The Secret Service wants to buy software that detects sarcasm, particularly as they follow social media sites, not an easy request since sarcasm is hard to detect. This request is being made by a government that can now arrest citizens without a warrant and without providing due process rights if they choose.
They put out a request for bids for the software on Monday.
“It does appear that it’s going to be a pretty broad monitoring program. It will likely sweep in some First Amendment protected expression,” said Ginger McCall, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). “It is troubling, because it really stifles people’s ability to freely express themselves, and it has a tendency to quell dissent, to make people think twice before they express themselves online.”
They want the software to identify influential figures on social media, analyze data streams in real time and access old Twitter data.
The government has a real interest in infiltrating the Internet with propaganda as we know and one more tool like this won’t be good. We know for certain that our government is going onto websites and into blogs to manipulate people, spread false reports and defame those who disagree. It’s meant to “nudge” us into thinking appropriately.
The Washington Post warns that sarcasm can get you in trouble and even arrested. A Texas teen was arrested for sarcastically threatening to shoot up a school full of kids. An Irish man and British woman were arrested by Homeland Security because he tweeted he wanted to “destroy America”, a common British slang term for partying. They were sent home and not even allowed to enjoy their vacation.
Trusting the government with our jokes is going to be a risky proposition.
Naom Chomsky recently gave several interviews in which he expressed concerns about the government surveillance state and about google’s data collection. Google appears to have an alliance with the NSA.
Chomsky said about google, that the data flows generated by Google – and particularly Google Glass – went “far beyond anything that Orwell described.”
He told Salon, “Governments are power systems. They are trying to sustain their power and domination over their populations and they will use what means are available to do this. By now the means are very sophisticated and extensive and we can expect them to increase.”
And then of course, if people object, they can “always play the security card.”
Read the story at the Washington Post