A disturbing story has surfaced about the Department of Homeland security that under the National Operations Center's Media Monitoring Initiative, government can retain data on users of social media and journalists for a period of several years. Not much detail has been provided as to why they would need to monitor and collect personal information except for saying it would help agencies in their response to events such as the earthquake in Haiti. Not sure how those are related - which makes it all the more disturbing. Glenn returned to the air (via the phone) to discuss the disturbing story with Pat and Stu.
The Atlantic Wire reports:
It's unclear exactly why, but the Department of Homeland has been operating a "Social Networking/Media Capability" program to monitor the top blogs, forums and social networks online for at least the past 18 months. Based on a privacy compliance review from last November recently obtained by Reuters, the purpose of the project is to "collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture."
Among the sites under surveillance? Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Drudge Report, Huffington Post, YouTube, and more.
"We talked about the president now watching journalists, and just seeing the headline that was on the Drudge Report last night ‑‑ I don't know if it's still there ‑‑ that just said, 'Drudge Report being watched, information being taken', is frightening. It should frighten everybody," Glenn said.
"What is it they're collecting? Why is it that no journalist is asking this question?" he wondered.
"I'd be flipping out if George Bush was doing this. I'd be flipping out if Ronald Reagan were doing this," he added.
Glenn also referenced a story out that the President was also collecting information about journalists.
Pat read, "Well, according to the DHS, the definition of 'personal identifiable information' can consists ‑ and that's what they are gathering on these journalists - can consist of any information of any intellect that, quote, permits the identity of an individual to be directly or indirectly inferred, including any information which is linked or linkable to that individual. Wow!"
"All this administration is interested in is how to intimidate people," Glenn said.
Glenn warned that this could be the administration and the government trying to keep journalists and people all over quiet and intimidated. Glenn warned that people who don't question this are falling into a trap wherein they think they'll be left alone as long as they "play the game".
"Everyone is trying to play the game," Glenn warned.