So "KILL PRESIDENT WITH BOMB" is right out, then?
May 31, 2013 3:07 PM   Subscribe

 
The folks at 2600 have got to be just ecstatic today.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:09 PM on May 31, 2013 [16 favorites]


Hello to all my friends and fans in domestic surveillance
posted by dortmunder at 3:10 PM on May 31, 2013 [20 favorites]


As a DC resident, I find it kind of awesome that WMATA is being monitored, because for the most part (at least on twitter), that sequence of letters is nothing but people complaining about Metro.
posted by tittergrrl at 3:11 PM on May 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


I remember when ECHELON first came to general notice, and people were sticking the sensitive words in their .sigs. Or was that only on cypherpunks-l? Good times, man.
posted by jquinby at 3:12 PM on May 31, 2013 [14 favorites]




I wondered about 2600 too. I figured it was like the time I saw a police job application that asked if you'd ever taken "MANDREX" (a misspelled name of a drug that was never available in the US). Typical cop cluelessness. The phone system to which 2600's title refers hasn't even existed since far before the current crop of Anonymous hax0rs were ever born.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:13 PM on May 31, 2013


Finally, we can get down to who's been causing all the tornadoes, ice, sleet, and "lightening"!
posted by threeants at 3:14 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Open up, man, I got the stuff."
Glad that'll still slip under the radar.
posted by klarck at 3:15 PM on May 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Look man I can't talk about the lightening right now dude send me a MeMa^M^M^M^M@^^@^###NO CARRIER
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:18 PM on May 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


It really amuses me that most of them are the official words for things like 'incident' and 'facility' or Drug Administration (FDA).

That seems impossibly unlikely to get any decent hits because normal people just don't say "I was thinking of testing National Preparedness by creating an Incident at a Nuclear Facility to establish Critical Infrastructure" as part of the terrorist vernacular.

Mind you, they're also monitoring 'Cops' and 'Crash' so maybe it doesn't matter because they are drowning in a sea of false positives?
posted by Brockles at 3:18 PM on May 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


What a vast, sprawling indictment of our political system this department has turned out to be.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:19 PM on May 31, 2013 [15 favorites]


Ha—that totally answers the unspoken question I had earlier. I was tweeting my dream from last night, in which I was chased by the police, and thought to myself, "I wonder if that means the authorities are gonna be reading my tweets again..."
posted by limeonaire at 3:21 PM on May 31, 2013


"Pressure cooker" gets a pass - provided there's no pork in it.
posted by davebush at 3:22 PM on May 31, 2013


Well I give credit where credit is due. By my search Muslim does not appear on that page at all.
Good job Government! You're learning well.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 3:22 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Phrack is probably pissed they didn't make the list and 2600 did.

they are still around right?
posted by Ad hominem at 3:23 PM on May 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


If you want a real laugh, look at pages 37-8 of the full document.
posted by junco at 3:23 PM on May 31, 2013 [13 favorites]


Also, "lightening," really? God, no wonder they haven't caught any supervillains with giant lightning machines yet.
posted by limeonaire at 3:24 PM on May 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Given the shitty state of the world I would be more concerned about status updates that contain none of those words.
posted by GuyZero at 3:24 PM on May 31, 2013


I notice it says "Powder (white)", so if I talk about fuchsia powder, does that not show up?
posted by ckape at 3:24 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the list:
norvovirus
lightening
Come on, DHS. Get it together. Proofreading is important.

PS: "sleet", "snow", and "ice"? Really?
PPS: "Conficker" but not "Stuxnet"?
posted by mhum at 3:24 PM on May 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh great. As someone who works in hazardous materials management and cleanup that sometimes requires emergency management and response - "Hello Friends!"
posted by Big_B at 3:25 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good job Government! Your learning well.

Bumper sticker.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:26 PM on May 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Back in the long long ago in the time that was, it was mildly popular for nerds to add X-NSA: headers to all their email and Usenet posts. For example X-NSA-Bait: wiretap pgp cryptoterrorist rsa des. There's even Emacs code to insert this automatically, M-x spook, with a variety of hacks to automate it.
posted by Nelson at 3:26 PM on May 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


On the upside, we can still plan for the downfall of the Great Satan.
posted by biffa at 3:26 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


So if I strain a muscle when I exercise and buy an ice pack at Target to aid in my recovery, it's suspicious activity?
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:27 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


My username is on the list.

I mean, I already know that everything I do is suspicious to the DHS, but I had no idea it went quite this far.
posted by toxic at 3:29 PM on May 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Back in the long long ago, in the time that was, it was mildly popular for nerds to add X-NSA: headers to all their email and Usenet posts. For example X-NSA-Bait: wiretap pgp cryptoterrorist rsa des. There's even Emacs code to insert this automatically, M-x spook, with a variety of hacks to automate it.

Yeah, when I posted this to Facebook I mentioned that we've been doing those kinds of jokes since BBS days, which sparked a long BBS nostalgia thread. "KILL PRESIDENT WITH BOMB" was the standard joke back then, even, so my title is a 20+ year old gag.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:29 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


The listing of 2600 actually has nothing to do with the magazine. Much like certain Casio watches, Ataris are commonly used by many terrorist organizations.
posted by ckape at 3:30 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ataris are commonly used by many terrorist organizations

What a waste of good vintage hardware.
posted by limeonaire at 3:31 PM on May 31, 2013


Is there any reason at all to believe that this boilerplate stuff from the DHS New Employee Manual (dated 2011) that this comes from has any relationship whatsoever to what their snooping software is actually programmed to search for?
posted by straight at 3:32 PM on May 31, 2013


Mennonite Disaster Service, which responds to hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, and other extreme weather-related emergencies, is soooo busted.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:32 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


What a waste of good vintage hardware.

They just use them to play Kaboom!. I mean what the hell else are you gonna do with an Atari?
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:32 PM on May 31, 2013


They intentionally lose at Kaboom!. That's their terrorist plot.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:33 PM on May 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


I drilled this smart girl with a killer bust from Juarez, now it burns when I leak.
posted by 256 at 3:34 PM on May 31, 2013 [14 favorites]


Agh. Play endless games of Joust, that's what!
posted by limeonaire at 3:36 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Torrential rain in the pacific northwest.
posted by ceribus peribus at 3:38 PM on May 31, 2013


So if I strain a muscle when I exercise and buy an ice pack at Target to aid in my recovery, it's suspicious activity?

No, but Target already knows to offer you coupons on Motrin and yoga pants next time you come in.
posted by maryr at 3:48 PM on May 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Please note that this article is from 2012. Thank you.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:49 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unless I'm missing something, their terrorism keywords don't include anything related to domestic right-wing extremism. Other than the really broad ones like "extremism" I mean.
posted by brundlefly at 3:49 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Radioactive gangs burn toxic marijuana. Target social media relief! Help recall home grown agriculture.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 3:49 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obviously, "lightening" refers to the terrorists' plans to destroy our democratic system of gravity.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:51 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


My favorite is "Erosion".

AH, SALAAM TO YOU THIS DAY, MY BROTHERS IN JIHAD!!!!
DO YOU WISH TO DISCUSS EROSION????
WE ARE IN TOTAL PRIVACY, BEREFT OF THE INFIDEL!!!!
TELL ME YOUR INNERMOST THOUGHTS
ON EROSION
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:53 PM on May 31, 2013 [34 favorites]


How do they actually monitor this? I mean, the internet is fucking obsessed with pork products. Do they wait until several suspicious keywords show up to begin monitoring, or are they carefully monitoring every carnivore, biologist and weather writer out there?
posted by NoraReed at 4:00 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have you met my friend, Hal K-da?
posted by klangklangston at 4:01 PM on May 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


So are they only monitoring in English?
posted by avocet at 4:02 PM on May 31, 2013


Man if I was on that taskforce I'd be all like, no seriously, a lot of terrorists have been searching for 18-year-old anal cheerleaders so that's why I put it on the list.
posted by klangklangston at 4:02 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


That post was like so, May 26 2012.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:03 PM on May 31, 2013


The rest of her was from Juarez too.
posted by 256 at 4:03 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, you'll notice that they have a whole section on weather, it's not just terrorism. If you're scanning twitter (for example) to try to detect when there is some kind of severe weather emergency, or some longer-term weather problems, then it's not so silly to look for words like 'lightning' and 'erosion'.

I'm against NSA-style domestic spying as much as anyone, but monitoring twitter for flu symptom keywords to get some idea of what's happening with public health seems pretty sensible, actually.
posted by Pyry at 4:05 PM on May 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Drat. I've been saying it wrong all these years -- It's a Dedicated Denial of Service Attack. Clearly I am doing it wrong.
posted by bafflegab at 4:05 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ctrl-F "tickle the president." Sweet, my slash fic is in the clear.
posted by drezdn at 4:05 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


How do they actually monitor this?

If this is actually related to a real ongoing monitoring program, it looks more like a way of trying to watch social media for early warning of news that might be relevant to DHS rather than any sort of counterterrorism spying. Hoping to hear about a tornado on twitter 10 minutes before you hear about it on CNN or something like that.
posted by straight at 4:05 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even the terrorism-related words make sense in that light: it's crowdsourcing disaster warnings. Note that they don't have terms like "Al-Qaeda", presumably because whoever made the list isn't interested in following would-be jihadist's screeds.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:10 PM on May 31, 2013


I want a fridge magnet set.

In Ciudad Juarez when your bust feels like ice they call them Mexicles.

Pork evacuation! Smart!

Shootout cancelled. First responder dirty bombing airborne swine plume.
posted by jimmythefish at 4:10 PM on May 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


The term "social media" is on the list.

Of phrases they monitor.

On social media.

:/
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:11 PM on May 31, 2013 [18 favorites]


I can't decide whether this list is a demonstration of how wildly behind the times the DHS is -- I mean, keyword searching, really, they don't have something a little stronger than that going on? -- or a just the thing they throw out there publicly to make it look like they're cooperatively answering questions and this sort of low level crap is all they have going on.

Sneaky or just incompetent. It's so hard to tell.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:12 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


We're all snarking about this but there was a time in America when government listening in to your communications would have been not only scandalous but actually illegal and punishable. Imagine that.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 4:13 PM on May 31, 2013 [12 favorites]


The term "social media" is on the list.
We finally have what we need to shut down facebook.
posted by Tacodog at 4:22 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh noes! The terrorists will have to resort to slang and metaphor to avoid the DHS panopticon now.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:22 PM on May 31, 2013


Please to note that cannibal is not on the list; Operation HanniGram is a go.
posted by elizardbits at 4:24 PM on May 31, 2013


Interestingly enough, monitoredkeywords.tumblr.com is still available. Now I just have to decide if making posting weird keyword poetry as obnoxiously ironic "art" is worth being a Person of Interest.
posted by elizardbits at 4:28 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like to think of myself as a Person of Disinterest.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:31 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


So if I strain a muscle when I exercise and buy an ice pack at Target to aid in my recovery, it's suspicious activity?

Funny you should mention. I did just that recently and then carried the ice pack on a plane, and because it's full of a non-Newtonian fluid, TSA people pulled my bag and made all the security theater concerned faces at it both coming and going. So apparently yes.
posted by clavicle at 4:33 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm glad that we don't live in some sort of totalitarian state where our every utterance is open to investigation by the government. Because that would really suck.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:33 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, you'll notice that they have a whole section on weather, it's not just terrorism. If you're scanning twitter (for example) to try to detect when there is some kind of severe weather emergency, or some longer-term weather problems, then it's not so silly to look for words like 'lightning' and 'erosion'.

I'm against NSA-style domestic spying as much as anyone, but monitoring twitter for flu symptom keywords to get some idea of what's happening with public health seems pretty sensible, actually.


But weather prediction and public health surveys aren't really the responsibility of the DHS. Yes, they are responsible for responding to natural disasters, but surely having an intern watching the weather channel beats scanning Twitter for all instances of "ice" or "snow". Particularly since the former is less likely to flag false-positive discussions of which white early 1990s rapper was the best. Or, even more obviously, they could get the information straight from the professionals at the NOAA, which is not part of the DHS.

Yes, generically, someone scanning trends to find flu symptoms is a good thing. But surely this is the CDC or another medical agency, not the DHS. Just because some government agency should do something doesn't mean it's okay for any agency. I mean, I would not be okay with the tax people buying a stockpile of shotguns and stun grenades, or with the police asking every employer in the city how much their workers are paid. Even though I'm pretty okay with the other way around.

Hoping to hear about a tornado on twitter 10 minutes before you hear about it on CNN or something like that.


The DHS doesn't respond to tornadoes by scrambling jets to blow them the fuck out of the sky; they drive trucks full of blankets and cots and shit to the place a tornado happened. Is this really something where seconds count? Especially at the cost, both in terms of money and privacy?
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 4:36 PM on May 31, 2013


seriously which one of you assholes just registered that tumblr

i hate everyone
posted by elizardbits at 4:40 PM on May 31, 2013 [12 favorites]


Jeez, think of all the poor synth heads who just want to talk about ARP 2600s or the Access Virus or Wave files.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:42 PM on May 31, 2013


Intelligence Services Struggling With Terrorist Suspects Keeping to Themselves

Monitoring "social media" only works if you don't care about catching the non-chatty. And it has to be done in a not-stupid way.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:44 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Initiative"?
posted by hwestiii at 4:52 PM on May 31, 2013


I don't think that gangsters actually use the phrase "organized crime" in their correspondence....
posted by schmod at 5:27 PM on May 31, 2013


tittergrrl: "As a DC resident, I find it kind of awesome that WMATA is being monitored, because for the most part (at least on twitter), that sequence of letters is nothing but people complaining about Metro."

Considering that "delays," "cancelled," "service disruption," "failure or outage," and "collapse" are also on that list, it's a small wonder that Metro's own PR team isn't in Gitmo by now...
posted by schmod at 5:29 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh noes! The terrorists will have to resort to slang and metaphor to avoid the DHS panopticon now.

Darmok on the ocean.

Darmok inside the Beltway.

Shaka when the walls fell.
posted by Avelwood at 5:31 PM on May 31, 2013 [12 favorites]


Jeez, think of all the poor synth heads who just want to talk about ARP 2600s or the Access Virus or Wave files.
Amateurs. You want WMD and maybe Flight of Harmony.

Good stuff for making drones.
posted by b1tr0t at 5:34 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


As someone who once wrote a (simple) program for reading physician documentation, I'm gonna guess that there are combinations of those words and contexts that lend certain words/phraes more weight. Further, having put out a list of words that they say they're looking for, a sudden increase of synonyms for those words might be what Scooby Dum would have called a Klue.
posted by Mooski at 6:03 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]




It was interesting that MARTA and BART were called out by name. Also both the IRA and the PLO, who have both been awfully quiet lately.

Quite the cast list for the Southwest Border Violence section too.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:44 PM on May 31, 2013


I'll take "Hazmat and Nuclear" for 800, Alex!
posted by islander at 6:44 PM on May 31, 2013


Dear Government,

Lick my sack
posted by Renoroc at 6:44 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


We're all snarking about this but there was a time in America when government listening in to your communications would have been not only scandalous but actually illegal and punishable.

they're reading publicly available interweb content. it is deeply troubling that the state can claim to, say, read emails without a warrant, but this isn't that.
posted by jpe at 6:46 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've always assumed that the government/Coca Cola could read my facebook, which is why I like to keep to about 45 percent noise so they never know when I'm taking bomb drug phreaking outbreaks MARTA.
posted by klangklangston at 7:03 PM on May 31, 2013


What I love is that Forbes' site posted these words in the form of image scans of pages. Guess they weren't feeling too cocky.
posted by JHarris at 7:30 PM on May 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


I notice you can't download the binder document as a PDF without being a PREMIUM Scribd member. Just like the modern internet to hide a government document behind a commercial paywall, dammit.
posted by JHarris at 7:32 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a strange, though sad, serendipity that my feed brings me this article about how the FBI wants to pass CALEA II just as I find this post.
posted by Catblack at 7:35 PM on May 31, 2013


You guys are all on the list. *points to eyes, points to everyone menacingly*
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:38 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's the harm if they set a computer crawling the web for these words to grab up the low hanging fruit of the morons who would announce dangerous intentions in public?

This thread will get triggered, someone will look at it and roll their eyes, and check it off his or her list. I would expect no less from a cop on the street who stumbles across a nut with a megaphone complaining about the end of times or some shit like that. Most people doing provocative things are just masturbating, but a small percentage are stupid and motivated, which is a bad combination.

If I write it on a website somewhere, monitor away. It would be a little different if it was email or library records.
posted by gjc at 7:49 PM on May 31, 2013


Of course all of this assumes that terrorists are good at spelling.
posted by Damienmce at 8:02 PM on May 31, 2013


Jesus, how old is this? It's got to be pretty old. There's nothing in the Cyber Security section about Anonymous, Lulzsec, Wikileaks...
posted by overeducated_alligator at 8:11 PM on May 31, 2013


Back in the mid 90s, when 60 Minutes first ran their story about Echelon, my friends and I thought it would be hilarious to pepper our phone calls with target phrases. To this day, I believe that got me the "Flowers By Irene" Explorer parked outside of the house for 2 days. It just sat there with a guy in it. 2 days.

It finally left minutes after I called the non-emergency police number to report a suspicious vehicle loitering.
posted by hwyengr at 8:45 PM on May 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


Well, once the DHS started intercepting that data, the poor delivery guy was probably suffering so much lag he couldn't figure out where his next delivery was.
posted by Blue_Villain at 10:08 PM on May 31, 2013


I bet every single person making fun of this would be outraged if a would-be malfeasant announced their intentions on social media and the appropriate authorities wouldn't react to that.
posted by Authorized User at 11:19 PM on May 31, 2013


Authorized User: I bet every single person making fun of this would be outraged if a would-be malfeasant announced their intentions on social media and the appropriate authorities wouldn't react to that.

Yes, because as we all know, if you're planning to bomb a marathon in Boston or hack a soldier to death in London, the relevant security services would in no way be already aware of your presence, having not bothered their arse to monitor you for the last couple of years. And of course it's not as if people have already been prosecuted for threatening to blow up an airport for having the temerity to make a joke on Twitter.
posted by Len at 11:45 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah I suppose government ineptitude has in the past and is likely in the future to negate any gains and amplify harm from such activity. But saying that low-level awareness is useless because it doesn't catch dedicated attempts seems wilfully obtuse to me.
posted by Authorized User at 2:08 AM on June 1, 2013


Maybe this is more of an AskMe, but I'm curious about the particular phrase from the thread title. I recall seeing "kill you-know-who with you-know-what" as shorthand for "the gummint (or ECHELON) is listening" at least 15 years ago on usenet, verbatim. Practical applications aside, did that phrase somehow become some kind of meme for this sort of thing?
posted by ShutterBun at 2:28 AM on June 1, 2013


Meh, I already went through this with them once, after operation sundevil I didn't get any of my shit back for almost 4 years. Walking in to the SS office in 7 WTC to get my fucking commodore 128 back in goddamn 1993 was a trip. They knew everything about me, from when I was 13. How many man hours was spent on investigating a 13 year old warez kid from Brooklyn, the world may never know.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:57 AM on June 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


I took the subway to the airport, ugh body scanner, but now I am on the beach playing in the waves and eating pork kabobs!

But my smart phone lost power! I feel sick.

***********

They can't possibly hire enough people to actually read all FB posts with those words. They must gather them into a database and have some sort of alert system so that individuals with an unusual level of trigger words, or an unusual level of highly concerning trigger words, are screened by hand. But that's still an insane amount of work.

OR they could possibly collect the data and then refer to it when someone comes to attention for other reasons.
posted by bunderful at 5:38 AM on June 1, 2013


For everyone under the impression that monitoring of this sort requires people to manually review the hits to seperate threatening messages from tweets about WMATA service, let me introduce you to Palantir and its ilk.
posted by frijole at 6:12 AM on June 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I find it reassuring that this kind of person -- like those who brought you "duck and cover" and Conelrad and surviving a nuclear attack by huddling in a basement full of commodity cheese, crackers and tea with several hundred neighbors, stoically guarding the yellow geiger counters -- can still find a job making stimulating lists of dangerous innocuous words. I for one will keep my narco banners safely put away in my tornado bunker along with my mysql injectors.
posted by Twang at 7:11 AM on June 1, 2013


Why not just save the trouble and hang out at AOL keyword: terrorist?
posted by nathancaswell at 7:13 AM on June 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


...the FBI memo stating Antiwar.com might be “a threat to national security” and working “on behalf of a foreign power...
posted by 445supermag


A bit of a warning: 445supermag's link contains some gross antisemitism.
posted by rosswald at 7:27 AM on June 1, 2013


Power. Port. Dock. Bridge.

Your build-your-own-computer page is now under surveillance.
posted by Gordion Knott at 8:08 AM on June 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember when ECHELON first came to general notice, and people were sticking the sensitive words in their .sigs. Or was that only on cypherpunks-l? Good times, man.

I always encouraged this idea, but was too lazy. Is it too late to make this a thing again? Chemical.
posted by bongo_x at 8:54 AM on June 1, 2013


I like to call up my right wing conspiracy-nut friend and open with a sentance composed mostly of such words. He screams, "That's not funny, man!" while slamming down the phone.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:28 AM on June 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


John has a long mustache. The chair is against the wall.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:05 AM on June 1, 2013


You realize everyone posting on this thread will be brought in for interrogation as suspicious persons?








Oh shit.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:31 AM on June 1, 2013


Authorized User: Yeah I suppose government ineptitude has in the past and is likely in the future to negate any gains and amplify harm from such activity. But saying that low-level awareness is useless because it doesn't catch dedicated attempts seems wilfully obtuse to me.

Thing is, though, this wouldn't be "low-level awareness". It would a be a useless, pointless firehose of data, the overwhelming majority of which will be either irrelevant noise or false-positive errors, both of which would actively hinder the security services in doing what's supposed to be their job.

And like the draft Communications Data Bill proposed by the Tories, and scuttled by the Lib Dems, which the Home Secretary and others are now calling for a revival of in the aftermath of Drummer Rigby's murder, it wouldn't have actually made any difference. MI5, in the Rigby case, and the FBI, in the Boston bombing, were already aware of, or involved in monitoring, the respective suspects, to one degree or another, and had already-established legal authority to do so.

If you can find me a documented case in the UK or the US of someone making a threat on social media, before going on to kill anyone as part of an ideologically motivated campaign of terrorism – of whatever stripe; fundamentalist Islamism, Northern Irish sectarians, anti-abortion extremists, homophobic nail-bombing fascists, or anyone else – who has not already been, or was not at the time of the act being, monitored by MI5 or the FBI, then I'll happily do a remake of Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe.
posted by Len at 1:15 PM on June 1, 2013


copy/paste
*sits in lawn chair with a cold one waiting for the fun to begin*
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 5:27 PM on June 1, 2013


If you can find me a documented case in the UK or the US of someone making a threat on social media, before going on to kill anyone as part of an ideologically motivated campaign of terrorism – of whatever stripe; fundamentalist Islamism, Northern Irish sectarians, anti-abortion extremists, homophobic nail-bombing fascists, or anyone else

Eating a shoe would indeed be unpleasant so I can understand why you have minimized any possibility of me finding any surprise examples by limiting my search to two foreign countries and a class of crime that is rare and often highly publicized so any examples would be widely known. I don't think I will play this game at all and you can be safe in the knowledge that you don't have to eat any footwear.
posted by Authorized User at 12:20 AM on June 2, 2013


Apologies, Authorized User, I assumed you were American and you're apparently not, at least going by the location in your profile.

Given that this is legislation that has been proposed in the US, though, I don't think that it is too odd to ask for relevant examples that relate to that specific jurisdiction. But we can widen the search if you'd like. Can you name me any instance of a terrorist attack – anywhere in the world – where the perpetrators made a threat on social media, and were not already being monitored by the security services?

If that's not a game you want to play – and I would understand why, because I suspect you're unlikely to find any concrete examples – then you're free to not make terrible straw-man arguments.
posted by Len at 2:40 AM on June 2, 2013


You are correct it is not a game that I want to play. I don't know why you are even proposing this game. Even if I found an event it would not prove that benefits from the government reading social media sites outweigh the costs. It is a pointless bet that probably makes for an amusing short film but not really something I am keen to engage in.

Furthermore and I was wrong in assuming this as well, this keyword list has nothing at all to do with trying to catch attackers or prevent attacks in advance and it is very clear from reading The analyst desktop binder it is attached to. It's a list of keywords on subjects that this Media Monitoring Capability -mission is supposed to try to gleam useful information out of. So they're basically attempting to benefit from the well-known phenomenon of threads on social media websites being the first to receive information about on-going events. Sounds useful to me.

QUOTE:

MMC Mission

The MMC has three primary missions:

First - to continually update existing National Situation Summaries (NSS) and InternationalSituation Summaries (ISS) with the most recent, relevant, and actionable open source mediainformation

Second - to constantly monitor all available open source information with the goal of expeditiously alerting the NOC Watch Team and other key Department personnel of emergentsituations

Third - to receive, process, and distribute media captured by DHS Situational Awareness Teams(DSAT) or other streaming media available to the NOC such as Northern Command’s(NORTHCOM) Full Motion Video (FMV) and via open sources

posted by Authorized User at 4:30 AM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]




For everyone under the impression that monitoring of this sort requires people to manually review the hits to seperate threatening messages from tweets about WMATA service, let me introduce you to Palantir and its ilk.

Previously.
posted by homunculus at 5:54 PM on June 4, 2013


It's a strange, though sad, serendipity that my feed brings me this article about how the FBI wants to pass CALEA II just as I find this post.

Bruce Schneier: The Problems with CALEA-II
posted by homunculus at 1:51 PM on June 5, 2013


My new game is making portmanteaus out of different words in the list:

Assassinella!
Eboladioactive!!
Tubercuijuana!!!
Methamphetal-Qaeda!!!!
Al-shabaavalanche!!!!!

Oops. I appear to have summoned an eldritch entity. I gotta go inscribe a quick pentagram, back in a bit.
posted by JHarris at 7:13 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


This might be helpful.
posted by homunculus at 7:20 PM on June 5, 2013


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