DHS forced to reveal internet surveillance keywords

Big Brother is watching you copy your essay from Wikipedia.

Thanks to our old buddy the Freedom of Information Act, the Department of Homeland Security has released a long list of keywords it uses to monitor the internet for information about natural disasters and terrorist attacks. “Monitor the internet for information” sounds a lot better than “spy on you,” which is what DHS might be accused of doing were their words not so stupid. Wave, drill, and infection all make the list, which means I am now caught in the dragnet for last week’s sentence, If this recent wave of infections doesn’t clear up soon, I’m going to drill a hole in Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. That’s what my type of internet radical is into—being super-pissed at the DoT. We’re everywhere.

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Is it just impossible to sell a cell phone or what?


Everyone’s favorite Meghan Gallagher sent me the foregoing ad for the new Microsoft Kin, which promises to do for cell phones what Bing did for internet search engines. If you’re wondering, the song is by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, a band I liked without reservation before they sold their best work to a phone commercial and forced me to yet again consider how much of my aesthetic taste is aesthetic taste and how much is just contrary esotericism.* Anywhom, the ad has provoked an extremely small firestorm of controversy, due to allegations by Consumer Reports that it promotes sexting. You remember sexting, right? It’s the totally real thing that teenagers do all the time nowadays, when they’re not cyberbullying or attending rainbow parties. I quote intrepid CR reporter Mike Gikas: “The video…includes a downright creepy sequence in which a young man is shown putting a Kin under his shirt and apparently snapping a picture of one of his naked breasts. The breast is then shown on the phone’s screen, just before the guy apparently sends it to someone.” Needless to say, Gikas did not get away with referring to a man’s bare chest as his “breasts,” or, worse, “the breast,” and comments-section hilarity ensued. Despite the obvious sophistication of its reporter, the CR piece prompted Microsoft to re-edit the spot so as to remove the breaxting, as well as change the Kin’s slogan from “Send a grainy picture of your breasts or breast!” to “We’re all in this together!” Except, of course, those of us who are peering at our phones. Which brings us to Combat! blog’s question of the day: Is it just impossible to sell a cell phone or what?

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