This morning has certainly been fun – we now know that the NSA has been, and will continue, collecting personal metadata of Verizon subscribers until July 19. If that wasn’t enough surveillance for you, the Department of Homeland Security would like to kick it up a notch. Did you know that they regularly scan social media sites looking for certain words? Well, you do now.
Thanks to a freedom of information request, the DHS has released the manual its analysts use when scanning social networks and other online sources for news on potential terrorist attacks or crimes. In other words, the DHS employs a number of people who browse Facebook, Twitter and other social networks all day looking for specific words.
So, without further ado, here are the words you need to use if you want to grab the attention of the DHS:
It’s a little strange that very common words like “ice” and help” are on the watch list. Those who analyze these words probably use context in these situations though to determine the difference between somebody lamenting the latest ice storm, and a person threatening to “ice” somebody.
If you were wondering, the DHS released the 2011 edition of the manual. The latest editions probably have more words in them, but the above list gives us a good indication of what the government is looking for on social media.
In short, be mindful of what you’re saying before you string “interstate,” “China,” and “snow” into a sentence.
As an aside, it seems that the DHS doesn’t know how to spell “lightning.” Under the Weather/Disaster/Emergency section, our favorite electric bolts from the sky are listed as “lightening.” Simple typo or does the government hire people with the grammar of an 8-year-old? The world may never know.[h/t: Now This News]