Quick: take down any references to “pork” or “hail” on your Facebook page—those are red flag words for the American government and could lead to increased surveillance of your social media accounts. According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the federal government forks over $11 million dollars a year to a contractor called General Dynamics, which is tasked with monitoring social media sites for potential threats to United States security. EPIC requested the list back in April of 2011, and filed suit using the Freedom of Information Act when the Department of Homeland security failed to deliver. While the list is now public, many argue that it raises more questions than it answers.
Just how many times does one need to post about “bridges” before that red flag goes up? Do you feel more secure or less secure knowing the government scrapes social media sites for this information? Is your online privacy an acceptable compromise for national security? What do you think of the fact that the government contracts this job out?