The Department of Homeland Security has issued a Privacy Impact Assessment, updating information on its controversial social media monitoring program. As part of the program, DHS scours social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube, for public posts that contain words such as "cops," "police," "airport," "hacktivist," and "zombie." DHS then disseminates social media information it has collected to "federal, state, local, and foreign government and private sector partners." Although the Privacy Impact Assessment states DHS should only collect "relevant" social media information, the document also states that "any information posted publicly can be used by [DHS] in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture." Recently, EPIC obtained a court order and an opinion in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against DHS, requiring the agency to turn over more documents about the monitoring of social media and Internet media organizations. For more information, see: EPIC: EPIC v. Department of Homeland Security: Media Monitoring.
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Communications Law and Policy
Jerry Kang and Alan Butler