Coming soon to your front door—two FBI agents want to ask you a lot of questions about your last Twitter message.
OK, maybe the chances that the FBI or Homeland Security will show up at your home for questioning are very slim, but it’s not like they aren’t keeping tabs on the people who use social media sites like Twitter every single day.
A recent Freedom of Information request by the Huffington Post produced a 39-page handbook for Homeland Security employees at the Media Monitoring Capability division of the National Operations Center. Four of the pages are dedicated to words that are on the list for special monitoring by employees and agents.
Although your tweet on the latest attack in Syria won’t be a red flag for Homeland Security, they will look into international events such as terrorist attacks or infectious as well as its main focus on what’s happening at home.
“[The Media Monitoring Capability center’s] coverage focuses primarily on providing information on incidents of national significance, which are usually defined as catastrophic events that result in wide-scale damage or disruption to the nation’s critical infrastructure, key assets, or the Nation’s health; and require a coordinated and effective response by Federal, State, and Local entities,” the handbook reads.
How many words are Media Monitoring Capability employees monitoring right now? According to the list presented in the handbook, about 374 keywords are under monitoring ranging from classics like “cyber attack,” “hacker,” “dirty bomb” “nuclear” to emergency phrases like “State of emergency” and “threat.” You can see the entire list—complete with categories—on this link here.
Of course, the handbook states that the number of keywords may change “as natural or manmade disasters occur.”
One prominent Twitter-related incident involving Homeland Security happened earlier this year when two British tourists were denied entry into the United States after making some questionable tweets ranging from suggesting to “destroy America” to “commit crimes.” Leigh Van Bryan and Emily Banting denied that the tweets implied that they were set out to cause havoc on Los Angeles, but their explanations did not prevent them from getting the boot.
Remember to watch your Tweets carefully—it may be used against you by Homeland Security.