The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants to track the vast networks of journalists, bloggers and other "media influencers" through a massive, searchable database that will allow them to monitor "any and all" trends in real time, according to a publicly posted job listing.
Apparently the NSA doesn't share their toys with DHS...
The DHS "Media Monitoring" initiative is currently seeking a contractor who can provide DHS with the ability to track over 290,000 global news sources in more than 100 languages - including online, print, bradcast, cable, radio, trade and industry publications, traditional news sources and social media platforms.
“Services shall provide media comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, communication tools, and the ability to identify top media influencers,” according to the job call, in order to help DHS agencies fulfill "a critical need to incorporate these functions into their programs in order to better reach federal, state, local, tribal, and private partners."
The department's "Statement of Work for Media Monitoring Services" requires the following:
Online & Social Media Monitoring
Ability to track global online sources for coverage relevant to Washington and the six media hubs:
• Ability to track > 290,000 global news sources
• Ability to track online, print, broadcast, cable, radio, trade and industry publications, local sources, national/international outlets, traditional news sources, and social media
• Ability to track media coverage in > 100 languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Russian. Translation function to instantly translate these articles to English.
• Ability to create up to 20 searches with each unlimited keywords
• Unlimited coverage per search (no cap on coverage)
• Ability to change the searches at keywords at any given time
• Ability to create unlimited data tracking, statistical breakdown, and graphical analyses on any coverage on an ad-hoc basis
Database of journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers, etc.
The chosen contractor must be able to develop a "password protected, media influencer database" which can perform searches in various languages, and present contact details and any other information that could be relevat, including publications that this influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous cvoverage published by the media influencer."
Media Intelligence and Benchmarking Dashboard Platform
The vendor must provide a specialized "Dashboard" for DHS to use which will provide them with a specialized search engine, real time monitoring, analysis and benchmark of media coverage (how viral something is going, for example), geographical spread, and top influencers.
24/7 Access to a password protected, online platform for users to access:
• Overview of search results in terms of online articles and social media conversations
• Customized and Interactive Dashboard that provide real-time monitoring, analysis, and benchmark of media coverage.
• Ability to analyze the media coverage in terms of content, volume, sentiment, geographical spread, top publications, media channels, reach, AVE, top posters, influencers, languages, momentum, circulation.
• Ability to select time-period of analysis: per day, week, month, and selected dates
• Ability to build media lists based on beat, location, outlet type/size, and journalist role
• Automated weekly overview of these dashboards sent via email
DHS also requires access to a "password protected, mobile app" allowing access to all of the collected metrics and monitoring information.
No word on whether DHS has commissioned a database of MSM connections to establishment politicians, but we're sure that's on its way.
DHS calls critics "conspiracy theorists"
In response to what many suggest are Orwellian monitoring of media influencers, DHS Press Secretary Tyler Houlton issued a response on Friday which justifies the program's legitimacy and alleges that the project's goals are "standard practice."
"Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tinfoil hat-wearing, black-helicopter conspiracy theorists," added Houlton.
Despite what some reporters may suggest, this is nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring current events in the media. Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists. https://t.co/XGgFFH3Ppl— Tyler Q. Houlton (@SpoxDHS) April 6, 2018
Absent blindly trusting Houlton, we've been given no indication as to how the Trump administration - or future administrations, might use the massive tracking database. The Bloomberg article points to the Senate's recent interest in designating Al Jazeera as a foreign agent " because it “often directly undermines” U.S. interests with favorable coverage of Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria," however we're sure the U.S. government could monitor specific platforms-of-interest without a massive database of every outlet's past and present body of work.
DHS is so hungry for information about the media it just Goebbels it up— Former FSO (@FormerFSO) April 6, 2018