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DHS defends media-monitoring database, calls critics “conspiracy theorists”

Saturday April 7, 2018. 01:35 AM , from Ars Technica
Enlarge / Tinfoil hats, you say? (credit: DHS/Sam Machkovech)
Earlier this week, Bloomberg Law uncovered a Department of Homeland Security job listing for a 'media-monitoring services' request to keep tabs on more than 290,000 'global news sources' and develop an extensive database for an unconfirmed number of 'media influencers.' After news outlets reported about the amount of data sought by this job listing, DHS Press Secretary Tyler Houlton issued a response on Friday to verify its legitimacy and allege that the data project's aims will be 'standard practice.'
What's more, Houlton added, 'Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tinfoil hat-wearing, black-helicopter conspiracy theorists.'
DHS' contract listing, posted on Tuesday, seeks a firm to deliver 'media-comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, communication tools, and the ability to identify top media influencers' for a span ranging from one to five years, all with the aim of tracking 'any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event.' Part of that data-combing effort would include the development of a 'database' that gathers intel about 'journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers, etc.,' including locations, beats, reporter 'types,' contact details, overviews of each 'influencer's' previous coverage, current publications, and 'any other information that could be relevant.'
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