(Reclaim The Net)—Fresh revelations regarding a $2.5 million contractual agreement between the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) at Fort George G. Meade and social media scrutinizer Dataminr have emerged. These claims, unveiled by a US government notice, imply a new era of digital monitoring rests on the horizon, increasingly unsettling in its reinforcement of sweeping surveillance, and potentially having implications on free speech and privacy protection.
Fort Meade, also known as the steering wheel of the US Government’s paramount signals intelligence organization, the National Security Agency, has seemingly struck a discreet deal to expand its espionage services.
DISA, commodiously located at Fort Meade, is now purported to have voluminous exposure to public posts from assorted social media platforms, including X, formerly Twitter.
Dataminr is a company specializing in AI-driven real-time information discovery and is known for detecting, classifying, and determining the significance of public information in real time. It’s plausible that government entities, including the Department of Defense, may leverage services like Dataminr to monitor social media and other public data sources to maintain situational awareness and respond to emerging events or threats more rapidly.
When privacy buffs and free speech advocates look at governmental use of tools like Dataminr, it’s met with a hefty dose of suspicion, and rightfully so. The potential implications for personal freedom, civil rights, and the pillars of democracy are considerable. There’s this looming worry about the government, potentially with too loose a leash, exploiting these tools to spy on lawful activities and on people living their everyday lives with no criminal intentions.
The breadth and depth of data that can be scooped up – often slipping under individuals’ radars and without their green light – are considered intrusive, lighting up alarm bells about losing the privilege of anonymity on the web. The knowledge that one’s online whispers and digital footprints might be under the watchful eye can put a damper on free speech. It can make people think twice before voicing opinions that swim against the current or stir the pot.
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