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Homeland Security Tracking Social Media and 'Media Influencers'

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

The good news is the Department of Homeland Security is hiring. The bad news is the agency wants someone to spy on your social media.

According to reports, the DHS is compiling a database to monitor social media and traditional news sources. The agency plans to monitor 290,000 sources around the world to track "media influences."

That includes everybody -- from journalists to bloggers to commenters -- who may have a media presence. Hang on, I need to call a First Amendment lawyer.

Good News

But first the good news.

OK, we said that already. Now the bad news.

Bad News

It's enough to cause "nightmares of constitutional proportions,"  says Forbes. The government is responding to concerns about Russian influence on elections, lawmakers claim, but it could be used to ferret out "fake news" at the whim of politicians.

"We are entering potentially dangerous territory with the government keeping track of the 'sentiment' of citizens and foreign nationals," Michelle Fabio says in the opinion piece.

The DHS wants to track online, print, broadcast, cable, radio, social media, and other publications in more than 100 languages. The "media monitoring service" will collect a publication's "sentiment," geographics, top posters, languages and more information.

In other words, you might not want to have a lot of followers on Twitter or friends on Facebook after all.

Other News

The DHS is serious about the job, and expects applications from serious vendors. At least seven companies have already replied.

They must demonstrate their ability to handle the job, including available resources, office locations, and core competencies.

Oh, the deadline for job applications is Friday the 13th. No, really.

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