DHS has posted a document on its website describing the expansion of its social media and online media monitoring program to include the collection and retention of personally identifiable information about users, including journalists. FastCompany scooped it, and highlighted key sections:
Since at least 2010, DHS has been collecting personally identifiable information on "anchors, newscasters, or on-scene reporters who are known or identified as reporters in their post or article or who use traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed" and "current and former public officials who are victims of incidents or activities related to Homeland Security."
Stay tuned for more on DHS' social media monitoring program, including the results of the Electronic Privacy Information Center's FOIA lawsuit against the agency seeking more detailed information on how it works.
A judge ruled today that Twitter must hand over the subscriber information of three people implicated in a grand jury investigation into Wikileaks. Among the targets of the subpoena were Jacob Appelbaum and Birgitta Jonsdottir, respectively a computer specialist and technology activist and former Icelandic parliamentarian. Jonsdottir, who is represented in the case by the ACLU, is considering her options for appeal to delay the release of her personal information. A prior ruling in March 2011 said that the individuals didn't have standing to sue because the subpoena didn't seek the content of their communications, only the account information associated with their Twitter accounts, including their IP addresses and email addresses. Read more about today's decision here.
Path Intelligence, a UK firm, has been in a lot of PR hot water over the past few months after reporters began shining a light on its commercial mobile tracking system. The system, set up in malls throughout the UK, allows company officials or anyone else with access to the data to follow individuals throughout the shopping area, using each person's cell phone GPS as an individual identifier. People in England are rightly up in arms. Read more.
The US Department of State has opened a new Counterterrorism Bureau, underscoring how central to US policy this enormously profitable industry has become. The press announcement for the new bureau says that it will, among other things, serve as the central domestic link from State to DHS, working
...in partnership with DHS, as well as other agencies and bureaus, to strengthen international cooperation on a wide range of homeland security issues including transportation security, the interdiction of terrorist travel, and critical infrastructure protection.
Does this investment of resources mean we can look forward to increased biometrics sharing between State and DHS? Given the State Department's large biometrics database and DHS' interest in acquiring all possible information about everyone in the world, it's certainly possible.