Have you ever wondered how government is able to sift through the whole bulk of user data online to discern any security-related risks or any emergencies? Well, it turns out Department of Homeland Security was able to come up with a very convenient solution. It brought together a list of so-called suspicious words. These words were then tracked to flag content which could be suspicious.
Given the kind of list it is and the words it contains, it is no wonder that DHS wanted the list to be secret but was forced to reveal it following a freedom of information request. The list is used to monitor social media and user data online to discern potential security threats etc.
The interesting part is that the list contains some such words which are otherwise quite innocent and don’t have anything to do with security or emergencies. For instance, the words ‘cloud’ , ‘pork’, ‘team’ and Mexico are part of this list. These words and bulk of more words, are part of 2011 ‘Analyst’s Desktop Binder’, somewhat of a guide which helps DHS workers monitor data online.
DHS vehemently claimed that the list wasn’t used to monitor and discourage political dissent online and that it was used for purely security purposes, though the words on the list say the contrary. Also on the list are such words which are used to track news of emergencies, crime happenings or any other illegal activities.
Given the criticism that is being heaped on DHS for bringing together such a vague list, which may no doubt often deem innocent persons as culprits, DHS spokesman stated, “To ensure clarity, as part of … routine compliance review, DHS will review the language contained in all materials to clearly and accurately convey the parameters and intention of the program.”
Source: Daily Mail