Feds Tracking Leftist Websites HuffPo, Juan Cole's Blog & The Blotter For Terror Activity

The feds are tracking twitter and several other websites including leftist websites Huffington Post, Informed Comment and The Blotter during the Olympics for information on possible terrorist threats.
The Blotter reported:

The National Operations Center of DHS will watch the web for information, according to the statement, to “provide situational awareness” in the event of natural disaster, an “act of terrorism, or other manmade disaster.”

“The Olympics are a potential target for such events,” said the statement. The statement did not list all web sites and social media that the NOC will monitor, but provided 31 examples, many of them, like the Blotter, sites that cover breaking news, security, or terror.

Here’s part of the government statement on the social media monitoring. The list is at the end of the statement in the appendix:

Section 1.0 Characterization of the Information

The following questions are intended to define the scope of the information requested and/or collected as well as reasons for its collection as part of the program, system, rule, or technology being developed.

1.1 What information is collected, used, disseminated, or maintained in the system?

The NOC is reviewing information posted by individual account users on third party social media providers of activities and events necessary to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture regarding the security, safety, and border control associated with the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC. Third party service providers provide an array of applications that provide social media services along with publicly available online forums, blogs, public websites, and message boards. See Appendix A for a list of the types of sites that may be viewed for information related to the 2010 Winter Olympics. The NOC is accessing these web based platforms to identify content posted by public users for the purpose of providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture on the 2010 Winter Olympics. The NOC is assessing information identified to assist decision-makers in the security, safety, and border control associated with the 2010 Winter Olympics. The NOC shall not collect data on the individuals posting information to third party service providers, about individual users, or any PII. The NOC will immediately destroy any PII that it discovers at any time in its possession as a result of this Initiative.

1.2 What are the sources of the information in the system?

Members of the public as well as first responders, press, volunteers, and others provide publicly available information on social medial sites including online forums, blogs, public websites, and message boards.

1.3 Why is the information being collected, used, disseminated, or maintained?

The NOC is identifying, using, disseminating, and maintaining this information to comply with its statutory mandate to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture for the entire federal government, and for state, local, and tribal governments as appropriate and to ensure that this information reaches government decision makers. In this case, the NOC is monitoring information directly related to the security, safety, and border control associated with the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC. The aggregation of data published via social media sites will likely make it possible for the NOC to provide more accurate situational awareness, a more complete common operating picture, and more timely 2010 Winter Olympics-related information for decision makers.

1.4 How is the information collected?

The NOC identifies information directly from third-party social media services. The NOC is accessing and collecting information from various informational streams and postings that the NOC, as well as the broader public, view and monitor.

1.5 How will the information be checked for accuracy?

The NOC identifies information from third party hosts submitted voluntarily by members of the public and compares that information with information available in open source reporting and through a variety of public and government sources. By bringing together and comparing many different sources of information, the NOC will attempt to generate a more accurate picture of activities occurring at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

1.6 What specific legal authorities, arrangements, and/or agreements defined the collection of information?

Congress requires the NOC “to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture for the entire federal government and for state, local, and tribal governments as appropriate, in the event of a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other manmade disaster; and ensure that critical terrorism and disaster-related information reaches government decision-makers.” Section 515 of the Homeland Security Act (6 U.S.C. § 321d(b)(1)). The Olympics are a potential target for such events.

1.7 Privacy Impact Analysis: Given the amount and type of data collected, discuss the privacy risks identified and how they were mitigated.

There is a risk that the NOC will receive PII or other identifiable information that is not relevant to this Initiative. The NOC has a clear policy in place that any PII incidentally received will be destroyed immediately. Information collected to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture originates from publicly available social media sites and is available to the public.

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