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Trouble words: DHS' list of suspicious phrases

Want to get noticed online?

Try tweeting messages that include any of these words or phrases: snow, ice, food poisoning, extreme weather, home grown, Tucson, prevention, metro.

Those are among the terms that the Homeland Security department uses to help its information-gathering systems detect potential security risks, according to a document posted online by Huffington Post reporter Andrea Stone and reported on also by Rebecca Rosen in The Atlantic.

The terms come from a binder issued internally in DHS that guides analysts on the agency's "Media Monitoring Capability Mission.” It’s part of an effort to comb “open sources,” such as social media sites and news reports, to develop a comprehensive picture of what people are talking about, Rosen reports.

Many of the terms on the list are obvious. Anthrax, Hamas, Iran, chemical burn, biological weapon and suicide bomber are unsurprising. But some seemingly innocuous words can apparently also draw attention, although presumably the analysts can distinguish between people planning to smuggle illegal immigrants to Tucson and company employees planning a business trip to Tucson.

We hope.

Posted by Michael Hardy on May 29, 2012 at 12:18 PM


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