I think this spying on Americans by the Obama Administration is outrageous! What do YOU think?
The Federal Government is spying on you and NOT for national security reasons! If they wanted to know how the citizens feel about something (see below) why not an open survey instead of spying!???!!
But it gets worse: WE PAID for it!!! We are now paying – by our tax dollars – for our government to spy on us for reasons unrelated to national security!
But it gets worse: Homeland Security didn’t even do it themselves! They hired a private contractor! So we paid Homeland Security their salaries and they then went out with our tax dollars and hired an outside firm to spy on us for a non national security reason.
And guess how much it cost taxpayers? Read the article and you will be really, really angry.
And here are more questions: who at Homeland Security authorized the spying? the paying of a private contractor?
This is a bit like Solyndra in that buried deep in our government are people wildly spending our tax money for ridiculous reasons with absolutely no accountability.
January 13, 2012
Federal Contractor Monitored Social Network Sites
By CHARLIE SAVAGE
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security paid a contractor in 2009 to monitor social networking sites — like Facebook, blogs and reader comments on a news article — to see how the residents of Standish, Mich., were reacting to a proposal to move detainees from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to a local prison there, according to newly disclosed documents.
While it has long been known that the department monitors the Internet for information about emerging threats to public safety like a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, the documents show that its Social Networking/Media Capability program, at least in an early stage, was also focused on “public reaction to major governmental proposals with homeland security implications.”
A department official said Friday that the social network monitoring program did not produce reports about public opinion, but instead focused exclusively on monitoring crises like hazardous material spills, shooting incidents and natural disasters.
Still, the newly disclosed documents show that in August 2009, during an early test of the program, a contractor compiled reactions among residents of Standish, Mich., to the short-lived detainee proposal. It found that most people “were opposed to the plan,” arguing it could make the community a terrorist target, but that others characterized these concerns as “hysteria.”
To produce the report about Standish, the contractor used “Facebook, Twitter, three different blogs and reader comments” on an article on The Washington Post’s Web site, highlighting “public sentiments in extensive detail,” according to a summary of the report that was included as an example in a “Social Networking/Media Capability Analyst Handbook” dated February 2010.
Asked about the Standish report on Friday, department officials provided a series of explanations. After initially accepting it as something produced by the program, an official later said the report was instead created by a contractor as a sample during a period when the social networking component of its media monitoring program was still being designed. It started on a small scale in January 2010 and expanded the following June.
Chris Ortman, a department spokesman, acknowledged that the report was included in the February 2010 handbook, but he said it was there “only as an example of a weekly report format.” No such report on public sentiment was ever distributed as a working document of the department’s National Operations Center, which runs the monitoring program, he said.
He added that the handbook had since been revised and no longer included that example because it “does not meet our operational requirements or privacy standards,” which “expressly prohibit reporting on individuals’ First Amendment activities.”
The report about Standish residents was part of nearly 300 pages of documents about the monitoring program obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a nonprofit advocacy group.
Ginger McCall, director of the group’s Open Government Program, said it was appropriate for the department to use the Internet to search for emerging threats to public safety. But, she said, monitoring what people are saying about government policies went too far and could chill free speech.
“The Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of political dissent has no legal basis and is contrary to core First Amendment principles,” she said.
She also pointed out that….
….The documents indicate that in May 2010 a procurement official awarded an $11.3 million contract to General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems.