Don’t Say That! Just Don’t Say It!

As the result of a Freedom of Information Act request, the US Government has released the list of words that will trigger the Department of Homeland Security to start monitoring your online contributions and conversations. The list is divided into sections by subject matter.

Figure 1. You can call it a thunderstorm, but under no circumstances should you call it “extreme weather”

I was greatly amused to find a section for words about “Weather” on the list, which contains the following terms.

Weather/Disaster/Emergency
Emergency
Hurricane
Tornado
Twister
Tsunami
Earthquake
Tremor
Flood
Storm
Crest
Temblor
Extreme weather
Forest fire
Brush fire
Ice
Stranded/Stuck
Help
Hail
Wildfire
Tsunami Warning Center
Magnitude
Avalanche
Typhoon
Shelter-in-place
Disaster
Snow
Blizzard
Sleet
Mud slide or Mudslide
Erosion
Power outage
Brown out
Warning
Watch
Lightening
Aid
Relief
Closure
Interstate
Burst
Emergency Broadcast System

Looks like WUWT is going to be front and center 24/7/365 at the Department of Homeland Security, no matter what we do …

Lest you think I’m making this up, the list of words is on page 23 of the “Analyst’s Binder“, which describes the situation for those doing the analysis …

w.

==============================================================

Addendum by Anthony: I would add that Climate Progress, GRIST, Yale Environment Forum, DeSmog Blog, 350.org, and other “extreme weather = climate” alarmist websites also use these words, as does NOAA itself daily. Hopefully, they have DHS analysts capable of actually analyzing intent rather than relying on “tribal profiling”. – Anthony

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114 thoughts on “Don’t Say That! Just Don’t Say It!

  1. Clicking that link to the Analysts Binder caused my anti-virus to fire off two malware threats! WTF?

  2. “…Hopefully, they have DHS analysts capable of actually analyzing intent rather than relying on “tribal profiling”. – Anthony ”

    Rather optimistic, I’d say. Based on fellow agencies like the BATF & TSA’s performance, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

  3. Hmmmm… looks like there are a few that they use but left out, like “I”, “and”, and “the.”

    Seriously, ALL your posts, chats and email are monitored, but mostly by computers running very specialized word recognition software. Yes, that includes phone calls and text messages. Why on Earth would I believe such an off the wall thing? Because the technology to do such a thing is available, you can bet someone is doing it.

    For any who might think I am crazy, just remember that I might think you are naive.

  4. The word “ICE” ???? I wonder how many women swapping Ice tea recipes and other summer food recipes Homeland Security is now tracking?

    A search for Ice Tea recipe returns about 3,290,000 results in google.

  5. I was thinking of “electrical discharge” as an alternative to “Lightning”. And then I saw they have listed “Lightening” instead.

  6. Of course, the people who want to stay under the radar probably know this stuff already and have figured out ways around it. Consequently, it is only the innocent who are being monitored and suspected.

  7. Jason Calley says:
    May 29, 2012 at 11:12 am
    Seriously, ALL your posts, chats and email are monitored, but mostly by computers running very specialized word recognition software. Yes, that includes phone calls and text messages. Why on Earth would I believe such an off the wall thing? Because the technology to do such a thing is available, you can bet someone is doing it.

    Remember the hubbub over CARNIVORE a decade ago? Remember the FBI saying the bureau wasn’t going to use it any more? Technically, they told the truth — they don’t use CARNIVORE any more.

    They did, however, re-name it…

  8. Jason Calley says:
    May 29, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Hmmmm… looks like there are a few that they use but left out, like “I”, “and”, and “the.”

    Seriously, ALL your posts, chats and email are monitored,…

    For any who might think I am crazy, just remember that I might think you are naive.
    ____________________________
    No I think you are correct.

    Former NSA Mathematician Says He Believes the Agency Stores Copies of All Emails Transmitted in America

    Karen Nowak, who has Hackney Horses found the USDA had her e-mails and used them, along with lies to get her banned from a farm expo because she was handing out anti-NAIS (Animal ID ) flyers. Article was at http://www.horsegazette.com/NAIS/NAIS_Supporters_Fighting_Dirty.html (link no longer works)

  9. So, not only does the problematic ‘science’ Team of CG1 & CG2 notoriety have names of skeptics who shall not be named (see latest article by CG1 & CG2 team member Tim Osborn*** at UEA/CRU website), now we also have a US government security agency listing some normal climate discourse words that cannot be said without there being some level of security analysis checking out who is saying the words.

    It is a brave new world. On a not-paranoid basis though, I must say that all the helicopters I’ve seen recently in my local area were red, white or blue . . . . in other words they were rescue and medical helicopters. : ) No black ones at midnight : )

    *** Tim Osborn currently an IPCC AR5 Lead Author which is surprising with all his controversial CG1 & CG2 practices involving ‘management’ of the bias in the AR4 IPCC preparation processes.

    John

  10. “Don’t say that word!”

    “What word?”

    “I cannot tell. Suffice to say it is one of the words The Knights of Ni cannot hear!”

    Y’know, if the US Government is run by Monty Python, that would explain A LOT.

  11. I’ve read the full lists and they seem to include words which might be used in any sort of complaint about government… can’t have anyone complaining about the government.

  12. Terrorists must be the dumbest creatures on earth if they can’t get past a group of people concentrating on weather words….. ostensibly code for something?

  13. I learnt the meaning of sleet during my first winter in Minnesota. We do not have that in Spain.

  14. This will end the show “Storm Chasers”. They use interstates and use just about all these words.

  15. If you concentrate on everything, you concentration on nothing.

    Shoot, I just sent out invitations for an
    Ice Tea Party to celebrate the start of Hurricane Season to help boy scouts begin their Emergency Preparedness and First Aid merit badges classes to be held just off the Interstate where we will also watch and enjoy the forecast ligntening storm.

    It’s all very nefarious [a word not included in the list].

  16. Of course, this is nuts … anyone truly engaged in nefarious activities rather than simply grousing about the USDA or passing recipes back and forth is going to use ENCRYPTION … so the low-level terrorist wanna-be’s are the only ones that will be ‘screened’ out by this activity.

  17. Damn, I was thinking of lightening my hair too. Thought it would be less painful than lightning my hair.

  18. In the interest of taking Uncle Sam’s web crawlers for a ride, I propose a writing contest to see who can write the most frightening essay using the greatest number of words from the list. Additional points should be given to the contestant who can show that the greatest number of people have gotten a copy without resorting to spam tactics.

  19. suyts says:
    May 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Terrorists must be the dumbest creatures on earth if they can’t get past a group of people concentrating on weather words….. ostensibly code for something?
    ============

    wel f dey txt…..it’s ll skrood

  20. This is not bad policy.

    Crying fire in a crowded theatre is dangerous.

    Crying hurricane for a laugh is wrong.

    But I think catastrophist views of AGW have more to worry about.

  21. Anybody besides me also a retired Marine, Nam vet, and a gun nut who also hangs out with bikers, and lives out in the MS woods?

    Shoot, I already have dossier about a foot thick.

  22. Given all the contrarians who visit this site, Drudge and others like it, I expect an avalanche of emails and comments purposely including these words hitting the internet like a tsunami. I hope the DHS computers are up to the task.

    Jay Davis

  23. when we did GAG NSA day around ten years back, we accomplished the mission by attaching the long list of keywords to every email, putting it on webpages with the same color type as the background and flooded the net with them.
    the result was that the nsa shut down for 24 hours in anticipation – to avoid the flood.
    we know this because internet speeds rose 10 times at 11:30 pm pst and persisted at high speed until almost exactly 24 hours later. their gateways slow things down that much, apparently.

    now it cheers me immensely to see that this list of keywords is again flooding the nsa.
    they are sent thru the monitors every time anybody reads this page.
    good job. P-} harr!

  24. Stephen Rasey says:
    May 29, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Shoot, I just sent out invitations for an
    Ice Tea Party to celebrate the start of Hurricane Season to help boy scouts begin their Emergency Preparedness and First Aid merit badges classes to be held just off the Interstate where we will also watch and enjoy the forecast lightening storm.

    It’s all very nefarious [a word not included in the list].

    You are grounded for life … not to mention me, I put all of the words in a single blog post.

    It’d be laughable if they weren’t so serious about it. But then again, “privacy” is sooo 20th century …

    w.

  25. suyts (James S.) says May 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Terrorists must be the dumbest creatures on earth if they can’t get past a group of people concentrating on weather words….. ostensibly code for something?

    The FULL LIST is much more extensive than this; Anthony posted only the weather-related terms above … the other categories include:

    o DHS & Other Agencies
    o HAZMAT & Nuclear
    o Health Concern + H1N1

    http://www.businessinsider.com/youll-be-surprised-by-the-words-dhs-agents-desktop-binder-tells-them-to-look-for-on-your-facebook-page-2012-5?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+businessinsider+(Business+Insider

    .

  26. @ Bill Tuttle “Remember the hubbub over CARNIVORE a decade ago? Remember the FBI saying the bureau wasn’t going to use it any more? Technically, they told the truth — they don’t use CARNIVORE any more. They did, however, re-name it…”

    Ouch! No, I had forgotten about that one. Sigh…

    In the past (as in the Eschelon monitoring program) US agencies sometime just got foreign agencies to do what the US agencies found inconvenient. “You monitor our citizens and we’ll monitor your citizens. Then we will just swap info!” This gives instant deniability. “What? You think we would dare to violate the US Bill of Rights here in the good old USA?! Of course not!”

    I think we are almost past the time when US agencies request actions by foreign agencies; we are approaching the next step, and it is not a good development.

  27. @Jason Calley.
    “Hmmmm…”
    I agree 100%.
    Insane.
    This, added to Black Boxes mandated in all post 2014 cars (where future warmists could track you, outlawing all unessential driving; where were the Repubs on this? [answer: on board, they are the "authoritarian" establishment Repubs]), warrantless searches OKed in almost all circumstances (for example, if you “object” to a search request, that is grounds for a search! kind of comparable to medieval witch trials where they tossed you into a pond and said “if he floats, he’s guilty”), overhead Drones, talk of clampdowns on free speech on the net (including among commenters, and conservatives!), TSA’s craziness, endless property rights infringements by the EPA & the econuts, and lots more I can’t even think of.
    I wasn’t for Ron Paul, but sometimes enough is enough. Perhaps, even if Mitt wins this time, in 2016 we should go with a Ron Paul like figure (with just the right amount of “moderation” in key spots to get a new > 50% coalition [including the youth vote]), perhaps Rand Paul.

  28. Of course, as _Jim says, the real terrorists will be using encryption.

    So, clearly this silliness is not about real terrorism. It’s about monitoring social dissidence while maintaining an appearance of “doing something about terrorism”.

  29. Looks like its time to reinvent Cockey rhyming slang, but we need to know the other trigger (oops?) words so as to avoid them: eg ‘in the muck’ instead of ‘stuck’. Of course, the use of acronyms will then be magnified, causing even more confusion to newbies. Sigh…

  30. Well ,our codling government needs to protect us from any weather terrorism that someone on the internet might be scheming.Thank heavens.

  31. Back in the early 1980s, a friend had just started working as a technician for the British Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) in Gloucestershire. His parents are pretty hard left-wing, so he was subject to serious positive vetting before recruitment.

    One Friday evening, he arrived home for the weekend to hear his Dad say “Guess what, your uncle (living in the USA at the time) called a few days ago. He’s coming to visit.”

    “Yes, I know, Dad,” he said.

  32. Weather/Disaster/Emergency
    Emergency
    Hurricane
    Tornado
    Twister
    Tsunami
    Earthquake
    Tremor
    Flood
    Storm
    Crest
    Temblor
    Extreme weather
    Forest fire
    Brush fire
    Ice
    Stranded/Stuck
    Help
    Hail
    Wildfire
    Tsunami Warning Center
    Magnitude
    Avalanche
    Typhoon
    Shelter-in-place
    Disaster
    Snow
    Blizzard
    Sleet
    Mud slide or Mudslide
    Erosion
    Power outage
    Brown out
    Warning
    Watch
    Lightening
    Aid
    Relief
    Closure
    Interstate
    Burst
    Emergency Broadcast System

    That is hilarious, since I worked 14 years in Disaster Emergency Services, and also am a skywarn storm spotter for the National Weather Service, I must be very well represented in their files. I also did training on Nuclear Weapons Effects as part of my official duties conducting the Radiological Defense courses for the state, and routinely get asked questions on those topics every year. I bet I’ve been flagged every way from Sunday for years.

    I would like to see the data base they use to manage zettabytes of data from all those email messages.

    Larry

  33. If you actually read the linked analysts binder, this has nothing to do with monitoring peoples email or other personal communications, nor does it tie to any law enforcement efforts. The binder is about policy for creating and distributing National Situation Summaries and International Situation Summaries. There are 4 tiers of sources listed in the binder:

    1. primary and prefered sources are the major news networks (televison/radio), news papers and international news agencies.
    2. Government or specialized sites with a specific focus. Often includes .org’s, .net’s,and .co’s.
    Obviously partisan or agenda-driven sites
    3. Tabloids (national and international); Blogs, even if they are of a serious, political nature;
    Popular magazines
    4. News collection/ compilation sites

    Tier 2 idealy should be corroberated with a tier 1 source
    Tiers 3 & 4 must be corroborated with a tier 1 source.

    Given that FEMA falls under DHS there is nothing untoward or sinister about the inclusion of weather / natural disaster terms being included in the search criteria.

  34. Gary Hladik says:
    May 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm
    ?sdrawkcab nettirw sdrow eseht rof kcehc osla yeht oD
    +++++++++++++
    od ylbaborp yehT

  35. Are there ANY safe words??

    Monitoring everyone is the same as monitoring nobody. How does one investigate 2,000,000 hits or flags per day. Sure would solve the unemployment problem… everyone could be employed investigating everyone. Say… maybe we could monitor every home thru a large monitor in every room. Hmmm. GK

  36. I saw a list of all the word categories and words earlier today. I’m in deep sh*t because lots of words I use in emails related to Health Science issues will trigger a look.

  37. @ G. Karst and Faux Science Slayer

    As I said above, the linked document is about monitoring published news sources and websites, not individual people’s private communications and it is not tied to law enforcement efforts. It is all about DHS maintainting situational awareness though summary reports.

    One of the things that FEMA got slammed for after hurricane Katrina was not having situational awarness and not preping emergency response resources before the state governments asked for help.

    Given that FEMA is now part of DHS there is NOTHING sinister about the inclusion of weather/natural disaster terms in the keyword lists for doing the analyis to prepare the situation summaries.

  38. Curiousgeorge says:
    May 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm
    Anybody besides me also a retired Marine, Nam vet, and a gun nut who also hangs out with bikers, and lives out in the MS woods?

    Retired Army. I’ll see your Vietnam and raise you Bosnia, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The TSA in Philly (hiya, fellas!) have “accidentally” razored my hold baggage a couple of times, playing “Find the Kabar”…

  39. Anybody who really knows anything about how the monitoring is done, can’t talk about it, because the monitoring is “methods” and this is “Special Compartmented Information” (SCI). A Top Secret SCI clearance is the highest level clearance given. The people talking about this stuff do NOT know what they are talking about, proven by the very fact that they are talking.

  40. @ Bill Tuttle says:
    May 29, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Curiousgeorge says:
    May 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm
    Anybody besides me also a retired Marine, Nam vet, and a gun nut who also hangs out with bikers, and lives out in the MS woods?

    Retired Army. I’ll see your Vietnam and raise you Bosnia, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The TSA in Philly (hiya, fellas!) have “accidentally” razored my hold baggage a couple of times, playing “Find the Kabar”…
    ************************************************************************
    Semper Fi, soldier. :)

  41. This list is to detect and respond to weather emergencies. Thereis no mention of sceptic, denier, crutem, hockey stick, verfication statistics… . That would be the list to be worried about.

  42. Ya know, when I retired from the biz, we had to get a search warrant from the special court to look at US comms. We were too busy watching foreign bad actors to mess with Americans anyway. We’d get pissed if something we were following accidentally caught up some US or allied comms because that meant we’d just wasted our time. I guess time are achangin’, glad I retired when I did. I’d probably get in trouble for trying to enforce the 4th amendment or something.

  43. “Stuck”, that should deter communications between epoxologists. I long ago coined the term Ph—ologist for blowhards that actually know Ph— all

  44. Ooooh, I’m gonna have fun with this. There are some big fora out there attached to big companies handling a lot of Internet traffic. Whatever forum you visit, see how many of these words you can slip into regular conversation. No one will noitce except the Department of Homeland Security. And, yes, I visit and contribute heavilly to one such USA based business forum that has nothing whatsoever to do with climate or politics and draws thousands of viewers. Hmmm… and these words will trigger every time someone even views them? I like that! :)

    (Am I in trouble yet?) :) :) :)

  45. Are these the same folks that decided retired vets were at the top of the list a few years ago?

  46. I suppose it would be paranoid to imagine that they might have released a fake list in response to FOIA, while the real “dictionary” remains secret? Yeah, the gubmint wouldn’t do that.

  47. Okay, okay, so it’s just to keep check on weather emergencies??? Not keep an eye on the people? Dang…

  48. Just take words from the list and make “No global warming for 12 years” and “9/11 was an inside job”….by the time we have all posted this they will have to employ the rest of the country to check it out!

  49. Geoffrey Withnell:

    At May 29, 2012 at 1:44 pm you say:

    Anybody who really knows anything about how the monitoring is done, can’t talk about it, because the monitoring is “methods” and this is “Special Compartmented Information” (SCI). A Top Secret SCI clearance is the highest level clearance given. The people talking about this stuff do NOT know what they are talking about, proven by the very fact that they are talking.

    Yes.
    I lived in Cheltenham for many years. Cheltenham is the base for GCHQ; i.e. the UK equivalent of the US NSA with whom it works in close agreement.

    Please note that I have NOT worked with or for GCHQ at any time. However, GCHQ is the major employer in Cheltenham. And this makes the town culturally unique.

    In the UK a common way to start a conversation is to ask, “What do you do?” (i.e. for a living). But that question is never asked in Cheltenham because the commonest answer is, “I am a civil servant” and conversation stops.

    Richard

  50. I would be very amazed if they could actually do what they are letting us believe they can do; I figure it’s like the old Sholin Temple legends, the Monks never said they could jump 30 feet in the air, but they didn’t mind that the bandits thought they could. They can probably keep track of who is talking to who, and can analyze what said down to a threat assessment score and store it if the machine thinks it’s relevant, the world list maybe a key to a compression scheme as well. There are machines that can do that kind of analysis in real time on an internet backbone feed.

  51. Also amusing, and a symptom of the complete technical ignorance of the creators of this document, is the term “mysql injection”. In the art it’s called sql injection, or “‘”.

  52. situational awareness requires recording and preservation of all communications in real time with very few gaps in coverage.
    a friend of mine has the case for an old hard.drive from such a farm-
    it’s about 8 feet high and wide. the walls of the case are about a foot thick. the hole for the axle is about a foot diameter. the case is solid black granite. the platters were, of course, missing.
    it’s about 15 years old. they have more compact storage devices now to make the job a lot easier.

  53. Jason Calley says:
    May 29, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Seriously, ALL your posts, chats and email are monitored, but mostly by computers running very specialized word recognition software. Yes, that includes phone calls and text messages. Why on Earth would I believe such an off the wall thing? Because the technology to do such a thing is available, you can bet someone is doing it.

    For any who might think I am crazy, just remember that I might think you are naive.

    For anyone in doubt, just Google for “Carnivore”. It has been going on for many years. It’s not even ‘secret’, it’s just the FBI forcing you to comply and allow them to monitor all the traffic through your Internet server.

    Oddly, there are fewer links than there ever used to be (cue ominous music)

  54. Funny. There are so many words in that list that could be used to describe some “climate scientists”…

  55. Before everyone gets too excited here, I’d like to point out that there are very strong regulations regarding domestic intelligence gathering, and the real IC agencies (CIA, NSA, etc.) are expressly forbidden from domestic work. That has to be done by the FBI. In my 29 years of work in and around the community, I’ve received countless briefings stating and restating the same.

    Also, that document is a fake.

  56. The biggest key to security is to never mention a three letter government agency by name.

  57. Emergency Hurricane Tornado Twister Tsunami Earthquake Tremor Flood Storm Crest Temblor Extreme weather Forest fire Brush fire Ice Stranded/Stuck Help Hail Wildfire Tsunami Warning Center Magnitude Avalanche Typhoon Shelter-in-place Disaster Snow Blizzard Sleet Mud slide or Mudslide Erosion Power outage Brown out Warning Watch Lightening Aid Relief Closure Interstate Burst Emergency Broadcast System

    All dictionaries will be confiscated.

  58. Mike Smith says:
    May 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Of course, as _Jim says, the real terrorists will be using encryption.

    So, clearly this silliness is not about real terrorism. It’s about monitoring social dissidence while maintaining an appearance of “doing something about terrorism”.
    ___________________________________________
    It has NEVER been about “Terrorism” it has always been about control.

    The United Nations has made it very clear that they want a universal gun ban among civilians. It is called the United Nations small arms treaty. An amendment to restrict the use of federal funds for advocating or lobbying for a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has just passed the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations…

    This is probably in response to “Fast and Furious” (A political CYA)
    Documents show ATF used “Fast and Furious” to make the case for gun regulations

    Janet Napolitano however has made it darn clear from her actions that she thinks “Terrorism” is a bunch of bull poop. In February of 2011Napolitano said terror threat may be highest since 9/11 but that is not what she really thinks.

    Here is what is actually happening. I am using news clippings to tell the story to keep _Jim happy but he will probably snark anyway
    Radical Islam makes inroads among Latin America’s Native peoples – February 21, 2010[

    The locals state Napaolitano is lying.
    Tim Gaffney said that Director of Homeland Security Janet Napaolitano’s statements that crimes related to immigration and drug smuggling issues are down is just not true.The numbers county officials provided in the release seem to back up Gaffney’s stance. The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said it has seen a “dramatic” increase in vehicle pursuits, drug seizures and calls to U.S. Border Patrol agents to help deal with illegal immigrants – 1/06/2011

    The Department of Justice and the Government Accountability Office agree with Tim Gaffney.
    Even though the Border Patrol now reports that almost 1,300 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border is not under effective control, and the Department of Justice says that vast stretches of the border are “easily breached,” and the Government Accountability Office has revealed that three persons “linked to terrorism” and 530 aliens from “special interest countries” were intercepted at Border Patrol checkpoints last year, the administration is nonetheless now planning to decrease the number of Border Patrol agents deployed on the U.S.-Mexico border ….the Obama administration on May 7 said the Border Patrol “plans to move several hundred Agents from the Southwest Border…- September 24, 2009

    First Napolitano kills the build a fence project mandated by LAW ( Secure Fence Act of 2006 ) and substitutes a virtual fence.
    Janet Napolitano on Tuesday said she will spend $50 million of stimulus funds originally intended to build a “virtual fence” along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border on other more proven and cost-effective security technology….Ms. Napolitano attempts to justify to lawmakers a 30 percent budget reduction for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the midst of a raging drug war along the Southwest border. – March 17, 2010

    And then she cancels the virtual fence.
    Napolitano Cancels Virtual Border Fence Project..1/14/2011

    Private citizens are the only ones left building the border fence. Remember all the discussion about government funding projects with Stimulus funds???

    While Minuteman civilian patrols are keeping an eye out for illegal border crossers, the U.S. Border Patrol is keeping an eye out for Minutemen — and telling the Mexican government where they are. The Mexican government then announces their location on a website.

    Legalized Civilian Militia Groups the Answer to Arizona’s Border Security Problems? JACK HARPER: three of the four border states are losing their National Guard troops now. And Arizona is supposed to lose the federally funded National Guard troops in June or July.

    Unfortunately Harper’s idea was defeated. (I would much rather have government trained millitia groups than winging it)

    Many of the Millitia groups use tiny unmanned airplanes and spy cameras to patrol the border. They avoid any contact and report sightings. Some drug runners use four wheel drive vehicles with mounted machine guns so contact is to be avoided. But you still get some nut cases even though they try to screen members. Arizona Militias Gain Momentum After Citizen Border Group Bill is Defeated

  59. Just as well us Aussies don’t have a Bill of Rights or Freedom of Speach so they can’t trample all over it or stop us from using it. Having said that any Australian politician that tried to forbid us to speak or write would be told exactly what to do his/her orders, with graphic instructions of a colourful nature and in to what bodily orifice said instructions should be inserted in to.One of the reasons I use my real name is so those who track these posts won’t confuse me for anyone else. If you speak the truth you have nothing to fear.

  60. Did you know the word “ARGO” is also on the list? I wonder if the NSF is helping with “key words”?

  61. “Lightening”? They must be monitoring tens of thousands of hairdressers’ websites.

    Seriously, this is just another example of the ‘more data = better results’ fallacy. Firstly, it is physically impossible to process that much data in real time, if ever. Secondly, if the objective is to keep up to speed on local weather and disaster events, the way to do it is to develop and maintain a relatively short list of reliable sources and monitor them. It ain’t rocket science.

    This is just another example of the “we need bigger computers and more money because that’s why we stuffed up last time” effect. Ironically, if anything it has the opposite of the desired outcome, because instead of staying plugged in to relatively few reliable sources, they are drowning in a sea of meaningless data.

  62. We should encourage this and get them to add many thousands of additional words. When everything beeps an alarm, nothing beeps an alarm.

  63. So I guess we cannot describe the weapon used to kill Trotsky in Mexico – an ICE axe.

    PS What I never understood is how anyone in Mexico would bother owning an ice axe?

  64. As true hackers tend to be a bit iconoclastic, I offer this long-time function from the Emacs text editor’s email method:

    35.6 Mail Amusements

    M-x spook adds a line of randomly chosen keywords to an outgoing mail message. The keywords are chosen from a list of words that suggest you are discussing something subversive.

    The idea behind this feature is the suspicion that the NSA22 and other intelligence agencies snoop on all electronic mail messages that contain keywords suggesting they might find them interesting. (The agencies say that they don’t, but that’s what they would say.) The idea is that if lots of people add suspicious words to their messages, the agencies will get so busy with spurious input that they will have to give up reading it all. Whether or not this is true, it at least amuses some people.

    This section of the manual may be seen at http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/html_mono/emacs.html#Mail-Amusements

    cheers,

    gary

  65. Robert of Ottawa says:
    May 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm
    “So I guess we cannot describe the weapon used to kill Trotsky in Mexico – an ICE axe.
    PS What I never understood is how anyone in Mexico would bother owning an ice axe?”

    Trotsky was living the fine life. An Ice Pick, used for making ice cubes for your cocktail in those days where you bought large chunks of ice from delivery services.

  66. Ric Werme says:
    May 29, 2012 at 11:12 am

    BTW, that’s a gorgeous picture of a Tstrm. (Can I say Tstrm?)

    Probably. You could also say “Thorm”, which I believe John Coleman used when he was a TV weatherman in Chicago.

    Re “lightening” rather than “lightning”. I remember one evening at a co-worker’s house having coffee after dinner. He pulled out a jar of non-dairy creamer and offered:

    “Would you like some White Lightening, or perhaps some Light Whitening?”

    (It was funner at the time — different era)

  67. @ Jason Calley
    “For any who might think I am crazy, just remember that I might think you are naive.”

    You probably are crazy. That doesn’t mean you are wrong.

  68. DirkH says:
    May 29, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Real terrerrorists use pig latin.

    f u cn rd ths, y shd i lrn 2 spl?

  69. So Depressing. No respect for fellow Americans. No trust. How guilt-ridden must they be, to fear others so much?

  70. This is the new “no fly list” with a quota of words to get added every quarter to protect us all from something or someone. There is now an entire bureaucracy dedicated to analyzing words and adding them to the list. Soon we will all be on the no fly list and all words will be subject to suspicion.

    Big brother is watching you. Big brother loves you.

  71. EMACS! Now there is something I haven’t used in a decade. In case you are wondering what it stands for “Eight Megs And Constantly Swapping” back when 8 megabytes of RAM was a huge amount.

  72. Gary Hladik says:
    May 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    ?sdrawkcab nettirw sdrow eseht rof kcehc osla yeht oD

    !oN

  73. Apologies if someone has already posted this one (have checked but not spotted) but my electronic Macquarie defines
    lightening – the descent of the foetus into the pelvic cavity so that the head becomes engaged.

    Well that is extreme weather

  74. Wonder how long before we see a WordPress plug in which automatically converts text to image formate, to make monitoring and searching, harder?

  75. richardscourtney says: .
    I lived in Cheltenham for many years. Cheltenham is the base for GCHQ; i.e. the UK equivalent of the US NSA with whom it works in close agreement.

    Please note that I have NOT worked with or for GCHQ at any time. However, GCHQ is the major employer in Cheltenham. And this makes the town culturally unique.
    ============================================================
    Having worked for many years for a firm who worked very closely with the military and all of the “interesting” agencies on both sides of the pond, and who developed many of the technologies used by said agencies, we decided it would be a bit of fun to develop our own codewords – hence the establishment you refer to was the Cheltenam Ladies College. Not too far away, the hard men play at the Hereford YMCA, and of course there is the rather less well-known Milton Keynes B&Q.

  76. This cannot be. It really cannot be that Homeland Security is going to start monitoring the online activities of everyone who refers to snow, ice and hail. It does not pass the most basic reasonableness test. Half the world refers to one of these every winter. I don’t understand how this story has come about, but it simply cannot be true. For one thing, the amount of material it would generate would be humongous.

  77. Actually, this is nothing more than a bunch of keywords for checking news stories to prepare daily summaries for executives. If anyone had actually bothered to read the document, it would be quite apparent that these words were used to train someone what words to look for in published news reports and blogs. Since DHS contains FEMA as one of its agencies, it’s no surprise that FEMA executives, as well as main DHS executives, would want to read news stories involving potential weather related disasters.

  78. “Don’t say that word!”

    “What word?”

    “I cannot tell. Suffice to say it is one of the words The Knights of Ni cannot hear!”

    Y’know, if the US Government is run by Monty Python, that would explain A LOT.

  79. Mark:

    Thankyou for your post to me at May 30, 2012 at 1:32 am. I enjoyed it.

    I worked at the Coal Research Establishment (CRE) near Cheltenham in the days of IRA terrorism. In the event of a bomb scare at CRE the “Hereford YMCA” were to defuse the problem.

    Richard

  80. It looks to me like they are using the web as an early warning system for natural disasters. When someone tweets about interstate closures, tornadoes and lightning, the system alerts someone at homeland security and tells then they should pay attention to that tweet.

    I don’t find this particularly sinister

  81. Matt says:
    May 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Good clarification, thanks – however my point still stands. GK

  82. Poetry contest!

    http://megmclain.com/2012/05/29/the-online-terrorist-keywords-poetry-contest/ says, in part

    Here’s how it works: Starting today, and ending 2 weeks from the posting of this announcement (that would be Tue. June 12th, at 9pm) I’m asking all who are interested to write up a poem using a minimum of 50 words from the “government keywords” list (see photos below). Post your poem in the comments section of this post. Be sure to include a title! Once the contest is closed, I’ll repost all the entries and have open voting for 5 days. At the end of the voting, which ever “Terrorist Poem” is rated the highest will be used in an 11″ x 17″ poster that I will design, print, and send to the winner.

  83. Caleb says:
    May 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    So Depressing. No respect for fellow Americans. No trust. How guilt-ridden must they be, to fear others so much?
    ______________________________
    Not guilt ridden just burned once twice shy.

    A brush with our legal system, either as a victim or as a “criminal” makes you wake up in a hurry. My neighbor who is an honest cop has told me he will not work for the law enforcement in my town or county because they are very very crooked. This is substantiated by what I have witnessed and what others in the neighborhood have gone through.

    I know of people who have had their houses and cars broken into by “government officials” so evidence was removed for example.

  84. So its still safe to talk about whether or not it might rain tomorrow, just don’t mention a potential for hail, sleet or snow?

    Too late…

  85. Ian H says:
    May 30, 2012 at 5:15 am

    It looks to me like they are using the web as an early warning system for natural disasters. When someone tweets about interstate closures, tornadoes and lightning, the system alerts someone at homeland security and tells then they should pay attention to that tweet.

    I don’t find this particularly sinister

    Yes that is correct, that is how the concept was sold (and it is a valid and useful concept in its own right). For example the CDC can get a heads up on disease outbreaks by monitoring Google search queries. If suddenly a large number of people in some obscure mid America town start doing Google searches on Malaria or dengue fever symptoms or some other disease that is not considered routine for the area, that is a warning bell that something is amiss.

    The problem is that in large bureaucracies, initiatives seldom retain their original intent or application, and like mission creep in a military campaign, people in the system gradually find “new and useful” ways to apply the information gathered. Like attorneys looking for loop holes in tax law, if there is a seam to squeeze through to allow some less desirable application, you can be assured that in time it will be used unless there is some statutory limit that prevents it.

    Laws that depend on “good will” of the government or bureaucracies are doomed to gradually migrate toward more sinister and intrusive uses unless there is a very strong limit on how the means can be used. Even then things occasionally go outside the bounds.

    The biggest difference between the conservative and the liberal is that the liberal assumes good intent will prevail (and actually believes the feel good sales pitch), and the conservative doubts the sales pitch and wonders how this ability could be misused. He/she understands human nature and expects good intent to in time be subverted by good old fashioned human greed, stupidity and malicious intent for power.

    The question is not what the system was set up to do, but what it could do if misused by those in power.

    Larry

  86. Caleb says:
    May 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    So Depressing. No respect for fellow Americans. No trust. How guilt-ridden must they be, to fear others so much?

    America was founded by and continues to be populated by people who do not trust, not “fellow Americans”, but anyone in a position of power. The US Constitution (much ignored these days) was set up with a host of “checks and balances” to prevent anyone from getting too much power.

    Ian H says:
    May 30, 2012 at 5:15 am

    It looks to me like they are using the web as an early warning system for natural disasters. When someone tweets about interstate closures, tornadoes and lightning, the system alerts someone at homeland security and tells then they should pay attention to that tweet.

    I don’t find this particularly sinister

    If I trusted that the system would not be misused by the folks who happen to be in power, but used only for the purpose you specify, I wouldn’t find it sinister either.

    However, in these times, when the US Government is secretly shipping enough weapons to arm a Marine regiment to the Mexican cartels, and detention without trial or even charges is held to be legal, and the US President can now decide to execute Americans with neither trial nor charges anywhere in the world … well, in these times anything where they are spying on the web makes me nervous.

    Am I paranoid? No … but in 2012, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean nobody’s spying on you.

    w.

  87. Computerized intercepts of communications in the electromagnetic spectrum have been ongoing for moe than a thrid of a century. A former Canadian CSIS employee released a considerable amount of detail in a book many years ago. The U.S. intelligence agencies were prevented by law from monitoring domestic U.S. communications. To get around the legal prohibition, the U.S. Government made an agreement with the Canadian Government. A computerized system employed voice analysis to intercept conversations and perform dictonary searches of the words and phrases used in the conversations. Whenever such target words and phrases triggered an alert, further computerized analysis and human analysis was used to determine whether or not the conversation was worthy of further handling. A portable version of the systems known as PREDATOR (IIRC) was brought into embassies and consulates to intercept communicatoins in cities and nations around the world, except the United States whee such intercepts weere illegal. This prohibition was circumvented by giving the Canadian CSIS the equipment, training, and assistance needed to operate from the Canadian embassy and consulates in the United States in exchange for reports of the intercepts made by CSIS.

    It is reported this type of arrangement was or may have been expanded with other partners. Consequently, the notion that telephone calls are not to be intercepted and eavesdropped upon has been beyond reality for a third of century and longer. The advent of the Internet has only expanded the scope of the procedures used by the Soviet Union, Russia, People’s Republic of China, United states, Great Britain, and many other nations for some decades. Nothing in the electromagnetic spectrum is immune from eavesdropping or ever can be, notwithstanding any and all efforts to prohibit such eavesdropping.

  88. Also, the targeting of weather and climate related terminology stems from some of the economic intelligence gathering. For example, during the Soviet Union’s use of famine to suppress political disseent and boost Soviet income from the export of wheat, other governments have often found it difficult to determine the true state of the Soviet agricultural economy. During the negotiatoin of wheat sales in later decades to the Soviet Union, the amount of grains needed became and important subject for intelligence gathering.

  89. Well it sounds like they have created (unbeknownst to us) a new covert federal agency. It is called F.E.R.N. (aka: Federal Enforcement of Ridiculous Nonsense) btw: you are all welcome to use the term as you wish.

  90. James Ard says:
    May 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm
    The biggest key to security is to never mention a three letter government agency by name.

    That is because there is No Such Agency!

  91. michel says:
    May 30, 2012 at 1:57 am
    This cannot be. It really cannot be that Homeland Security is going to start monitoring the online activities of everyone who refers to snow, ice and hail. It does not pass the most basic reasonableness test. Half the world refers to one of these every winter. I don’t understand how this story has come about, but it simply cannot be true. For one thing, the amount of material it would generate would be humongous.

    Not only can it be true, it is true. Computers are used to filter voice and data communications by word , phrase, location, date, time, person, and other criteria. Flagged communicatons are further analyzed by human analysts to determine relevance with respect to intelligence gathering objectives. Trade negotiations have been significantly altered by the interception of voice and data communications between government officials discussing the shortfall or surplus grain production in an agricultural season. The production and consumption of heating fuel oil has been the objective of some intelligence gathering activities. The sale and transfer of embargoed armaments and strategic technologies has been affected by weather conditoins impacting methods of transportatoin and storage.

  92. ….at the other end of the scale we have corporations and individuals who spend their time trying to get their websites as noticed as possible in order to increase advertising revenues :)

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