After a hearing in the House of Representatives, the Department of Homeland Security was forced to release their list of hundreds of words that will trigger analysts to monitor behavior online. Naturally, the list contains words such as Al Qaeda, terrorism, and bomb, but there are some rather odd, yet interesting words as well.
For example, the DHS may dig through your cyber life if you write something about snow. Or pork.
So, you’ve just come back from a beach holiday in Mexico and posted about it on your blog. Or maybe you’ve tweeted about skiing lessons? Updated your status, saying you’re stuck home with food poisoning?
All those things will tweak the DHS antennae, according to a manual published by the agency. The Analyst’s Desktop Binder, used by agency employees at their National Operations Center to identify “media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities,” includes hundreds of words that set off Big Brother’s silent alarms.
It’s also hard to believe that the supposed terrorists that the DHS is on the lookout for are that stupid. Can you honestly imagine one person posting “hey, let’s go make a pipe bomb and blow up a police car this weekend” on a friend’s wall? I’d imagine people who plot terrorist acts are focusing on two things: not getting caught and getting their job done. Why on earth would they broadcast their malicious intentions online?
And so, like many of the DHS’s brilliant, thought-out programs, this one seems to be directed at the unsuspecting, innocent general public. Only now, as well as possibly being branded a terrorist for not wanting to use a credit card or buying a flashlight, you might get locked up for blogging about clouds. (Very dangerous word, cloud. Who knows what it could mean.)
Anyone who is seriously considering attacking the United States is not going to be talking about it openly on the internet. The government is either naive or highly incompetent if they think otherwise.
When you take your next ski trip, be sure to write about it online as good times on the white stuff. You can also choose from a variety of words listed below. Get creative. Give the DHS analysts something to do while they find new and inventive ways to monitor our online behavior.
I’ll get you started. The Al Qaeda operative at some pork in the snow after he completed his jihad to kill illegal downloaders of child porn who want to legalize pot. He was a good Muslim and hoped to retire to North Korea, but became sick because he had never eaten swine before. He then thought his services could be utilized elsewhere in Mexico, but he was afraid of the drug cartels and violence. Plus, he’s not too fond of methamphetamines, heroin, marijuana, or cocaine. He decided law enforcement in Tijuana, Yuma, or Tuscon would do a better job. Also, he didn’t want to risk decapitation. He also decided against joining FARC, the IRA, the PLO, AQAP, AQIM, TTP, and all other terrorist groups that like to go by initials in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
He had completed his mission. He was not assigned as a suicide bomber, nor did he have a weapons cache. The magnitude of a cyber attack was beyond his skills as a simple terrorist. His work was done. So, he retreated to an unknown location and began to use social media as a way to entertain himself all day with cute pictures of cats and cyber porn.