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September 21, 2019

Dont want the DHS monitoring you online Avoid these words

first_imgBeen raving to your friends on Facebook about the delicious pulled pork sandwich you had at Subway and lamenting how it gave you gas? Bad news: three words in that update put you on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) social radar.Following a Freedom of Information request, the Department has revealed what appears to be a complete list of the keywords it uses when scouring the Web for terrorist threats and “signs of dissent.”The three-page list is broken down into eight categories: cybersecurity, domestic security, HAZMAT and nuclear, health concerns, infrastructure, southwest border violence, terrorism, and weather/disaster/emergency.Included on the list are some rather obvious terms — like Al Qaeda, pipe bomb, ricin, and jihad. Other terms are a lot more likely to be used conversationally. Words like pork, gas (hello, $5 a gallon), and metro, for example. And there are loads of tech terms on the list, too.Port? Dock? Sure, those could be mentioned in tweets about someone planning to do a dastardly deed in a shipping yard, but an analysis of updates over the past year would probably reveal a tidal wave of iPhone 5 and iPad mini discussion.Whatever the DHS is using to monitor these keywords is no doubt tuned to filter out such noise. They probably don’t want every instance of the word bust coming up on the dashboard… particularly if they’re watching Vine or Instagram.So are you on a DHS watchlist if you’ve been using terms on the list with reckless abandon? Probably not, but if you’ve got a tinfoil hat in your closet you may want to print the list out and tack it up on your wall just to be sure.The DHS does want to remind everyone that keeping tabs on developing situations is part of its mandate to protect the public, and that’s the only reason it listens in. It’s all documented in the Analyst Desktop manual, which you can read for yourself (with redactions, of course) over on Scribd.last_img read more

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