Alex Fitzpatrick reports on yesterday’s Congressional hearing:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of social media services could be a threat to civil liberties and online free speech, several lawmakers said during a hearing Thursday.
According to a report by a civil liberties group called the Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, DHS paid more than $11 million to General Dynamics for a system to keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter public posts, as well as comment threads on major news websites.
EPIC’s report found that the system watches public social media posts for comments that “adversely reflect” on the government, and for responses to proposed government plans. EPIC tried to get information about the deal through a Freedom of Information request, but was denied. It then filed a successful lawsuit and was granted access to the specifics by DHS.
During Thursday’s hearing, congressmen from both sides of the asile grilled DHS about the General Dynamics deal as revealed by EPIC’s lawsuit.
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