I just read a scary an article in Forbes about how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is going to be starting a program to gather and monitor the public activities of media professionals and influencers. The program has the relatively benign-sounding name, “Media Monitoring Services.”
The U.S. government is preparing to compile a list of professional journalists and “top media influencers,” which would seem to include bloggers and podcasters, and monitor what they’re putting out to the public.
Yes, the article specifically mentioned bloggers!
And so it begins, folks. This inchoate endeavor sounds to me as if this is the beginning of the end of freedom of the press and freedom of expression in the United States.
The successful contracting company, according to the Forbes article, will have “24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database, including journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers, etc.” The program is intended to “identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event.”
But what, exactly, does the government plan to do with the information it compiles? Are those of us bloggers who mention the DHS in our posts or who express anger, frustration, or antipathy toward the Trump administration, going to find ourselves the subjects of this monitoring? Will our ability to freely express our opinions and perspectives be impinged?Will our travel either within or outside of the United States be affected by what we’ve published in our blog posts?
Although I don’t think of myself as a major influencer, I see this DHS initiative as seriously frightening. I’m alarmed and you should be, too. It seems to me that we are getting closer and closer to the dystopian world George Orwell wrote about in his book, 1984.
Written for today’s one-word prompt, “inchoate.”