CNN reported yesterday that the Biden administration is considering the use of private corporations to track the social media of the political extremists among us. When you read the excerpts from the article, please remember that this is CNN.
The article reports:
The Biden administration is considering using outside firms to track extremist chatter by Americans online, an effort that would expand the government’s ability to gather intelligence but could draw criticism over surveillance of US citizens.
The Department of Homeland Security is limited in how it can monitor citizens online without justification and is banned from activities like assuming false identities to gain access to private messaging apps used by extremist groups such as the Proud Boys or Oath Keepers.
Instead, federal authorities can only browse through unprotected information on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and other open online platforms. A source familiar with the effort said it is not about decrypting data but rather using outside entities who can legally access these private groups to gather large amounts of information that could help DHS identify key narratives as they emerge.
The plan being discussed inside DHS, according to multiple sources, would, in effect, allow the department to circumvent those limits. In response to CNN’s story, DHS said it “is not partnering with private firms to surveil suspected domestic terrorists online” and “it is blatantly false” to suggest that the department is using outside firms to circumvent its legal limits.
The purpose of this, of course, is to prevent domestic terrorism (you know, like from Trump voters). Meanwhile, how much effort have Democrats put into stopping riots in Portland and in Minnesota? How much compassion has been shown to the business owners whose businesses were destroyed in those riots? You can bet your life those rioters are not the ‘domestic terrorists’ the Biden administration is looking for.
The article notes:
FBI director Christopher Wray has been emphatic during recent public testimony that the bureau does not investigate ideologies or even conspiracy theories in and of themselves, but restricts its social media monitoring to cases where they believe a crime, or potential crime, was committed.
But if the DHS could help provide a broad picture of who was perpetuating the “narratives” of concern, the FBI could theoretically use that pool of information to focus on specific individuals if there is enough evidence of a potential crime to legally do so, the source added, noting the two agencies are working closely with one another in this area.
“What do you do about ideology that’s leading to violence? Do you have to wait until it leads to violence?” said one former senior intelligence official.
“We are exploring with our lawyers, civil rights, civil liberties and privacy colleagues, how we can make use of outside expertise,” the DHS official added, referring to the department’s efforts related to encrypted applications.
The problem with that, the source familiar with the effort acknowledged, is DHS would be operating in a space that would likely make civil liberties’ advocates, not to mention conservatives’, hair stand on end.
Privacy advocates on the Hill have already questioned the Defense Intelligence Agency’s efforts to get around restrictions on collecting Americans’ location data without a warrant by purchasing that data from commercially-available databases.
Make no mistake. This will result in the federal government being used as a political arm of the Democrat party. It does not say good things about the future freedom of Americans.