The U.S. Army Protective Services Battalion, a secret service equivalent of the Pentagon, is now monitoring social media to detect “direct, indirect, and veiled” threats and identify negative sentiment about top military officers, according to an Army procurement document. This expanded mandate includes using sophisticated surveillance tools capable of pinpointing individual’s locations, which has led to concerns about privacy invasion and the right to express opinions about public officials. The battalion also uses tools to disguise their online presence during these operations.
- The U.S. Army Protective Services Battalion has a mandate to protect current and former high-ranking military officials from assassination, kidnapping, injury, or embarrassment. This mandate has expanded to include monitoring social media for threats and negative sentiment.
- They utilize surveillance software that not only trawls social media but also combines various public and nonpublic information sources. This includes CCTV feeds, news outlets, personal records, hacked information, webcams, and cellular location data, among others.
- To maintain anonymity during their operations, they use tools to disguise their online presence by falsifying browser information and relaying their internet traffic through servers located abroad.
- There have been concerns about the legality and implications of this practice on the freedom of speech and right to privacy, as expressed by Ilia Siatitsa, program director at Privacy International.
- The procurement document for these services indicates that the contract was awarded to SEWP Solutions, LLC, a federal software vendor that has previously sold a similar suite of surveillance tools to the Department of Defense.
Continue reading at https://theintercept.com/2023/06/17/army-surveillance-social-media/