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Is the Department of Homeland Security censoring a citizen’s personal blog?; HR.1955
slenderdog | January 29, 2008 at 08:39 amby
341 views | 10 Recommendations | 1 comment
Yesterday, I mentioned the blog post I saw which was repeatedly censored by an IP address owned by the Department of Homeland security. This morning, I got an email from Rob, the author, saying that he’d been taken an involuntary trip to his local FBI building where he was held and interrogated for six hours! This is the email I received:
Hey Rich, just wanted to follow up on your comment on my blog and the post on yours. My name’s Rob, by the way, hi, nice to meet you. Apparently, I actually did upset a few people with some of the information I posted. This resulted in an involuntary trip to the local FBI offices. Didn’t even know they were in town - guess they’re everywhere these days.
So from what I gathered in our conversation (if you can call it that - it was a bit one-sided), a couple of things set them off. They’ve got some tracking software sorting through everything out there, looking for certain keywords. If it picks up a keyword, you get put on a list and monitored. I got flagged the first time as a result of my post on Canada placing the US on its terror watch list. Among other things, mention of Guantanamo, Afghanistan, torture, and terrorism set the software off.
A couple of posts later, I did a parody of an interview with al-Quaeda representative Ayman al-Zawahri. This seemed to set them off, too. They wanted to know what my connections were to the group - I guess they were obligated to ask. The thing that really got them in that article was an offhand remark about the weaponization of smallpox based on some work an Australian research group did with mousepox. Here’s a link to the research:
You may need a subscription to view it, I’m not sure. Anyway, I assumed that this was pretty common knowledge. Of course, I also work in biomedical chemistry, so I guess I hear some things the general public doesn’t. They were really freaked out about this. Don’t blame them - if you’ve got some time, pick up Ken Alibeck’s (sp?) book on the supposedly now-defunct Russian bioterrorism program. But that’s a story for another day.
The stuff about homegrown terrorism was the last straw, they said. I guess posting instructions for some lame explosives along with criticism of HR1955 pissed them off. They decided to teach me a lesson by first censoring, then removing the offending blog post. They figured that if I was posting stuff like this, it was only a matter of time before I moved on to more complex agents, based on my education and employment background. It took me about six and a half hours to convince these assholes that I’m not a terrorist. I am certain I’m on every watch list they’ve got now. Not looking forward to my next trip to the airport, that’s for damn sure.
So, not only can the Federal Police monitor your phone calls, they can censor your blog! How, we wonder, were they able to gain access to this blog to censor it? Did they using keystroke logging to discover the password? Or do they have backdoor access to typepad? Really, we'd like to know.
What's more, we'd like to know what law authorizes the Federal Police to restrict freedom of speech?