft! None of them actually respond to the facts of the story.

Re:Mission accomplished (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702854)

So poster on libtard web site says pay no attention to asshole government, only focus on asshole corporations. What a shocker.

Re:Mission accomplished (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702956)

Congratulations, you're the most worthless retarded faggot on the planet for publicly making such a apathetic comment.

"Aussie Bob", huh? Go the fuck back to Australia, why don't you? We don't need people like you here in the U.S.

The Slashdot Choir Responds (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Mission accomplished (5, Insightful)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Mission accomplished (5, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | about 2 years ago | (#38702932)

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.

Re:Mission accomplished (3, Interesting)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

"You have to make people feel safe" (5, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:"You have to make people feel safe" (2)

n5vb (587569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702702)

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..

Re:"You have to make people feel safe" (5, Insightful)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 2 years ago | (#38702914)

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

There, FTFY.

Re:"You have to make people feel safe" (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702986)

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 feelings. The wolves gnawing on your vitals don't give a damn how you feel, only how you taste.

Re:"You have to make people feel safe" (4, Insightful)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | about 2 years ago | (#38702994)

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

DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (5, Insightful)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (5, Informative)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702734)

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

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702894)

I think we have reached that point. Google "cognitively infiltrate" and "persona management" First term concerns strategy, the second term concerns implementation.

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (3, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702582)

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,, 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, Informed Consent, Homeland Security Watch(listed twice, heh), Borderfire Report, ABCNews blotter, WireUpdate, RSSOwl, and Twitter.

I'd be damn surprised to learn that it won't end there.

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (2)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702680)

Where is /. in that list? They want to monitor people critical of the government but miss /. in favor of the Drudge Report?

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (1, Offtopic)

deniable (76198) | about 2 years ago | (#38702752)

Damn, Slashdot isn't cool any more.

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702958)

Oh, STRATFOR is finally back online?

And, really, Twitter? Don't the Vengeful Librarians already have that covered? Or is this the English language Twitter reading group that DHS is creating?

So, why aren't they reading Stormfront or the smaller fora of your local Aryan Christian Anti-Masonic Teutonic Supersonic Knights of the Deeply Compensating Temple of the Rosy Cross and White Garter chapter? I mean, if I wanted to catch someone who was up to some political dissent, I'd probably look into the heavily armed guys whose main goal in life is to "purify" the country and carve runes into the charred bones of anyone less "white" than your average Dutchman. Or what about the networks of "prior-military" guys who spend all their time on lesser-known fora discussing the latest evidence for why 9-11 was a giant false-flag conspiracy involving thousands upon thousands of people who never spilled a bean, yet whose mistakes are so evident if you just look at things the right way? Dude, not even Prison Planet? You know Tyler's going to be pissed that ZeroHedge didn't make the list (long gold and short the Red Shields, bitchez).

Why are the reading the fucking HuffPo and Drudge? They're just echo chambers for one of the two most mainstream positions. Why read the obvious and common when you're looking for dissent? Your true dissenters are consummate experts in paranoia and alternative belief systems and Mayan prophecies: they'd never be caught in such vulgar hangouts as Wired's Danger Room.

This smells like more security theater.

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (3, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#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:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (3, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702652)

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, [] 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 will be unchecked, where do you think we'll be in 10 years? 20? 30?

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702698)

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 Harbor, I'm guessing you don't really relate to it any better than I do, for us it's essentially just a historical fact.

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (4, Informative)

GaryOlson (737642) | about 2 years ago | (#38702844)

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.

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (0)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702732)

Every time you lie and claim that the US is just like Nazi Germany, you send a clear signal to everyone listening that you're a crazy person who should be ignored, or maybe even locked up to prevent you from harming yourself or others. You can oppose bad policy without lying about it.

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#38703034)

Every time you lie and claim that the US is just like Nazi Germany

Yeah, Nazi Germany in 1933 was exactly like Nazi Germany in 1945. There is only one constant "Nazi Germany".

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (5, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702742)

Not just government.

But the mega-corps as well.

That's where the power is; that's where the string pullers, the bribers exist. And government isn't their only tool; their own corporate fiefdoms have a significant amount of power in their own rights.

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (1, Insightful)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 2 years ago | (#38702790)

It doesn't actually help your "cause" , whatever that is, to make false claims about the intentions of the US government.

What you're saying is we are already the STASI. So why fight any step towards it? We're already there. There's nothing anyone can do. Drop out. Don't stick your head off. Get off the radar. Live in a hole. Eat out of a can. You might live to be fifty. If they let you.

This kind of sentiment is first and foremost factually inaccurate. The government is NOT the STASI, does not want to be the STASI and does not possess the motivations you ascribe to them.

Secondly, the beliefs you spread have a deleterious effect on the democratic process and to the extent anyone believes you, our democracy is diminished.

Dropping out of participating is a the best way to create a self fulfilling prophesy, supposing in the first instance that people who think the STASI was just great are assembling somewhere, presumably in Texas.

Whether you believe it or not, there are people who are completely driven by religious and political ideologies who would love nothing more than to kill as many Americans as they can.

Compound this with the fact that increasingly we're living in a time where it takes fewer and fewer such people to inflict greater and greater casualties both in headcount and degree of damage upon a population and you have a situation you need to protect yourself against. These people are not going away and are immune to the charms of reasoned debate and compromise and have nothing but contempt for anything in the way of social progress that happened after the 13th century.

Unless we all begin to discuss the undiscussable- what level of damage are we willing to sustain to the nation and the body politic without changing anything with respect to civil rights?- then we can all sit by and watch as DHS and others try to do teh impossible- protect us absolutely from the machinations of the terrorists.

And when DHS fails, as it must eventually, you can then stand by and watch another round of lawmaking you can't stand happen.

And why does it have to be this way? Because no one wants to quantify exactly how mcuh death and mayhem they're willing to endure and still not pass laws that erode civil rights.

We have to have that discussion. We need to say what we're personally willing to see happen in terms of casualties and economic damage without touching anything in the Bill of Rights.

Let me throw a number out there. I am willing to lose an average of 10,000 a year to terrorism.

The reason I say that is because it's well below what we experience already from things like drunk driving and homicides and because it's a nearly unachievable goal for terrorists to reach, and I want my civil liberties to stay in tact.

After that, let's have a discussion about what needs to be changed and how exactly it's going to provide better security.

If your answer is my question is ZERO ! then you can pretty well expect to be gradually kissing your civil liberties goodbye as the years go by.

If the response on the part of the body politic is hysteria and disbelief and then reactionary paranoia against the government's intentions every time there is a successful terrorist attack of any magnitude, then each of those events will be met with new laws and less liberty and more disunion.

That is what's known as "letting the terrorists win"

But that is the world we live in now- hysteria and cries for that the impossible be done- we all be kept perfectly safe all the time at no cost to privacy and freedom.

We live in a world of car accidents and drunk drivers and disease and homicide and suicide and terrorism. There is not another world available.

Given that fact, for the part of the world you CAN control, what do you want it to look like? Do you want civil liberties or not? I know I do.

The way to retain civil liberties is to counter the hysteria with clear thinking and an agreed upon notion of what "unacceptable loss" exactly is.

We have to talk about this as a nation, all together, all at the same time, with respect and cool heads.

I'm sorry, DHS does a freaking bang up job of keeping the nation safe against incredible threats some of which are doomsdayish- bioterrorism, nuclear terrorism and others .

Please. You have to take your shoes off at the airport, Cry me a river.

If you have a better way to solve their problem, then by all means, publish.

Supposing you don't, or you're still working on it, then the next best thing you can do is stop dreaming that terrorism will either go away, or never succeed or doesn't exist and therefore we don't need DHS or something just like it, just with another name.

And if you really want to pull out all the stops and participate meaningfully in your democracy, then take my challenge and put a number to just how much you like your civil liberties as they are, thank you, and at what point you're willing to change something about them to secure the nation if need be.

SNARK: Oh.. thinking makes my head hurt....I'd rather stay here in paranoia land where I know what's what, even if none of it's real.

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702930)

So you're suggesting the proper response to paranoia about governmental monitoring is to stop exercising public speech forums?

Re:DHS = Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit (5, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

And the quote at the bottom of the page (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38702534)

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

I think Slashdot has become self aware.

History ryhmes (2)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702536)

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 (4, Interesting)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702578)

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 .......

Re:History ryhmes (0)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702646)

No, by posting an equivalency between Nazi Germany and the United States, you're declaring yourself to be a myopic twit. By then repeating that popular lie that the NDAA allows for military detainment of citizens (read the goddamn thing), you are providing supporting evidence.

Re:History ryhmes (3, Informative)

ElBeano (570883) | about 2 years ago | (#38702816)

Apparently this ABC news report agrees with the poster you're replying to. []

Re:History ryhmes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702864)

just say no


Re:History ryhmes (3, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#38702870)

I'm getting tired of copy-pasting this for people, but fine:


(e) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

Source. []

Either the law doesn't allow anyone from the US to be detained, or else it already did allow it and this law didn't change it. Considering that the Supreme Court already ruled that detainees in Gitmo have habeas corpus rights, there's no way a law taking those rights from citizens could stand.

I know it's popular around here to pretend the US government is some dystopic comic book empire, but open your eyes. It's simply not true.

Re:History ryhmes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38703050)

The protection for US citizens in S1021 only appiles to S1021. What about S1022?

The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

My emphasis. Note that this section allows the detention of US citizens in military custody, it just doesn't require it.

Re:History ryhmes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702828)

yeah read it, because laymen's reading of federal legislation like, totally holds up in court.

Re:History ryhmes (1)

dbet (1607261) | about 2 years ago | (#38703000)

Maybe you should read the NDAA, because you're wrong. It specifies that military detention is required for non-citizens, but not required for citizens. Not required. They can still do it, they just aren't required to.

Re:History ryhmes (2)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#38703014)

If you're so sure, here's the full text [] . Point to the section supporting your claim. I've challenged several people to do so since the bill was signed, and not one of them has.

Re:History ryhmes (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#38703024)

Buttle, is that you?

DHS isn't the only one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38702538)

The office of at least one of the more corrupt U.S. state Governors monitors online posts for politically unfavorable viewpoints and has even taken action [] against them.

Re:DHS isn't the only one (1)

anubi (640541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702632)

I would launch another diatribe here, but George Huppert said it better...

"Peasant rebellions were not exceptional events. They erupted so frequently in the course of these four centuries that they may be said to have been as common in this agrarian society as factory strikes would be in the industrial world. In southwestern France alone, some 450 rebellions occurred between 1590 and 1715. No region of Western Europe was exempted from this pattern of chronic violence. The fear of sedition was always present in the minds of those who ruled. It was a corrective, a salutary fear --- since only the threat of insurrection could act as a check against unlimited exactions."


( Found at [] )

Re:DHS isn't the only one (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702648)

The office of at least one of the more corrupt U.S. state Governors monitors online posts for politically unfavorable viewpoints and has even taken action [] against them.

King Sam lost that one, though. Got pwned by a high school student.

anonymous speech (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38702554)

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.

Fearing? (1)

mdenham (747985) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702690)

Hell no. They're hoping for it. At that point, they can declare martial law, and everything else goes down the tubes for the people who aren't involved in the revolution.

The only things they're worried about are (1) making sure they're still getting paid and (2) being out of town if the Revolution shows up and they have to nuke it.

I hope our Gov't is watching the news... (2)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702562) they can truly grasp the disdain they have earned.

SOPA? Really?

b-b-b-b-but the politicians all said (1)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702576)

that our fears about SOPA are overblown!


Hey DHS (5, Insightful)

Noah69 (1083017) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (5, Funny)

Noah69 (1083017) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Hey DHS (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 2 years ago | (#38702760)

No way man. I'm Spartacus. Me. Hear that? Me and nobody else. Spartacus. Deal with it.

what a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38702590)

they really have nothing better to do. government jobs I heard are boring. in between lunches and dinners, caviar, coke and hookers, they like to see what the rest of the world thinks about their pathetic existence. fuck off!

Monitoring is fine (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:Monitoring is fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38702636)

This is one of those very few times I think it is OK to say "You NEED evidence?". Of course they're monitoring for more than actual threats. BTW, fuck you, TSA.

Re:Monitoring is fine (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702730)

Is this evidence enough for you? []

Re:Monitoring is fine (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#38702824)

Umm... I'm not sure what your point is. That looks like they were just testing the security at a government building. That's roughly on par with 2 AM fire drills in the annoyance factor, but they're not harassing people for complaining about the government.

Re:Monitoring is fine (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | about 2 years ago | (#38702946)

According to "one Homeland official in the Washington, D.C. office", they were testing security. Are you so willing to accept a blanket statement from a nameless, untitled, unconfirmed bureaucrat not at the security testing location as truth? The harassment was neither blatant nor direct; but rather more insidious and understated. The slippery slope has begun.

Re:Monitoring is fine (4, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Monitoring is fine (2)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#38702800)

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, ineffective, and obnoxious security theatre, but not the beatings and free speech zones that really do a number on civil liberties.

Re:Monitoring is fine (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 2 years ago | (#38703020)

Yes and no. Free speech zones on private property sure are quite legal.

Re:Monitoring is fine (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 2 years ago | (#38703054)

Get a grip. When one group assembles to hold an event, that doesn't mean that another group's rights are being abridged when they are prevented from disrupting it. Public spaces that have been assigned, under a public permitting process, to that group's event (for which they are usually charged for provisioning, policing, and cleaning up) are NOT, during that event, free for some other group to take over. Just like you wouldn't want your own event to be shut down by some else who has decided they're willing to be louder than you and obnoxious enough to wreck it for you.

Re:Monitoring is fine (1)

ironjaw33 (1645357) | about 2 years ago | (#38702924)

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?

Every time I go to the airport.

Re:Monitoring is fine (1)

forkfail (228161) | about 2 years ago | (#38702952)

Depends on if they can see anything that anyone else couldn't see. Specifically, if they're allowed any extra access by the site owners, or if they use depict to get data, including making popular aps without revealing that they're intended to mine data for DHS, then yes, it is a 4th amendment violation big time.

Now, there are a lot of crazies out in the world these days. Us Americans should know - we created them in a lot of cases. And it may be that we need this level of security to prevent some of those "nightmare scenarios" - the dirty backpack bomb, the virus o' doom, etc.

But if we are going to go down that security route, we ought to at least have one completely open debate before we end our experiment in representative democracy, and that is about said ending. Otherwise, the decision will be made for us, and once it's made, there is no going back.

Cupcakegate? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38702628)

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 the TSA. By calling it "ranting", all you're doing is making it so they're even less likely to try to explain themselves after they take a questionable action.

Monitor this motherfuckers. (5, Insightful)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702630)

Vote Ron Paul 2012

Re:Monitor this motherfuckers. (-1, Troll)

happyhamster (134378) | about 2 years ago | (#38702890)

Uh-huh. U.S. already had the stupid in 200/2004, now it just needs crazy one for the full bouquet.

Re:Monitor this motherfuckers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38703026)

Yeah, exactly. Ron Paul might have a half-way decent social policy, but he is economically illiterate. (Although he appears to be smarter than the other candidates...)

Although, he is the only one I have actually seen that talks about the actual "issues". He actually started to bring up the Iran-Contra affair and the 1953 iranian coup d'etat on Fox News before bill O'reilly started screaming at him:)

By the way, if you want to see what happens when you end up with a Libretarian in office, have a look at what Stephen Harper is doing to Canada.

(Now I realize that he is technically conservative now, he originally had a very libretarian social policy, but when he decided to run for office he converted to conservative in order to win the election, so basically he kept the retarded economic policy and ditched the good social policy...:(

Bork The Signal-to-Noise Ratio (1)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702634)

Just start adding this in everything you post online:


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

How is this not illegal? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702660)

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?

Re:How is this not illegal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702796)

Government holds itself to a different legal standard.

If I take it upon myself to mow your lawn and then charge you whatever I like for my services, and back up my bill with the threat of violence if you fail to pay, then I'm a thief and a criminal. If the government does it, it's legal "taxation."

If I kidnap you and force you to work for and serve me in some cause I favor, I'm a criminal. If the government does it, it's legal "conscription."

If I decide I don't like you calling me a redheaded ginger, consider you a threat to my well being and decide to imprison you, I'm a kidnapper and a criminal. But the U.S. government claims the right do exactly this to you if it decides you're a "threat," and you get no trial. The government claims this is "legal" under the NDAA (which apparently is a higher law than the Constitution -- but, hey, that's just some old document, at this point...).

Screw 'em. Organized society is good, but The State is parasitic evil; it's founded on doing wrong in the service of doing right, which never works out well, even with noble intentions. And while there might be a few servants of the State that have noble intentions, most of them are just corrupt seekers of power and of other peoples' money.

What about the positive feedback? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702712)

I mean, I can't be the only one GLAD they took the cupcake from the woman, I mean yeah the reasoning behind it was absolute pointless paranoia and scaremongering, neither of which I agree with, but the result was nice. Have you been on an airplane in the US recently? Most of the passengers could do without the cupcake.

Personally ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702716)

... I welcome our paranoiac overlords.

With a name like Homeland Security... (2)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38702728)

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

Re:With a name like Homeland Security... (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | about 2 years ago | (#38702780)

Department of Hysterical Stupidity just does not have the same ring to it.

DHS has declared a war against freedom. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702792)

The DHS is not now necessary, and never has been necessary. It is all bullshit which is
designed to keep control not of "terrorists", but of law-abiding citizens.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are about OIL, and that is all the wars are about.

The excuse that the above wars are "wars on terror" is bullshit only a stupid and gullible fool
would believe.

Ron Paul 2012 !!!!!

YAY! They actually read the comments :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702802)

Neat! So the DHS actually does read the comments on the Blogger Bob page? I'd always thought they just had a web-monkey write some pabulum there to be left for the masses' consumption without ever checking on it again, so I never bothered to leave any comments telling the DHS and TSA exactly what I think of them and their not-quite-law-enforcement-officers' groping of perfectly innocent American daughters, wives, mothers and grandmothers in the name of security theater, their plans to irradiate travelers into mutant porno stars, and their generally asinine contributions to the apparently industry-wide effort of turning what used to be a glamorous experience full of wonder (indeed, a Jet Age) into a loathsome degradation of humanity seasoned with a dash of the presumption of guilt and a pinch of violation of civil rights once important to us as a culture. But, now that I know all the junior J. Edgars are on the case, reading my comments, I'll be sure to check back every day for new stories and to post new comments. Hell, Blogger Bob's TSA Blog might become my new Slashdot. This makes my weekend; it's gonna be more fun than roasting kittens on a Sunday.

PS - you know how to get through TSA security without the slightest chance of getting searched? Smile your biggest shit-eating grin. Seriously, just smile and seem like an inherently optimistic person. They do profile, looking for cranky old bitches who are more likely to vote according to their perception of safety and security. That's the whole point of security theater: to instill confidence in the sort of people most likely to appreciate security theater despite being outraged by it. I travel all the time and never get pulled for "enhanced screening," but every time, to a statistically uncanny degree, some old woman in line at about the same time does. It's always an old, white, middle-class woman. She's always dour looking, and I'm always (consciously) chipper.


Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702806)

Just sayin !!

That for which so many have fought and died. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702818)

For a country that honors dissent and freedom of expression, this interest can only involve documenting the success of the concept. This information will certainly be shared with the freedom loving peoples involved in the Arab Spring and for the Eastern Bloc heroes that are still struggling in the implementation of their success after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Double standards as usual (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702832)

Fear-mongering about climate change = OK
Fear-mongering about terrorism = NOT OK

Got it?

Re:Double standards as usual (1)

IonOtter (629215) | about 2 years ago | (#38702982)

The first one exists and is going to cause more damage to the human race than every war, plague and natural disaster combined. It is a 200-year KT event, rather than a 200 millisecond one, but it is being portrayed as a non-existent issue by those who wish to profit in the short term, rather than serve society and humanity in the long term.

The second exists, but the threat to the human race as a whole is non-existent. It is being portrayed as a KT Event by those who wish to profit in the short term, rather than serve society and humanity in the long term.

Once again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702874)

The nazi's would be DAMM PROUD of what america has become.

It's pretty disgusting.

DHS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702876)

Department of Hitler Shit.

Guess People Don't Remember (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38702884)

Carnivore from the 90's?

Or how about this from the Air Force in 2006?

Big brother has been out there since the start of government and transcends all of the political spectrum.

Well on upside of this... (1)

haus (129916) | about 2 years ago | (#38702920)

is that it makes me feel even better about no longer working for General Dynamics.

Anyone else notice this part? (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 2 years ago | (#38702928)

In the blog post, the rationale against the transport of liquids had to cite historical examples (one from 6 years ago, another from 16 years ago) from outside the U.S. to justify the policy. They were unable to cite U.S. incidents that their policy has caught/prevented.

Bruce, S., please call "Security Theatre" on this. Thanks.

-- Terry

1984 (1)

mgm8870 (2531698) | about 2 years ago | (#38702966)

Well I guess I better not comment on this post then...

Social Network Monitoring? (2)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#38702988)

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!

Re:Social Network Monitoring? (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#38703066)

So, if you are not using Facebook, and you don't share all the juice details of your life, you are...terrorist, right? As the Google's founder used to say, if you are not terrorist, you have nothing to hide....

The Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38703016)

During Obama's second term, DHS will assume authority and functions of DoC and DoI.

During Obama's third term, DHS will assume authority and functions of DoD and DoE.

During Obama's fourth term, DHS will assume authority and functions of DoJ, HHS and NSF.

During Obama's fifth term, DHS will determing that Obama and family are security threats. They
are killed, murdered to the delight of many, and DHS assumes authority and functions of
US Congress and DoT with the suspension of the US Constitution, all States and Territories and
assumes all ownership of Unites States of America citizens.


I guess I'm on the list ;) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38703030) & -- Never mind their selling arms to narco-terrorists, and using backscatter vans on the US public. And surely FAST appeals to all. Right - o

So... (1)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#38703082)

Back in the day (90's) we heard about Echelon and that there were ~50 trigger words that set it to recording, well whether that is true or not the entire ISP (~200 people) I worked for at the time added these 50 words as a sig to each and every email.
Might I suggest we crowd source spoofing anti US articles to give DHS something to think about?

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