So the next time you are commenting on your favorite social media network or web site, just understand that the Department of Homeland Security will be watching. They have hired defense contractor General Dynamics and awarded them with an $11.4 million contract to scour the net to find any criticisms of the departments policies and actions.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a government watchdog group, obtained hundreds of documents from DHS the the Freedom of Information Act and found out the details of the agreement.
Though DHS testified that it is not monitoring for public reaction the documentation says otherwise. As if they think no one would read it. In fact, it is explicit that analysts instructed to look for criticism of the agency and then redirect those finds to other agencies including FEMA, Citizenship & Immigration Services, Customs & Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
There is no doubt that this is a very dangerous line that is being crossed by the government. Anything said critical of government or any of its agencies are protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment. It reads:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
This amendment was expressly for the purpose of freedom of political speech. There can be absolutely no doubt about that.
I guess like everything we are seeing in government today, we can expect a rearranging of words. As I’ve written on how the 2nd Amendment is being circumvented by going after ammunition instead of going after guns, so too in this case I’m guessing that since Congress is not actually making law and it’s the Department of Homeland Security doing this that the Constitution doesn’t apply to them….at least that is probably how they see it.
I’ve got news: It does apply. DHS and its affiliates are not representatives of the people. The department should never have been started in the first place. Why would a department need to be created, when THAT (defending the homeland) is the primary role of the Federal government in the first place! It should be abolished and the Federal government simply take on its minimal role as the Constitution provides instead of providing redistribution of wealth, playing Big Daddy, engaging in legalized theft and the like. It should back off from seeking to diminish personal liberties, quit fooling with the economy and the private sector and eradicate the thousands of laws that are written that are, in many cases, treasonous against the Constitution and the people of the United States.
EPIC’s Ginger McCall submitted testimony to the House Subcommittee on Counter terrorism and Intelligence stating, “the agency is monitoring constantly, under very broad search terms, and is not limiting that monitoring to events or activities related to natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or manmade disasters….The DHS has no legal authority to engage in this monitoring.”
She followed with: “This has a profound effect on free speech online if you feel like a government law enforcement agency—particularly the Department of Homeland Security, which is supposed to look for terrorists—is monitoring your criticism, your dissent, of the government.”
More documentation can be obtained at Epic’s website, as well as, you can watch the opening statements here.
Read the DHS manual online here and learn the key words used to analyze social media outlets and web sites.
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