February 10th, 2012
07:48 PM ET

DHS reading your tweets and Facebook posts? Paul Callan calls it 'very, very frightening'

An electronic privacy group has a word of warning: watch what you tweet. Oh, and keep a close eye on your Facebook wall. Why? Well, the Department of Homeland Security might soon be watching–monitoring social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. What are they looking for? Not necessarily signs that you might be involved in terrorism.

Instead, they're reportedly interested in information that "reflects adversely" on DHS itself. "It's very frightening," legal analyst Paul Callan told Erin Burnett. "They seem to be going into a new area."

Homeland Security revealed in January that it regularly monitors social media sites, blogs, and Wikipedia. The mission, a government document explained, was to "collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture." Adding searches of your Facebook posts and blog comments for negative comments about DHS, Callan says, is legal–since the government would only be reading what's available to anyone.

"But the question is, does it chill political speech? Is it repressive?"

Filed under: Under Surveillance
soundoff (232 Responses)
  1. โรงเรียน ศิษย์วัฒนา

    You could definitely see your skills within the work you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren't afraid to mention how they believe. Always follow your heart.

    April 13, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  2. Scorpeagle

    Why are people easily accept that private companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft etc. can dig everything about you but when it comes to your own government you are skeptical about them reading very public information that you are putting willingly online.

    People using gmail are ok with google reading their email but have a problem when government reads your blog or postings you are making online.

    I am really baffled by this response. In case government is misusing that information in framing somebody for a crime they have not committed or taking away any rights from them then it will understandable that concerns like these are raised.

    As private companies can read any online public information so should government be able to without any criticism.

    I believe this can be even better tool for gathering information rather than relying on media as evident in case of Ms. Huston's death that it was available on twitter even before any other media.

    This can also prove to be a great tool if utilized correctly to get people feedback about any policy or work government has done and change them to improve.

    February 12, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Reply
    • Can You say Irony?

      Very well said I agree for the most part, not exactly sure if the government cares about feed back however.
      And they shouldn't be sometime the Gov has to protect us from ourselves.

      February 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Reply
    • Bob Brown

      The problem is not that DHS is reading public information, it's that they're looking, not for terrorists, but for information that "reflects adversely" on themselves. In other words, they're using their time and our tax dollars looking for people who don't like them.

      It's also not clear that they're looking only at public information. I haven't "friended" them on Facebook. What right do they have to look at what I write there?

      February 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Reply
      • Scorpeagle

        It is not mentioned anywhere that they are looking into private postings. If they are doing that then I do agree that that will be a violation and it is reason of concern.

        February 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
  3. Kenni

    If they're only reading what "everyone" can see (a premise I doubt), then just don't "Friend" DHS .

    February 12, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Reply
  4. Adam D

    The Facebook justification isn't true. I have a select group of people who can see what I write. That doesn't mean that it's public anymore than a conversation inside my home can be listened to since there are members of the public there.Who watches the watchers?
    It seems to me that their organization is too large if they have time to mine a low-returns medium like Facebook instead of focusing on more likely targets. I guess I had better arrive early at the airport next time I fly, if negative speech against the ** the Department of Homeland Security ** makes me unpatriotic and suspect.

    February 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  5. landofthesheep

    You people disgust me, you want to live without freedom, liberty and justice, get out of this country and live in britain..

    February 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  6. stevepapa

    I don't recall friending the DHS

    February 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  7. SouthernBob

    Sure, no one minds the apparatus of a police state being set up when it's not aimed at them. And of course the government doesn't go after innocent people., just don't Google Richard Jewell, they might find that subversive. No big deal that the government utilized their snooping ability to keep out two young Brits tweeting Family Guy jokes though. Good thing our 'freedoms' don't apply to people visiting from other countries.
    Just don't tweet post about anything anyone in the TSA doesn't like and you'll be ok. Yep sure sounds like we're living the dream so many people found and died for to protect.
    Honestly if you people can't see the threats posed to our liberties by these laws with good intentions, and the abuses that are already happening with them, you don't deserve to have the liberties in the first place.
    See you in Canada!

    February 12, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply
    • Bob Brown

      Not sure our Canadian cousins will let us in. We might bring the disease with us. (But I share your sentiments.)

      February 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Reply
  8. charlotte

    Have to comment on this....since I can only imagine the number of people falsely reporting to DHS and other government agencies in order to get more income in the way of food stamps and benefits ( imagine that – a free ride ) which we hardworking individuals are basically supporting I think this is potentially one way that this can CURB this trend since I know of individuals who blissfully put their activities on FB and other social media avenues thinking the everyone else is ignorant. I say go for it. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about. Accept the age we are in with very little privacy when we put there ourselves. If you want to remain private stay off FB, twitter, your smartphones and go back to the dark ages.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:07 am | Reply
  9. George Orwell

    It's new years eve before 1984 and we are one minute closer to midnight.
    George Orwell must be rolling over in his grave.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:06 am | Reply
  10. Kana

    How's that saying go.... "if your not doing anything wrong what do you have to worry about"?
    After all they're the g0vt there here to help....

    February 12, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
  11. chucker

    Data mining publicly available info? I'm all for it if it gives them a heads-up on wackos.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
  12. Jimh77

    CNN blocking my right to post about DHS. Breaking my free speech ammendment. Right on CNN!

    February 12, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
  13. Jimh77

    Folks, Big Brother has been watching, listening, reading all we do for years. Since the Patriot Act, even more so. Now with all the electronics technology. Fogetabout. If you want to make em think, post things they may be interested in. Or just be yourself and forget about em. It's not likke they have really thawarted any terrorists activities, stopped anyione from entering planes except old people, grendma's, young children and the occasional politician. When was the last time they stopped a terrorist from flying? Answer: NEVER. They do like to steal from the frequent fliers though.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:38 am | Reply
  14. Norm

    DHS could be reading these posts right now?
    Well then let me just say what a wonderful job you're all doing to protect this country.
    God bless the DHS...

    February 12, 2012 at 10:26 am | Reply
  15. Mike

    When you agree to post messages to Twitter and Facebook, you should understand that you are posting information for public consumption. Scanning and reading text messages or private phone calls is completely different than scanning the public Web. It is hypocritical to think that what you post publicly should not be picked up and read by anyone (which includes government agencies, corporations, etc.). Read the privacy policies on these websites. If you don't like it, keep your thoughts to yourself...

    February 12, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply
    • Bob Brown

      As someone else has already posted, I don't recall friending DHS.

      February 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  16. RonMD

    I hope you will read some one’s wall or tweet some day that in the United States there were more than 14000 murders last year and 386 murders were committed in Philadelphia alone in January 2012.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:21 am | Reply
  17. NN3V Charlie

    Sooner or later "cyberspace users" will learn that NOTHING on the web is private.

    Get Over It

    February 12, 2012 at 10:03 am | Reply
  18. Fredflintstone

    Big brother is watching you.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:00 am | Reply
    • James E

      The CIA and FBI have been spying on peoples communications at least since the 70's. This is more like what usually takes place. First they spy, then they ask or notify people that they might "start" to do it, when they have been doing it forever.

      Look up John Stockwell, who was a high level CIA person. He is the one who exposed it. So, no matter what you write or say on the Internet, it IS being watched.

      February 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  19. gregva

    It is so refreshing that in these days of true terrorism and REAL threats to Americans Jan sees fit to waste precious resources on some ridiculous public image B/S. Call me foolish but it appears to me that a better use of resources would be better used in, oh I don't know, maybe .BORDER SECURITY? Symbolism over substance.....battle cry of obama admin.

    February 12, 2012 at 9:55 am | Reply
  20. FitzD

    FB needs to put another set of buttons on the page for "DHS Likes" or "DHS dosen't Like " or "DHS is coming" ..

    February 12, 2012 at 9:40 am | Reply
    • Concerned


      February 14, 2012 at 5:28 am | Reply
  21. dhs

    DHS= Department of Homeland Subversion.

    I dont think the Russians could have done a better Job quite frankly.

    February 12, 2012 at 9:35 am | Reply
  22. Craig

    Nearly every retail & commercial company has done this for years already..... Heck, Sears gave me a free gift card when I posted a bad customer experience to the Facebook site.

    Dont know why anyone would get freaked out by someone monitoring "social" media.... the keyword is in the name!

    February 12, 2012 at 9:31 am | Reply
  23. Martin

    Of course its repressive. The Department Of Homeland Stupidity has become nothing less than a secret police agency. The so called Patriot Act that was supposed to be used solely to investigate and protect from terrorism is being used by all domestic and federal law enforcement agencies against US citizens that have nothing to do with terrorism.

    America is fast becoming an Orwellian country under our corporate fascist government. The America that was home to freedom is fading at a terrifying rate. In the last year we have frequently seen city police forces used as corporate security forces against the Occupy protestors. It won't be long till that changes to open hunting, arrest and slaughter of anyone who is a member of that movement.

    February 12, 2012 at 9:27 am | Reply
  24. Bob Smith


    February 12, 2012 at 9:26 am | Reply
  25. Catzie53

    Big brother is getting bigger very day, once day big brother will be in YOUR home. Don't you feel really safe?

    February 12, 2012 at 9:24 am | Reply
  26. ticked-off

    DHS is too busy in other people's business instead of what they really need to be doing! What about making sure that children are safe in their own homes & in foster homes, or I forgot they only do that when it envolves putting money in THEIR POCKETS, so I guess this new thing of invading other people must be somehow putting more money in THEIR POCKETS!!! GOD help us all because dhs won't! Oh, I forgot, you all are trying to take GOD out of our country even though we go to HIM in time of trouble & need! DON'T FORGET OUR COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON HIM!!!

    February 12, 2012 at 9:20 am | Reply
  27. Kemon

    I just love the "Hey, I'm not doing anything wrong!" defense of these privacy invasions.
    Governments will push these abuses just as far as you let them.
    The point is, that if you like living in a free society, you have the right not to be spied on.
    When your government routinely monitors your speech, it's not a free society.

    February 12, 2012 at 9:17 am | Reply
  28. TheHawk

    7 out of 15 replies...you need a life PeteArk

    February 12, 2012 at 9:17 am | Reply
  29. The6thsense

    I see a lot of people going through their facebook wall and deleting some messages.

    February 12, 2012 at 9:15 am | Reply
  30. Grrynch

    OMG– you mean if i am dumb enough to post myself on a public bulletin board like facebook or twitter that i should not expect the entire world to read it? but only "good" people???/

    February 12, 2012 at 9:08 am | Reply
  31. syzito

    This type of surveillance by government on private citizens is very scary and a sign of which way our elected officials are turning.This is what Russia and China and No.Korean does in order to control their citizens and force government compliance on all.

    February 12, 2012 at 9:05 am | Reply
  32. Civil Libertarian

    Sounds like DHS has too much time on its hands.... They must need a break from rounding up all of those terrorists... Wait.. has DHS actually caught any legitimate terrorists? You would think with all the billions of tax payer dollars DHS sucks up annually they would be locking up the bad guys left and right..... But that's hard work, it's much easier to target and profile innocent people... those who still believe that we live in a country where free speech and the right to criticize government is an inherent right. Meanwhile, our gov't wags its finger at other countries for how they treat their citizens... Talk about hypocrisy..

    February 12, 2012 at 9:01 am | Reply
  33. topper

    it's PUBLIC social networking, i.e. OPEN venue, who cares if their watchng.....DHS is a uslesss department of government anyway...should be on the President's list of closures....DHS is not value added it is wasting our tax dollars...in a major way.....

    February 12, 2012 at 9:00 am | Reply
  34. DRTSAT

    Good to know I can say whatever I want about the DHS and know they can't do a damned thing about it. DHS is not an effectively run organization if it needs to monitor Americans. DHS, if you want to know what the public thinks, take a poll like everyone else!

    February 12, 2012 at 8:52 am | Reply
  35. b

    Hard to think there are people who think your government is a good thing it is the terrorist of the world today DHS is the most worthless thing ever brought upon WE THE PEOPLE and to think people just don't get it. The government murdered 80 people at Waco TX of which 17 were children and you do not think they will do this to you to further their agenda? Is that what Amerika has become? Spineless government control'ed idiots? It WE THE PEOPLE'S duty and obligation to keep the government in check and to overthrow when it becomes a tyranny, and that is what you currently have !

    February 12, 2012 at 8:50 am | Reply
  36. Voiceinthewind

    Yep any one who trusts these sites is pretty niave expecially since they are owned by Jooz. You know they will sell all of your information to the highest bidder.(LOL)

    February 12, 2012 at 8:49 am | Reply
  37. mike

    Do not worry!! 99% of the crap the "threaten" to do is just propaganda to scare you into "self censoring" yourselves.

    they want to create a climate of fear to quash dissent..but it won't work..I for one will never be afraid to exercise my freedom of speech, on ANY topic and neither should you.

    February 12, 2012 at 8:38 am | Reply
  38. jcw

    Besides making the remark about George Orwell, things happen. Pandora's box's been opened, lid ripped off, contents dumped, and the box ran over by a steamroller controlled by loonies. The world's going ape, and we have to add more to it. Can I please take my thorazine, and go back to la-la land? At least there, the land of sanity exists, compared to the outside 'sane' world that tries to convince the rest of us about being massively paranoid about everyone and everything. At least in fantasy land, things make sense, next to it all. Please tell the DHS, the cloak of invisibility with the dagger of insanity are well hidden among their closets. Shssh, the maid is watching you! (blink, blink!)

    Can I please change the channel from all of this paranoid malarky?!

    February 12, 2012 at 8:22 am | Reply
  39. Davios

    Well, they can do it in a passive way. This is just a way for "them" to chill the free flow of ideas and information. And to let you know not to get to uppity when you speak of "them" or "it". That is all they are is a nameless faceless blob of a thing.

    February 12, 2012 at 8:21 am | Reply
  40. Ru

    And you thought things would be different under Obama? LOL!!

    February 12, 2012 at 8:13 am | Reply
  41. Jman

    The government spies on us? When did this happen?

    February 12, 2012 at 8:10 am | Reply
  42. whoa

    Moderators are taking their sweet time to review comments. Not exactly a job for an genius to do

    February 12, 2012 at 7:47 am | Reply
  43. surfsurf

    if everyone posts something negative about dhs like ..... "GET BACK TO WORK" then they wont be able to handle the number of search hits and the results will be meaningless.

    February 12, 2012 at 7:44 am | Reply
  44. ngc1300

    You bore me with your complacency. The feds are able to tap your phone, read your email, access your financial and medical records, even monitor your library proclivities without warrants (Patriot Act). They can whisk you away in the middle of the night and hold you indefinitely without charging you with a crime or allowing you to access an attorney or face your accuser (NDAA). So much for the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments. The 1st Amendment is under siege (witness the NY state legislators who argue that free speech is a privilege, not a right). To all my gun-loving friends (and I mean that seriously, not facetiously) the 2nd Amendment is up next.
    To those who regurgitate the line "If you're not doing anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about", whats OK today may be verboten tomorrow. Who decides whats OK?
    Write your Congress person. Write your Senator. Write your alderman, or your city council represenative. Write your local newspaper. "You can't fight city hall", "they don't listen anyway", "it doesn't affect me". I guarantee that if 99% of you would express your disgust with all this, and demand the restoration of your rights, they will listen.
    Do you hear that hum? That's the sound of our country's founders turning over in their graves.


    February 12, 2012 at 7:20 am | Reply
  45. Brad

    I think it is a good idea. I mean, no one would be concerned if Best Buy read your tweet about poor customer service and changed their practices. The Department of Homeland security could do a lot worse things than find out what people find upsetting about their practices.

    February 12, 2012 at 7:10 am | Reply
  46. mark

    What can be said about this . Who cares this has been going on since Hover and there was no lame facebook or twitters . I for one am not on either . Mostly because I have another life after the news . So everyone keep faceing and twiting so the rest of us can go free

    February 12, 2012 at 6:52 am | Reply
  47. CaptainObvious

    The only "situational awareness" and common operating procedure" that could be derived from information that "reflects adversely" is how many sheep will fall out of line and much force will be neccessary to get them back in line

    February 12, 2012 at 6:35 am | Reply
  48. Nufsed

    This is not resricted to the US either, a British couple were refused entry after he made some inocuous comment refering to Marilyn Monroe on Twitter!

    February 12, 2012 at 6:34 am | Reply
    • Bob Brown

      It was the United States DHS that refused them entry. Maroons.

      February 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  49. BD70

    Like DHS is a hot topic..NOT.

    February 12, 2012 at 6:09 am | Reply
  50. sue

    And if anyone is wondering 'WHY?' would the government be reading tweets,etc, just check out rants by Texas Coyote!

    February 12, 2012 at 5:24 am | Reply
  51. Cameron

    They will track you down from your comments here.

    February 12, 2012 at 4:19 am | Reply
  52. Jerry148

    Hang on, this is suddenly new to us?

    I'm pretty certain that the Patriot Act enabled this kind of surveillance.....you know, except 11 years ago.

    And on another note, our taxpayer dollars are going to a department that pays people to sit around and read Facebook posts? Hell, sign me up! I could be earning my keep right now....

    February 12, 2012 at 4:16 am | Reply
  53. Sharon

    "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
    Benjamin Franklin

    I agree with the Occupier. FB is already used to market us to death. How do they think we will be able to buy anything without jobs? And normally, bad guys are pretty secretive about criticizing their "enemies", aren't they? Most of us are just blowing off steam...we've been conditioned to accept things as they are and "move on" to quote Chuckly.

    February 12, 2012 at 3:06 am | Reply
  54. smart

    To think that this frightens you.. It is common knowledge that not just your facebook or twitter, but also your phone calls, texts, and internet browsing are all being monitored by other security agencies (The NSA does this and it has been a large legal struggle for our courts for a long time). Yet I am not frightened because I have no reason to be. What is it that you are afraid of?? If anything this makes me happy that they are not as incompetent as they once were.

    February 12, 2012 at 3:01 am | Reply
  55. scb

    Why is anyone surprised? Ever since 9/11 my sister and I include a disclaimer whenever we are talking politics and make a joke that could be taken as threatening out of context, even though we are having a private conversation. I don't even like to talk on a cell phone. Real privacy is dead.

    February 12, 2012 at 2:57 am | Reply
  56. DaVuVuZeLa

    Why are people concerned with the government reading what you're posting publicly? If you don't want the DHS to see what you're saying, then don't post it?

    Facebook & Twitter are a stalker's best gifts since you're doing half the work for them.

    February 12, 2012 at 2:56 am | Reply
  57. Duh

    Wow, yeah, there's about 4 or 5 programs that have been developed to monitor such things. No joke, they know everything your IP address has done, sent, visited, and received, period. It's not a big secret. And that's why we need groups like Anonymous out there. Because deep down Anonymous wants to maintain a free, open, and unsurveilled internet.

    February 12, 2012 at 2:52 am | Reply
  58. MR. Jones

    I'm on my boat on the water in San Diego, on most weekends. I've watched the Coast Guard, who is now a part of the DHS, install 50 cal machine guns, and weaponize to take a much more military stance. Last time I was stopped for a safety check, I had a 50 cal machine gun pointed at my family on my boat in American waters. Why? Because 14 jerks ran two planes into the WTC. The TSA now has a budget twice that of NASA. Over 100,000 people, about to unionize. Meanwhile, we're shutting down schools because we don't have the money. The TSA is TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY. Now, hearing that the DHS is spending our money spying on us....it infuriates me.

    February 12, 2012 at 2:49 am | Reply
  59. DON_P


    February 12, 2012 at 2:32 am | Reply
  60. Andy

    DHS should NOT be spending our taxpayers dollars in this manner!

    February 12, 2012 at 1:16 am | Reply
  61. krozareq

    more big, bloated, government that we cannot afford.

    February 12, 2012 at 1:11 am | Reply
  62. Watchful Citizen

    PeteArk is a government PR plant in this comments section.

    He is engaged in a tactic that is done in China. Search on Wikipedia or Google for "50 Cent Party." The government in China, and in the US, pays a select group of PR pros to "influence" and "guide" comment opinion on news articles - especially on sensitive topics such as warrantless surveillance of citizens.

    Nice try, PeteArk.

    February 12, 2012 at 12:59 am | Reply
  63. pooh2

    People like watching other people. They do it all it all the time in small villages. It is basic human nature.

    February 12, 2012 at 12:51 am | Reply
  64. Jason

    Very frightening? Seriously? If you didn't care about your privacy in the first place by publicly posting things on FB and twitter, you shouldn't care about the government reading your stuff. If some corporation like apple isn't reading your likes and dislikes, some creepy dude living in a basement probably is.

    February 12, 2012 at 12:07 am | Reply
  65. tothestarz

    Good - that makes it much easier for me to give them a piece of my mind!

    February 12, 2012 at 12:05 am | Reply
  66. Mr. T. Bag

    Corporations spy on us all the time... Cheney & Government agencies actually consulted private corporations like Lexis-Nexis after 9-11, because they had better intel than the CIA & FBI. –That is WAY MORE concerning!!!

    February 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Reply
  67. Robyn

    Government snoops given govenrment welfare jobs with unlimited amounts of time and money and access.
    And people are surprised the want to root around like pigs in people's personal information?
    Why would this be surprizing in any way?

    DHS is a twisted solution is search of a problem.
    It is far worse than worthless and should be eliminated.
    Yes, I mean YOU, you faceless DHS trolls who are reading this.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Reply
  68. gwb

    further proof the DHS is useless!
    they need to be dismantled and barred!
    there is no more useless govt agency in the history of the world

    February 11, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Reply
  69. jesus liked it up da backdoor

    further proof the DHS is useless!
    they need to be dismantled and barred!
    there is no more useless govt agency in the history of the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 11, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Reply
  70. amazed

    The reason the American people have passively accepted all this intrusion into our personal lives is because of the notion of "safety" after a bunch of Arabs stole some planes and crashed them into some buildings. Absent that, there is no way we would have accepted all this "security". Do you feel any more "safe" now that we have ###hole TSA feeling up everyone and cameras everywhere and snoops looking into everyone's private affairs? Uh oh, I guess DHS has my number now...

    February 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Reply
  71. Jonathan

    It's nice to know that our tax dollars are hard at work protecting us from such mortal threats as... a bad opinion of DHS? Really? So terrorism, we don't care about that, but a bad opinion, that's something to get up in arms about. Well here's something for them to read. DO THE JOB YOU'RE PAID TO DO! Stop wasting time and money trying to find out if people are upset with DHS, and maybe less people will be upset with DHS.

    February 11, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Reply
  72. jamesnyc

    Wow. This is like J. Edgar Hoover all over again. I'm not sure but I believe this violates the 4th amendment. They can not look for incriminating evidence from something that is considered a private space (of course SCOTUS will smack that one down).

    February 11, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Reply
  73. Big Kahuna

    Erin, I'm curious. Whereas my comment at 9:13am on 11th Feb is still shown as "awaiting moderation," comments after that have been published. Is this moderation process selective?

    February 11, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Reply
  74. art

    Hmmm.... how do I get a job with DHS? I am jobless, and am on FB a lot.
    I find it offensive that the DHS now has a passive job, reading people's blogs and emails, as opposed to active jobs that actually require outdoor activity. Just imagine, their agents are actually spending a lot of time snooping on the internet now.
    On a more serious note, I do find it repressive that I can't voice negative opinions about the govt. or it's machinery. Paul Callan is right.

    February 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Reply
    • Bob Brown

      I tried to voice a negative opinion, but it's awaiting moderation.

      February 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Reply
    • all is fair

      I see nothing wrong with this. When you post something for others to see, they are simply part of "others". And frankly some of the posts I've seen do sound threatening. Put yourself in the picture – if someone (or many people) was publicly threatening you, wouldn't you want it tracked? Nowhere in the article did it say people were being told not to speak out. You just need to realize there are repercussions and consequences to anything you say or write. It's a lesson I've been trying to teach my daughter for years. And it's something that previous generations didn't have such a hard time understanding. For some reason younger people see the internet as a place to "hide" when expressing feelings – which is ironic because it's so public.

      February 12, 2012 at 8:24 am | Reply
    • twistedpuppet

      pffffft. If I don't like what the DHS is doing, I'm going to say so and there's jack all they can do about it because of the 1st Amendment that is specifically designed for me to be able to criticize my government and its agencies when I don't like what they are doing. This just means that they'll actually read my comment and MAYBE take it into consideration when they make decisions.

      February 12, 2012 at 8:29 am | Reply
    • Emigdio Alvarez

      The DHS has the lowest job satisfaction rate out of all government departments.

      February 12, 2012 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • Adam D

      I agree, Art. Especially in an era when we're looking for inefficiency in the spending of our tax dollars, they should focused on the hard work of penetrating anti-American agencies, not picking the low-hanging fruit and low returns of of Facebook comments. Happy to hear that Congress is going to investigate. Hope that CNN reports on it.

      February 12, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  75. Lola

    Can they read your posts even if you have your privacy settings set to only allow friends to read your wall?

    February 11, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Reply
  76. mary

    The truth is and we all know it, knew it when we started using the internet.. Nothing put out there is truly private..
    I found out when I saw that my local internet provider has every e mail I ever sent or was sent, stored .. And could access it any time. He also helped my friend fix her computer by logging in and watching what she was doing ,as she was doing it to help he find out what she was doing wrong...
    So now that we find google keeps every thing we do .which means google and anyone that has access to that info.. knows more about you than any other person .. think about it.. Who ever knew anyone as well as they knew themselves? By going though everything you search for, e mail, chat about.. Anyone who is allowed access knows you as well as you know yourself.. By the sharing of info.. with the differnent people in your life..
    the things you would say to your mother or best friend. Are different.. the things you research that you care about but have never told another soul about..
    And that is the heart sinking part..
    We have totally lost the "me" as a individual, the privacy of our own thoughts and feelings... By compiling our searches and out interests, the things we read and say.. They can know each of us as well as we know ourselves..
    it is in our best interest to remember that when we are chatting with a friend on line..Or reseaching somthing that we are upset or worried about.. Even excited about..
    when we are angry or in love.. The things we say..Al lthere.. forever..
    It is going to be there for some one to compile if the want to ..And then comes the part we all should fear..
    "the interpretation"
    So yeah.. think of a kid now running for president 40 years from now.. His whole life the good and the bad and the speculations on all that..
    so yeah, we should feel worried.. A angry e mail today, could be the end of your career tomorrow..

    February 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Reply
  77. JE Hover

    My plan is working. Soon I'll have the dirt on all you radicals. Free what?????????? What? I can't hear you.

    February 11, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  78. Maine Wolf

    Texas Coyote- thank you for your compassion and energy. We are of the same mind. The American "working class" needs to end the rat race and start learning about being self sufficient. I haven't posted a comment in YEARS but it's important for me to let you know that other people are aware of the reality that you speak.

    February 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  79. J. E. Hoooover

    GREAT, my plan is working. Soon I'll have the dirt on all you revolutionaries. Free speech?????????? What? I can't hear you.

    February 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  80. J. E. Hooover

    GREAT, my plan is working. Soon I'll have dossiers on all you wierdos. Free speech?????????? What's that?

    February 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  81. PeteArk

    Erin...dear...please do an on-air piece about the fact that nobody had a panic attack over this...I think it speaks well of the majority of us.

    February 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
    • Can You say Irony?

      The lack of panic comes from being a sheep, thus most of us are reactive v/s proactive see "heard mentality".
      Heard mentality is the basis for marketing and freakish idiotic things gaining popularity such as SUV's, reality show's
      Agenlia Jollie V/S Jeniffer Aniston polls and Sarrah Palin. The Arab spring pushed social networking to the fore front of DHS concerns and rightfully so. To think that Psyops are not present in our day to day being would be a mistake to put it lightly.

      February 12, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply
  82. Tim P

    News Flash Idiots...... anyone can read your tweets or FB posts, why is this even a story?

    February 11, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  83. QuiGon Bong

    Considering some of the stuff I've posted, I'm surprised they haven't paid me a visit yet.

    February 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  84. JD

    Twitter is very public forum. I only know a couple of people with "protected" Tweets and it seems ridiculous. I also treat Facebook as a public forum and I think it would be wise for others to do so as well. Just assume that everything you say and post is public and you'll be fine.

    February 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  85. Gwendolyn

    Well, it may be logical to assume that we are being followed. I'm not worried. I was Muslim for 6 years, and used a Middle Eastern name and read in a recent article that the FBI and others watch Americans who have done that very closely. Someone else says that once I deconverted from Islam, that now I am in danger from radical Muslims. So, in my case, I find the idea that someone "has my back" to be somewhat comforting. At least no one has asked me to go into Mosques and spy on folks. So, I was asked if I was a government spy at least twice. Sadly, this is a very different world from my childhood, where so called, "bomb making" was a normal part of Western Farming activity. We used cyanide on rats and moles, dynamite for stump clearing, and a rifle to handle varmits. Sigh, those days are gone for sure.

    February 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  86. Adil Moghal

    Should taxpayer money really be going toward the salaries of DHS employees who are paid to monitor potentially negative comments about the DHS? It seems like that money could be put to better use.

    February 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  87. Will

    Why can't I make an unmoderated comment?

    February 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  88. talbet

    Facebook and Twitter are so 2011.

    February 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  89. Kathy60

    If they want to monitor my Facebook, they better friend me first.

    February 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  90. Chris

    Every American should read 1984. They're living in it, and they don't even know it. Such ignorance will lead to the death of their society.

    Oh, and DHS, you're an abomination. And if a DHS employee is reading this, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    February 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Reply
  91. ForPeteSake

    I can understand monitoring cameras for a specific area for preventing crime and known potential criminals or terrorists who are out to destroy innocent life and property but monitoring facebook & twitter for what? So DHS will know that bad things are said about them and counter w/ ads to make their image better? Nobody's watching the store anyway coz' most of their big wigs are supposedly attending expensive conferences but are actually playing golf or lounging in the beach instead. I'm not an active occupy member nor participant but I support their existence and expansion if only we can get a balance of common sense in this country...

    February 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  92. Joe

    If they were really reading FB, my nieces would have had their mouths washed out with soap long ago.

    February 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Reply
    • PeteArk

      My 31 year old daughter would probably be forced to ground herself with no computer privileges for 2 weeks.

      February 11, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  93. EnemyOfTheState

    They can't read my email. It's encrypted.

    February 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  94. Animenut

    One reason I don't use any of those social sites. Outside the fact that I think they are silly and a boor.

    February 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  95. Joe

    Homeland Security = Gestapo.

    February 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  96. Edward W.

    This is what my taxpayer dollars are going towards? Screw DHS. And while some of you may be okay with crap like this because, "I'm not doing anything that would shame my family..." well screw you too.

    You will let everyone's rights be trampled on so that your government can keep you safe from facebookers who dislike or talk smack on DHS? You are too irresponsible to be given the rights you have, take off your Yankees baseball cap and put on a big helmet so that little brain doesn't get injured any moreso than it already is.

    If you had read the article, it says definitively, it is not about finding terrorists, but locating information that reflects adversely upon the DHS.

    February 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  97. 5x

    Oh noes! Peoples are reading my public messages!

    February 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  98. Strenden

    In post 9/11 world privacy only benefits terrorists. Bravo DHS for exploring all avenues. The best thing about this is when they cast a wide net for terrorists they can catch other kinds of criminals as well. Never forget, if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. God bless America, God bless Freedom!

    February 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  99. Can You say Irony?

    That this story has the Tweet and post to Facebook option?

    Never cared much for Facebook and even less for twitter, but it's very entertaining to watch Google systematically and covertly attempt to make Facebook unpopular, Google has thousands of media affiliates and business partners that are easily swayed to ween and addicted public off of FB, and then a few years from now shove Google+ down our throats VIA the teenage highway AKA market it to the Justin Bieber crowd let them grow up with it. Google Plus will be 10 times more invasive that Facebook could ever imagine. The cache of personal data has been established more than 15 years ago and continuing, the platform is just still under construction and they have learned allot from the Facebook model. The timing of Facebooks IPO is no accident, what amazes me most are the stories coming from the release of FB's records to the S.E.C don't mesh with that B.S movie however the public has not noticed and or nor cares.

    Google just release it's new privacy policy, plus they are soliciting phone numbers to attach to your email address
    this is to insure the accuracy of their database, which is why if you run android you need a gmail account.
    In short they are attempting to eliminate the use of aliases that could possibly be used in Google+, Google has it's own OS, It's own hand held devices + Tablets....this will eliminate the need for a social networking application, If you are running a Google app on a google phone there is no need to put any of your social networking information in an application such as FB it will automatically be in Google+ VIA usage's such as Phone Calls, GPS and search history.

    Facebooks reign is at an end, This is just the weening off phase. The execs know that ,they are just cashing in on left overs. Once its publicly own it will become to saturated with ad's and everything you could image to try and turn a profit
    Subscribers and user's will flee from all the clutter and slow upload times. Basically what facebook is and will become is the world largest database for something similar to warm call marketing ,once the large cooperation purchase stock's the solicitation will be enormous; sort off like what happen to basic email as innovative as it was its basically spam storage even the marketer cant penetrate the massive amounts of spam in email storage.

    February 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  100. misfitdiva

    Its the government...they do whatever they want. Nothing new here. For all the OCCUPY people out there....what do you really think you will change? Seriously. You can yell all you want but they (Congress, Senate, President, ext..) are going to do whatever will put more money in thier own pockets. Americains need to realize that Washington doesnt care, never did care. We are just here to pay for thier million dollar lives.

    February 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  101. belial

    This is not what we're paying Homeland Security to do. What a waste of time and money.

    February 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  102. Fish

    I'm waiting for the first deranged dude to stalk and kill using cell phone GPS tracking. Beware ladies of your ex's stalking as it will happen soon!!!

    February 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  103. chuckly

    If you don't already think they don't have programs to read every single email and every single online post and monitor every phone call anyway, you are delusional. Just except it and move on with your life. And don't do anything illegal.

    February 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
    • Kamikaze

      Take your paranoid propaganda somewhere else. No the government cannot access encrypted info.

      February 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
    • TW

      Typical sheep....it doesn't matter that they can, it is the why.....let's see how many terrorist attacks or "illegal: activity this stops or has stopped. If you believe in what the USA supposedly stand for, you'd care.

      February 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
    • Nukegumby

      Capability? Yes. But if anyone thinks they've got the time, money, and/or interest to monitor all things from all people, then they're delusional. And if the Gs can't monitor all for all, to find something important by someone randomly is akin to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. Using metahuge internet-sniffing electronic creepy-crawling widgets can help the Gs sniff out things, but certainly the true Bad Guys know how to avoid the government's dictionary of sensitive key words/tricky phrases.

      Like you, I assume people of all stripes will read my words and am careful with them accordingly. I also don't break the law, but that has more to do with either my principles or with my working in a security-sensitive career field than my having a fear of my government.

      February 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
    • PeteArk

      thanks for being aboard...I made the same point 3 hours ago in the very first comment....maybe we can simplify it more ...whoth'hellcares?

      February 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
      • Erik

        @PeteArk and chuckly... sigh. So quickly people forget. Only half a century ago we saw the most repressive regimes this world has ever known, slaughtering 10s of millions of people. Yet you are fine w/ the government being given all encompassing power to surveil us? That is sad, for all of us.

        February 11, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    • David

      anything illegal... or say anything controversial or critical... or anything that would be falsely construed to be illegal or controversial or critical. Think you can't be railroaded to prison if someone powerful wants you to be?

      February 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Reply
    • Thedude

      I find it disturbing how so many seem to be ok with this neo-gestapo activity. Complacency and status quo is all anyone seems to care about. We have made it so easy for rights and privacy to be taken away that soon nothing will be left. Congrats america you just got even lazier.

      February 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Reply
    • DDWarwick

      I agree with the don't do anything illegal part. How can you not be bothered by the invasion of your privacy? If the only way the DHS can keep us safe is by spying on us all, then we need to reevaluate their usefulness. We shouldn't have to choose between liberty and security. A free society can and should have both.

      February 12, 2012 at 8:38 am | Reply
    • Al

      Yeah, screww privacy, Might as well install cameras in our toilets to make sure we're taking care of our junk too. As soon as we come up with the technology and it becomes practical, put mind reading devices and global positioning trackers on us too. Hey, as long as we're thinking the right thoughts, and taking care of our junk right?

      February 12, 2012 at 9:20 am | Reply
    • dingelberry

      The DHS or Homeland Insecurity? They are a joke and waist good money. I can get around them over they have no clue what hit them. TSA what a bunch of loosers. Body searching 90 year ladies and 3 year old children and still tehy cannot find my gun. LOL

      February 12, 2012 at 10:57 am | Reply
    • Annie

      "Just 'except' it" or just "accept" it? Is it legal or illegal now to criticize your government in the U.S.? I know it's illegal in a country with a dictatorship. If you say it's legal in the U.S. to critique the government, then why are they looking for people who do so? Apparently, just not doing anything illegal doesn't matter anymore, and sheeple like you make it easy for them.

      February 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  104. JJ

    Paul Callan needs to see a therapist. Bad paranoia.

    February 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  105. JJ

    What BS. Of course DHS looks at social media. Just like everyone else, it needs to stay in touch with what people are thinking. You chumps criticize them because they are out of touch, but if they try to stay in touch they're spying on you? Paranoid putzes. Back under your rocks. SHOO!

    February 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  106. Kana

    If we're not doing anything wrong what do we have to worry about, right?
    After all the gov't is only looking out for our best interest.

    February 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Reply
  107. Stuart

    Stop using Facebook and Tweets. Idiots.

    February 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  108. opinionguru

    I hope it annoys liberals no end! Keep up the good work.

    February 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  109. Steve

    Huh...a govt agency trolling the web to look for references to itself in order to clean up and insure its image. Hmm, Gestapo?...KGB?

    Geez...1984 at least?...Anyone?

    February 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Reply
  110. Doug S.


    February 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  111. Freddo

    I don't see anything wrong with DHS reading public posts – they're PUBLIC.

    It's what they do with that information that could be an issue. If I want to post that DHS is a bunch of incompetent twits, and they then try to make my life miserable ... that's when they'd be engaging in anti-American activities. Until then, I don't give a rat's butt what they read that's in the public domain... so long as it's authorized under their charter.

    February 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  112. Texas Coyote

    If anyone asks yet again, why the OCCUPIERS (OCCUPY is a permanent world wide movement for justice and more equity for the working class!) all over the United States and world are protesting. Listen up! “You control our world. You've poisoned the air we breathe, contaminated the water we drink, and copyrighted the food we eat. We fight in your wars, die for your causes, and sacrifice our freedoms to protect you. You've liquidated our savings, destroyed our middle class, and used our tax dollars to bailout your unending greed. We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants... to your decadence. You've stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic human rights as human beings. You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and shredded our unions. You've profited off of disaster, destabilized our currencies, and raised our cost of living(while lowering our wages). You've monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame. Now you are trying to silence us with SOPA/PIPA type legislation that cripples /sabotages the internet under false pretenses. We are hit...we are bleeding... but we ain't got time to bleed. We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution! WAKE UP AMERICA! SUPPORT OCCUPY!

    February 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Reply
    • PeteArk

      SO many words ! SO much paranoia ! SO much passive/agressive passion ! I KNEW at least one of you would come screaming out into the light.

      February 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
      • Dragonmum

        Agree Pete. We are only slaves if we allow ourselves to be. Only fear will enslave us. Passion is good, but passion + fear quickly deteriorates into over-the-top rhetoric and rash actions. We know they're watching. AND?

        February 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
      • TW

        too bad there's an element of truth in what he says Petey....see some people care about their freedom and privacy, and most ARE not paranoid. In fact, since you like to talk about paranoid, this kind of activity, though it goes on all the time, when combined with things such as drones in the sky, intense surveillance by local law enforcement using military grade equipment without oversight, well, it is the ones doing those things whoa re paranoid, and more than slightly perverted.

        February 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
      • ConcernedNetizen

        You comment on Paranoia is funny with regard to this being an article on CNN about a government agency that collects data about innocent people. Just because your paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get you..

        February 11, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Reply
        • Doublesip

          The government collects public information on its citizens! You're too late man, the Census was 2 years ago.

          February 12, 2012 at 4:45 am | Reply
        • Frank

          Anyone who wouldnt be paranoid is a dum axx!

          February 12, 2012 at 9:09 am | Reply
      • Terry G

        I old (73) and have nothing whatsoever to do with Occupy, but what is said here has much merit and is based in fact.

        February 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
      • betseymcqueen15

        It's ok PeteArk. I know it's a lot of words but if you read really slowly and try sounding out the words, I know you can do it! P.s I saw a few posts ago you actually called someone out bc they posted something you posted pages and pages ago. I laughed out loud at how pathetic and childish you are! Like, really, idiot had to actually say "no, i was first! Me me!" ahahah! How sad!

        February 12, 2012 at 4:34 am | Reply
      • wcthtfol

        laughing all the way to my Fb page to make sure I say something entertaining (extra boring) and useful to DHS.

        February 12, 2012 at 8:40 am | Reply
      • Russell Taylor

        There are more than just a few of us out here who are not sheep like you, we are many we will not bow to the machine that is destroying America, we will defend America against the tyranny that is oppressing us and we will win, if you want to be part of the problem so be it, you will be a loser too in the end.

        February 12, 2012 at 8:49 am | Reply
      • Winston5


        February 12, 2012 at 8:53 am | Reply
    • dudester

      hey TX Coyote....ummm hate ta tell ya this, but to a large extent you are part of the YOU ur bashing and blaming for the ills of the US. You realize the electricity you consumed with your computer to write your reply contributes to the YOU problems you're railing all about. As take looksy in the mirror or your glass house...

      February 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Reply
    • Penny Lane

      I completely agree with Texas Coyote. I hope when the revolution starts I'm standing beside him. WE HAVE RIGHTS PEOPLE. DONT BE SILENCED BY THE GOVERNMENT!

      February 11, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Reply
    • Mel

      Yeah, but if you're openly writing things on the internet, how can you get mad that ANYONE is reading it, including a government agency. It would be one thing if agents were using passwords to hack your account, but it's silly to get mad at people writing what you display publicly. That's like walking down the street with a cigarette that looks like a joint (even if it's just a cigarette), then wondering why a cop stops to talk to you and ask you about it. You're not getting arrested, but you're doing something that may be bad and doing it openly.

      February 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Reply
    • Kevin

      Gotta love the occutards.

      February 12, 2012 at 1:17 am | Reply
    • 66Biker

      Why aren't any of you Occupiers occupying Congress? The "1%" (which s a drastically low estimate at best) you are so fond of hating are making billions of dollars off of laws made to favor them. If you really want things to change, start voting Independent and put an end to the Dumbocrat and Republicon regime.

      February 12, 2012 at 2:51 am | Reply
    • Deborah Parks

      You made a lot of good points, but you left out "stealing our children" by using child "protection" services and corrupt family courts to destroy mothers and our rights to our children and our grandchildren... There are a LOT MORE REASONS, most of us don't think you're paranoid, we think you're right on, except you left a few things out... WE WILL never, never, never GIVE UP OUR CHILDREN WITHOUT A FIGHT, SO, GET READY FOR A FIGHT. If children aren't returned by MOTHERS' DAY 2012, we will NOT GO TO WORK, NOT DRIVE OUR CARS, NOT SPEND OUR MONEY, NOT PARTICIPATE IN SOCIETY UNTIL ALL CHILDREN ARE RETURNED TO THEIR LOVING MOTHERS! to join us post to my blog at i revolution tree dot word press dot com and post your story and share with your friends. I HOPE THEY ARE WATCHING US, because then they will finally hear from MOTHERS OF THE WORLD united... WE ARE IN THE MILLIONS, WE WILL BE HEARD!!! so there, tweet that!

      February 12, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  113. Doug S.

    Comments are not pre-screened before they post SO WHAT IS THIS ? (Your comment is awaiting moderation.)

    February 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  114. Shaking-in-my-shoes

    More troublesome is the Bill that US citizens can be held without trial for any amount of time.. Although they state that this is not for Americans, but they are able to round us up under this bill if they want too. I don't see any need for the government to watch FB and twitter.. if a terrorist is going to post a status update, I would imagine one of his friends would turn him in.
    They (DHS) seem to be watching what negative things people have to say about DHS, but what are they going to do with that info, put you personally on some kind of list that your communist, or enemy of the state? lol

    February 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  115. Doug S.

    1984 comin at ya,

    February 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Reply
  116. LargoBarbara

    Surprise, surprise.

    February 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  117. Wastrel

    They "might soon" be monitoring Facebook and Twitter? Bah. They are doing it already.

    February 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
    • PeteArk

      and.....hey ! I"M not doing anything that would shame my family....why should I care....?

      February 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
      • KeithTexas

        You can only "not care" by being ignorant of the possibilities of abuse in the future.

        February 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply
      • TW

        you're a sheep

        February 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Reply
      • Neli

        Amen. Kinda funny yet sad to see how people demand that their rights should be protected and their safety as American citizens should be a priority of US, and at the same time they complain that they're watched/supervised – and websites, social networks, airspace, borders and so on are monitored. How are they supposed to protect and watch out for possible threats, if they're not allowed to keep an eye out for people? Makes me think of a mother that is supposed to take care of and protect her child, yet she's not allowed to intervene when the kid crosses the busy street, when there's a stranger approaching, when the kid is choking, drowning and so on. Hm.

        February 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Reply
      • Derek

        You should care because your civil liberties are being violated and stripped from you.

        February 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
      • Jack Craig

        Is it not legal to criticize homeland security? If you do, will some of your posts start disappearing? Will some guy in a black suit show up at your door asking you why you have the un-American gall to make such a post? If you are a journalist, will your editor get a call explaining that your paper, e-zine or whatever will never again get any exclusives from DHS or any other government agency. Will your brother not get that top secret clearance he needs to get the cushy job reading facebook pages at DHS. If they're given the power to do it, they will abuse that power. Remember, power corrupts.

        February 11, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Reply
      • Orion1957

        why should you care?
        it's about principles.
        if they decide and direct the need to read all your snail mail, listen in to every phone call, text, or tweet.... will you care then, PeteArk??

        February 12, 2012 at 12:51 am | Reply
      • Hiernonymous

        "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about" is a vapid and bankrupt excuse for intrusiveness and tyranny. There are any number of things I do that are neither illegal nor shameful that I do not want to share with some government functionary. It shouldn't be necessary for any citizen to explain why he doesn't want the government reading, collating, analyzing, and acting on his speech, public or private; the government should be explaining why the superfluous DHS is wasting taxpayer dollars trolling our conversations. "The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy."

        February 12, 2012 at 4:21 am | Reply
      • Winston5

        Depends on the kind of family you got.

        February 12, 2012 at 8:54 am | Reply
  118. Barry Soetoro

    Obviously they're not reading mine because I have all my stuff set to private and I'm not friends with them.

    February 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Reply
  119. JoeyS

    Roger that PeteArk, I aint got nothin to hide and I gladly give up this right so that they might just catch someone saying something that they should not be saying. Illegal that is.

    February 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  120. Dragonmum

    Sorry Erin – this isn't news to anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the last decade. Putting anything on line is the equivalent of simply handing it to all our government minders to put in our "permanent file". Write boldly; hide nothing, realizing there really isn't anywhere to hide. What we need from journalists and private citizens is a loud and long howl of outrage if they are ever pressured or prosecuted for free speech. From your( meaning the entire CNN team, not just you, Erin) extremely poor reporting of the SOPA and now ACTA freedom of information issues, it seems to me that the CNN team is more intimidated by their owner and master, TW, than the US Government. That's even more "chilling" to me.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:57 am | Reply
  121. Brad

    They have been watching ever since the patriot act idiots. Everything we hit submit on is stored in Level 3 servers. Level 3 supplies 92% of the internet to all the world. Yes comcast and all those other's with the exception of ATT buy all their internet from Level 3. I know a head for Level 3 and the public has no idea that all the information that is saved on you and the ppl you know

    February 11, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply
  122. Les Benson

    The concept may sound misguided but in the search for both the home-grown (growing at a frightening pace) and the external terrorist, the pursuit of the needles in haystacks that lead to pieces of a puzzle that could harm us, can be an effective tool. Effective investigative work is just that. Quite often those that do and will carry out a malicious attack, i.e Unabomber, Mcveigh etc. often rant somewhere to vent their anger and do leave clues out in the open for discovery by law enforcement. As long as we remain a strong nation of laws it is not a threat (in my opinion) to my liberties for those that protect us to be alert for the tiny whispers of terror and mayhem

    February 11, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
  123. John

    Sort of like the KGB or STASI from the past. What's next, pick you up in the middle of the night for enhanced interrogation in a foreign country?
    Land of freedom and liberty, seems not so much anymore.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
  124. Mary Anne

    People generally don't believe things like this can happen. Their government? No. Actually monitor your activities? No. Well it can happen here if you let it happen. Its happened in other countries. East Germany had a great system – they even had family members and neighbors who reported on each other. We've just made it easier for the government to monitor our activities in the name of Homeland Security. What a joke.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
  125. tony

    Just think. Those were all the reasons we had to fight the evils of communism all through the cold war.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:52 am | Reply
    • jackstraw01

      Exactly. If we criticize the DHS ( a redundant department that needs to be defunded immediately), will we now be put on a watch list? What is next, reeducation camps and forced newspeak? Are we no longer living in a country where we value freedom of speech? The government is for the people and the people have a right and a duty to criticize it, and all its departments, including the redundant, unnecessary DHS.

      February 11, 2012 at 11:59 am | Reply
    • PeteArk

      kinda like a FEW of the GIVEN reasons

      February 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Reply
    • sparknut

      And you don't think the FBI was keeping a close watch on a huge number of people during the Cold War? This is nothing new, just an update on technology. And if DHS is reading my FB account, they must be bored.

      February 12, 2012 at 7:21 am | Reply
  126. Chris

    Well, there goes the Fourth Amendment. First SOPA/PIPA/ACTA, and now this.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:39 am | Reply
  127. Bryan

    If they start to censor things/people are critical of DHS and our other post 9/11 "freedom protectors" (lol)

    I will continue to post and criticize until they bar me from having internet access....Good luck with that.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
  128. Bryan

    If they start to censor things/people are critical of DHS and our other post 9/11 "freedom protectors" (lol)

    I will continue to post and critisize until they bar me from having internet access....Good luck with that.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
  129. Captain Obvious

    This is such a non-issue it's not even funny. They're only reading stuff that is available to the general public, in other words if you protect your page, they're not reading it. People need to get a grip and realize that if you publicly post on Facebook and Twitter you're inviting ANYONE to read it. If you have a problem with that, then change your settings.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:37 am | Reply
  130. Jo

    If I choose to have my facebook be private and they break into it, isn't that illegal? Same goes for twitter.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:37 am | Reply
  131. Syphor

    What I'd like to know is if they can see past security, like if I have my wall filtered to "Close friends" only can they see past that, and if they do a full monitoring to only look as US comments or everyone, like me being Canadian how much of my information could be viewed by the US Government? and how legal is that internationally?

    February 11, 2012 at 11:36 am | Reply
  132. Jake

    Just make your FB profile private, if they still can read whats on it. Sue.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:36 am | Reply
  133. Brandon

    Maybe they should spend more time fixing this country and spend less time assessing my political views.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:35 am | Reply
  134. JC

    Let's face it, the government completely ignored the court rulings regarding the monitoring of emails, etc., for the purpose of national security. The current court has pretty much allowed them a free pass. The problem isn't in looking for terrorists; the problem is in singling people who disagree with you. Remember good old Bush and the Dixie Chicks? Remember Nixon, and how he liked to use the FBI as his personal enforcement branch? Would you still exercise your freedom of speech if you knew that someone in the government could make your life a living hell simply for disagreeing? Are you so naive that you don't think this could happen, has happened, and will certainly happen in the future? If you're not concerned with this potential problem, then you're part of the problem itself.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:33 am | Reply
  135. Sam Smith

    And you thought Bush was bad...

    February 11, 2012 at 11:14 am | Reply
  136. Andrew W

    It's not repressive. it's no more repressive than having cops on the streets or outside of protests. Posting a Tweet on Twitter is no different than standing on a street corner screaming your opinion to anyone who will listen, and if your privacy settings are set to "public" for everything on Facebook and you say stuff on there it's the same principle. Situational awareness in this case ranges from everything to just seeing what the public's opinion is of the organization, to actual threats towards the organization.

    Basically, If your posting things on a public forum expect them to be monitored to the same extent as if you were shouting them out on the street corner or handing out pamphlets. Now if they start arresting people, or deleting these tweets/status updates based strictly off what they said, then we have a problem.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:11 am | Reply
  137. RonFromNM

    "Your comment is awaiting moderation". CNN just doing its part to help Americans express their 1st amendment rights.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:10 am | Reply
  138. RonFromNM

    Come and get me, DHS. This rights trampling dept should never have been created. Zieg Heil.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:09 am | Reply
  139. alex

    The FBI already admitted it monitoring facebook and social networks

    February 11, 2012 at 11:06 am | Reply
  140. Marie

    Farewell, freedom of speech. You were great while we knew you.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
  141. James Robinson

    so they are now playing farmville and taking my trees and cows I share with friends. and worst of all they don't even bother to click LIKE. thats sooooo Rude

    February 11, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
  142. bobo

    Personally, I think DHS is a waste of money.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:01 am | Reply
  143. Neli

    Bahaha let'em read – I'd say if YOU post something that is a threat to NS, then it's your problem and you should be watched and hopefully nailed. As far as watching what the "boring" people say – they'll get crossed eye and sick of all the BS, drama and TMI that's shared 🙂 I'd hate to have their job :p

    February 11, 2012 at 10:59 am | Reply
  144. tluv00

    The information is public anyways so who cares. Burglars are reading our posts. So are con-men/women and other criminals. I am sure other countries are too. It's public information for the most part.

    Now if they are going around the privacy settings of Facebook then that is a different story.

    February 11, 2012 at 10:59 am | Reply
  145. Chaz

    Anyone surprised by this probably shouldn't be allowed a computer. And like PeteArk said, I feel bad for the person who has to sort through my profiles, nothing more than a never ending stream of dick and fart jokes.

    February 11, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
  146. Kevin

    "collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture."

    Amusing way to say "thought police." Certainly you guys must have something better to spend my money on than this.

    February 11, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
  147. i_know_everything

    I've got nothing to hide

    February 11, 2012 at 10:39 am | Reply
    • i_know_everything

      so i have no problems at them looking into these things, as long as it keeps us safe

      February 11, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  148. Phil in Oregon

    Same here. If they want to bore themselves to death it means nothing to me. I was taught years and years ago – don't put anything online you don't want your mother to see. Now include your boss, your husband/wife, the govt...

    February 11, 2012 at 10:37 am | Reply
  149. Larry

    If they're reading my Facebook, they'd be pretty freakin' bored. Then again, I'd hate to sift through all the teen girls' status updates. How many times can you read, "Ewwww, gross!!" before barfing?

    February 11, 2012 at 10:33 am | Reply
  150. PAPilot

    A government that fears its people is one that should be feared by those people.

    February 11, 2012 at 10:24 am | Reply
  151. Johnny

    Did anyone assume things you post on these sites was *not* watched?

    February 11, 2012 at 10:23 am | Reply
  152. Eddie

    Well, if you don't want the government in your business, then my suggestion would be not to post anything that says who you work for. In fact, why would you want someone to know what you do for DHS or any other government agency for that matter? The same would apply if you support the private sector....keep it simple, stick to connecting to friends and family...work should be kept out of social media sites...just my opinion.

    The move is legal for "public" information, but if your stuff is private and the governemnt is reading it, then I see a problem.

    February 11, 2012 at 10:21 am | Reply
  153. petz

    Anyone who thinks they're not already monitoring social media is delusional. You really think they'd tell us? They do what they want without consequence. George Orwell told us it was coming. He was just wrong about the year.

    February 11, 2012 at 10:19 am | Reply
  154. snowdogg

    Paranoia runs deep... nothing in this article that outlines any policy directed toward repressing "political" speech. I'd be more concerned about how Google, Facebook, etc is used to profile you and results are sold to advertisers.

    February 11, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply
  155. PeteArk

    If they're reading what I say online we have a major national security problem...my life is so damn boring it will put all the watchdogs to sleep and they'll miss the bad guys...keep th' coffee comin' !

    February 11, 2012 at 10:10 am | Reply
    • Eddie

      Hello Pete, I concur with your assessment. My only point is when we are aware that we're not supposed to put out there information that while it may not be classified in nature, it may be sensitive by associating what we do with our employers. The bad guys also use social media to target employees and contractors alike in an attempt to exploit/extract information. Again, I do agree with your view as well.

      February 11, 2012 at 11:34 am | Reply
    • PeteArk

      see...I even bored others who might have commented....sorry Erin.

      February 11, 2012 at 11:36 am | Reply
      • drivenbyreason

        You ruined this whole topic with you snarky comments...

        February 12, 2012 at 7:42 am | Reply
    • Darryl

      It would be a computer that searches for key words or phrases.

      February 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Reply
    • CADude

      Sure but think about all the government jobs this is creating. Soon the ratio of citizens to government employees will be 1/1.

      February 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Reply
    • Mel

      Ha, I thought the same thing. I'm not that kind of interesting. I can quote "Princess Bride," but something tells me the DHS doesn't care.

      February 11, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Reply
  156. rlowens1

    They already know how many cavities I have in my mouth. This is why I don't participate in social networking sites. My privacy has value only to me.

    February 11, 2012 at 9:48 am | Reply
  157. John Q. Public

    And I'm sure DHS monitors this news site comments as well as all the other sites, looking for communists, oops, I mean terrorists.

    February 11, 2012 at 9:47 am | Reply
  158. gs

    Yeah..alright. Terrorists are posting their targets publically on Facebook and Twitter. Way to go DHS!! I suppose you got a lot of taxpayers money that makes you come out with these strange theories.

    February 11, 2012 at 9:41 am | Reply
  159. BuzzMann

    LOL,whats a mater is everyone afraid to post now ?

    February 11, 2012 at 9:37 am | Reply
  160. Robert

    Not at all surprising in this day and age. Big brother is watching.

    February 11, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
  161. SeriouslyLateOnThisCNN

    Mr. Callan is seriously late on this news piece. The DHS has been monitoring your Emails and private online messages since 9/11. I am uncertain why CNN would conceal this as a matter of fact for so many years, when so many innocently hacked Americans can substantiate that their accounts were illicitly violated or intruded upon by the Executive Branch which oversees all of these agencies. So, the next time you are violated in this manner – it is the White House – the Oval Office that needs to hear about it – go over the head of DHS – because they will do nothing. From the FBI to even the local police – all of these law enforcement agencies have been subjectively hacking at will – your computer's information even disrupting it whenever they please.

    How do I know more than most?

    An agent disclosed this to me and declared that they run the nation now.

    CNN, you're reporting old news, here.

    February 11, 2012 at 9:28 am | Reply
  162. BJ

    "collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture" What in the name of God does that even mean? So glad that we are using taxpayer dollars to pay government weenies to read Facebook. As if they are not on it all the time at work anyway, now we have to encourage the practice. Yes, we surely need to raise taxes. Otherwise, how would we pay for these crucial government initiatives that are invaluable in keeping all of us more "secure?"

    February 11, 2012 at 9:25 am | Reply
    • Mark

      That Sir is information operations.

      February 17, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Reply
  163. ExecutiveOfficer

    First and no, I don't care. If I post whatever, then I should have to pay the consequences of my stupidity.

    February 11, 2012 at 8:47 am | Reply
  164. elflander

    So what if we cast aspersions on the DHS in response to this story?

    For the record, I think the DHS is on the side of the angels, consisting of agents who are filled with nothing but sweetness and light. God bless the DHS and God bless us everyone. 🙂

    February 11, 2012 at 8:43 am | Reply

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