Big Brother is watching you via social media

Fellowship of the Minds is delighted to have a guest writer today.

Her name is Fiona Causer, who describes herself as “a student pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies. She enjoys writing and seeks to use it as a vehicle to convey ideas and engage others in discussing relevant issues of our day.”

I’m impressed by the quality of her writing — lucid, fluid, and displaying a mastery over the English language which, in my experience, few college undergraduates have. I’m even more impressed by her political awareness and sure instincts. Fiona gives me hope for America’s future.

~Eowyn

Social Media: A Step Towards a Big Brother State

by Fiona Causer

While some people fear the intrusion of employers and potential employers into the world of social media, others know the real issue is far bigger: The intrusion of federal, state and local government agencies into social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Law programs and paralegal certification curricula that focus on privacy law maintain a strong emphasis on the Bill of Rights, namely the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and an American’s right to speak freely without fear of government persecution. But currently, it appears the interpretation of that Constitutional right is being blurred. George Orwell’s dystopic vision of Big Brother is puny when compared to the technology available today to government bureaucrats, which can and are used against innocent American citizens who simply want to share pictures of their grandchildren and an occasional political opinion.

Think it’s far-fetched that government employees are monitoring Facebook posts and Twitter tweets?

Think again.

According to an article in The Washington Post, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) obtained a copy of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) materials related to monitoring social media. Ginger McCall, director of EPIC’s open government program, said in the article, “The language in the documents makes it quite clear that they are looking for media reports that are critical of the agency and the U.S. government more broadly. This is entirely outside of the bounds of the agency’s statutory duties and it could have a substantial chilling effect on legitimate dissent and freedom of speech.”

The New York Times report on a 2011 reference guide for DHS analysts provides further evidence of the government’s intrusion into private lives, including a list of categories of “items of interest” that will trigger a DHS report of an individual’s social media activity. Among the categories is discussion of “policy directives, debates and implementations related to DHS.” In other words, individuals interested in having an online discussion about DHS policies are in danger of being reported to the government.

The DHS manual also lists keywords that DHS bureaucrats are searching for when they peruse Twitter feeds and Facebook posts. While DHS representatives claim the key words are primarily related to natural disasters or problems with long airport security lines, the manual lists far more inclusive terms such as “China, cops, hacking, illegal immigrants, Iran, Iraq, marijuana, organized crime, police, pork and radicals.” In other words, beware of discussing solutions to the problem of illegal immigration or posting a harmless recipé for a pulled pork sandwich!

Social media monitoring isn’t limited just to DHS. In fact, the FBI plans to monitor Facebook and Twitter as well as online blogs using keyword searches, too. Some of the keywords the FBI plans to search for include “white powder, suspicious package, lock down, bomb, active shoot, and school lock down”, according to an article on itbusiness.ca.

What happened to the U.S. Constitution’s protection for American citizens? Private citizens and civil liberties groups are rightfully concerned about the impact of these new governmental snooping into social media.

The First Amendment to the Constitution protects freedom of speech and of the press. One is hard pressed to find in the First Amendment justification for government bureaucrats reading blog posts, Facebook posts and Tweets.

The Fourth Amendment gives Americans the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,against unreasonable searches and seizures.” When government snoops into our social media — our technological online homes — that should be construed as a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

All this is yet another sign that rapidly changing technology is outpacing our political institutions. The Founding Fathers and the Constitution they crafted did not anticipate our 21st century world of Facebook, Twitter, stem cells, biometric IDs, and radical transhuman bio-engineering.

In the end, tasked by the Constitution with that responsibility, the Supreme Court will need to step in and weigh in. Until the nine justices do that, We the People must be aware of Big Brother’s prying eyes, and exercise due caution and prudence in our online activities.

17 responses to “Big Brother is watching you via social media

  1. A good way to make big brother’s jobs more miserable and much harder is to take big lists of random key words and post them all over the internet. Facebook, twitter YouTube comments, vlogs, blogs, Craigslist, Amazon comments, anywhere you can think of. If a million people posted five lists a month each, not an outrageous amount considering literally billions on-line, big brother would blow a gasket trying to keep tabs on all of it. ;-)

    • Good idea SDF!

      When I tweet something about Skippy I make sure to report it to #attackwatch, just in case he missed it :) They’ve probably been following all us “right-wing extremists” for a long time anyway…

    • That’s great! If this is true, I’m sending it on to my long-list so they can become Merry Pranksters– again!

  2. They are just looking for pictures of naked childern to share amongst themselves. Government run Child Porn is really big in European countries. America is just catching up as she deteriorates under a failed leadership.

  3. This is why me and my hubby do not have Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace, which is considered Social suicide in our age group! Big Whoop! Plus, my mother in law is addicted to it….she is not allowed to use our names, our location, or pictures of us or the kiddos. She tried to be sneaky one time w/the kids pics, and my husband went ballistic! She won’t ever do that again. She didn’t see us or the kids for 2 yrs, not kidding! Anyone that can see your Facebook pics can easily download them! The thought of my kids pics being used by someone I do not know scares the heebie-jeebies outa me.

  4. I hesitate to share more than my opinion and what information
    I might have run across….I’m not paranoid : I don’t have a file
    but a filing cabinet. …which hasn’t been digitized,yet.
    I ‘m afraid a picture might get me banned
    or scare small children. :)

  5. I wonder who is monitoring Skippy’s blackberry. If we knew that there would be a lot of answers.

  6. “China, cops, hacking, illegal immigrants, Iran, Iraq, marijuana, organized crime, police, pork and radicals.”

    And for good measure I’ll just add Dear Ruler, Kenyan Muslim communist fraud, America-hater, camel-washer, bogus POTUS, tyrannical Marxist puke bastard, Barry Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro, Obama birth certificate, statist, Marxist, fascist, imposter, impeachable offense(s), economic sabotage, Solyndra, Government Motors, high fuel prices, confiscatory federal income taxes, FairTax, 1st Amendment, 2nd Amendment, 4th Amendment, 10th Amendment, Marxist State Media, U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, freedom, liberty, ObamaCare, CommieCare, founding fathers, conservatism, America-as-founded, freedom-destroying regulations, treason, surrender, Herr Erich von Holderen, corruption, illegal activity, Fast and Furious, and finally, nose-picking, booger-eating, bed-wetting liberal.

    Did you get all that comrade Frau Janet (Reno II) Himmler Napolitano, you hideous, freedom-destroying fascist bitch from Hell, or did I type too fast?

    -Dave

    • You forgot “DHS,” “donkey porn” and “one-handed typing”… gotta get their attention, you know.

      • Anon, you are exactly right.

        And I also omitted making the M.E. region safe for the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the comensurate imposition of hideous sharia law.

        LOL – Damn, I must be slipping in my middle years.

        -Dave

        • Dave-
          You aren’t slipping! I am sure it’s just your sinuses/allergies talking! ;)

          BTW,
          Pork on this
          Pork on that!

          I just wanted to fit-in, I didnt want to standout or look too suspicious…..Just in case she’s got her eye on u! :D

          Just Pork’en with ya Dave!

    • This post cracks me up, Dave ! No FEMA CAMP rumors are going to scare you–! We all need to spread the word _RESIST RESIST RESIST! Our founding fathers would not be happy with the direction that this Republic has been heading–yet “we the people” allow ourselves to be “led” closer the the edge of the cliff-.

  7. Little children, your Big MamsDaddy is watching you.

    The touchy feely airport scanners were just a prelude.

  8. Recall the Russian Czar’s Okhrana, the largest, super-secret intelligence organisation planted in every major nation of the world, c. 1900. Once a month it produced a book for the Czar’s eyes only. From the information therein he was supposed to make optimal decisions directing the Russian Empire, etc. However, the sheeple of that era said this about it: “The Okhrana knows everything and understands nothing!” It was unable to warn the czar of the coming Revolution, just as our oh-so-glorious NSA / CIA was unable to predict the fall of the USSR! [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okhrana].

    I sure hope the NSA / CIA got every bit of what I just wrote, so they can double-up their budget requests from now on, until the world runs out of paper currency!

  9. Grouchy,

    LOL – You have to cook it at a low temp for a very long time.

    We call it low and slow. :-)

    -Dave

  10. give them system overload.. tell EVERYONE to copy and paste as new post on their pages: Examples of the words that the FBI will use in its social media searches will include ‘lockdown,’ ‘bomb,’ ‘suspicious package,’ ‘white powder,’ ‘active shoot’ and ‘school lock down.’

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