WASHINGTON (AP) — The Department of Homeland Security plans to ramp up social media tracking as part of an enhanced focus on domestic violent extremism. While the move is a response to weaknesses exposed by the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection, it’s raising concerns about undermining Americans’ civil liberties.
President Joe Biden’s top appointees have called white supremacists the greatest security threat to the country and are pushing for bolstered intelligence gathering. Closely watching are advocates for communities of color and groups that have previously been the focus of intensified surveillance, sometimes unlawfully.
DHS in recent weeks has announced a new office in its intelligence branch focusing on domestic extremism and a new center to facilitate “local prevention frameworks” that, according to a statement, can better identify people “who may be radicalizing, or have radicalized, to violence.”
The overall effort is in its early stages. The department is exploring partnerships with tech companies, universities, and nonprofit groups to access publicly available data. DHS will also train analysts on tracking social media and how to distinguish a threat from the exercise of free speech.
Categories: Police State/Civil Liberties