The Department of Homeland Security sparked concerns among media circles after news spread that the agency was creating an online database to monitor journalists, bloggers, social media influencers and others.
Word got out after Bloomberg Government surfaced a job posting from DHS seeking a contractor for a “media monitoring services” project. The job entails creating a searchable database that has the ability to track about 290,000 news sources, both foreign and domestic, according to the DHS’s statement of work.
The contractor will help DHS monitor “traditional news sources as well as social media, identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event,” the job description reads.
“Services shall provide media comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, communication tools, and the ability to identify top media influencers.”
I’m not sure where this “highly respected web log” would fall on a list of 290,000 outlets. No lower than 291,305 I should think.
An astute member of the media brought this to my attention, seeking my opinion. And … as worrying as this might be I just can’t bring myself to worry about it. There’s already terrific monitoring going on – from the feds and elsewhere.
I suppose it would be an honor to be considered an “influencer” – right up until the time they link the list to the drone system or something.
One, giving the old Constitution an honest read, finds something about a right of and to the free press but nothing about government authority to monitor the same. That’s the real rebranding.
Of note though, DHS’s press secretary tweeted:
Which is basically what they said in the 90’s about Echelon and Carnivore (post initial denials, of course). That means the hype is true and should be worrisome. Still can’t worry here and no once else will likely even notice.