Bloomberg has a disturbing report that the Department of Homeland Security is hiring a private firm to track the activities of thousands of journalists and “top media influencers,” including bloggers and podcasters. Mr. Orwell, please report to your office immediately.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants to monitor hundreds of thousands of news sources around the world and compile a database of journalists, editors, foreign correspondents, and bloggers to identify top “media influencers.”…
“Services shall provide media comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, communication tools, and the ability to identify top media influencers,” according to the statement. DHS agencies have “a critical need to incorporate these functions into their programs in order to better reach federal, state, local, tribal, and private partners,” it said.
The DHS wants to track more than 290,000 global news sources, including online, print, broadcast, cable, and radio, as well as trade and industry publications, local, national and international outlets, and social media, according to the documents. It also wants the ability to track media coverage in more than 100 languages including Arabic, Chinese, and Russian, with instant translation of articles into English.
In normal circumstances, this might not seem as bad as it does now. But we are not in normal times. We have a president who hates the media (while simultaneously craving the attention they bring, is a pathological liar, and has strong authoritarian tendencies. He has already proposed several unconstitutional policies that would undermine the First Amendment. So he’s pretty much the last person I would trust with the information that may be in that database.