US citizens expect the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to protect the country from potential threats, but the recent announcement that DHS will monitor Twitter & Facebook will surely cause privacy advocates great concern. Social Media has been used extensively in the government uprisings world-wide and DHS is now drawing up guidelines to monitor Social Media. Undersecretary of the DHS Caryn Wagner told an audience at the National Symposium on Homeland Security and Defense in Colorado Springs:
We're still trying to figure out how you use things like Twitter as a source…How do you establish trends and how do you then capture that in an intelligence product?
The DHS guidelines may cast a pall over Social Media and impact how Social Media is used and surely the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) will keep a close eye. As a matter of fact, EPIC posted a recent report from Carnegie Mellon University that found that “privacy tools designed to protect consumers from online behavioral advertising are ineffective because they are difficult for users to understand and to configure.”
Everyone needs to stay tuned to see how this unfolds.