US federal agencies to monitor social media sites for potential terror threats

   Apr 5, 3:55 pm

Washington, Apr 5 (ANI): American federal agencies will to monitor social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to stop potential terrorist strikes and also keep a check on domestic violence.

They also plan to help citizens better post natural disasters.

But privacy groups have rejected plans of intrusion by the FBI and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), as they feel it violates privacy. They are now demanding that Congress settle the matter.

"That's a gray area we're all trying to define," Rep. Patrick Meehan, Chairman, House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, said to the Politico. "The concept that the government would somehow be monitoring and storing inquiries of individual Web activities - many would find that disconcerting," he added.

The US Government has been informally trying to keep tabs on social media sites and other networks for quite sometime now, for information and intel, to fight terrorism and other threats to the nation.

The agencies are reportedly installing tracking technologies to observe social-media sites by computer for certain keywords or suspicious activity that could help them provide real-time intelligence.

For the same, The Department of Homeland Security has drawn public attention for its online tracking attempts. The agency now tracks Twitter and Facebook for hundreds of keywords. But the DHS contends the monitoring program, as it has limited scope and doesn't focus on people.

Two privacy groups, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have filed cases against DHS over disclosing of documents related to policies and contracts. EPIC has demanded DHS to suspend the program governing its social media monitoring. (ANI)

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