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Homeland Security may use companies to find extremism on social media

The Department of Homeland Security may not rely solely on in-house programs to spot extremist threats on social media. Intelligence officer and initiative chief John Cohen instructed the Wall Street Journal in an interview that Homeland Security is hiring companies to analyze social networks for indicators of impending terrorism and different extremist violence. The division had been finding out social media earlier than, however the exterior companions would assist “dramatically” develop these efforts, Cohen mentioned.

Murmurs of intensive social media scanning first surfaced in May, however there have been few particulars about how it might work. The rumors prompt Homeland Security would focus on alarming tendencies slightly than particular person targets, resembling brewing extremist actions or threats towards particular communities. The intention is to catch the violent rhetoric behind occasions just like the January sixth Capitol riot, which Homeland Security did not anticipate regardless of mounting social media exercise.

One of the companies concerned in discussions is Logically, a agency that makes use of a mixture of AI and human evaluation to monitor on-line content material at a big scale. It was beforehand concerned in a authorities effort to struggle voting misinformation, however right here might use publicly accessible social media to spot bother.

Whether or not Homeland Security can deal with privateness fears is one other matter. Cohen mentioned the division would not use companies to purchase info it was restricted from seeing, and WSJ sources mentioned officers had been decided to shield civil liberties. Logically chief Lyric Jain mentioned his company could not share personal knowledge for Americans with out courtroom orders.

Even so, there are issues Homeland Security might abuse this non-public evaluation. It might theoretically maintain on to content material and use the information to pursue unrelated prison instances or goal peaceable political dissent. That might chill free speech by making folks afraid to speak about sure topics in public channels, even when there aren’t any discussions of violent intentions.

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