Homeland Security Internet Watch List leaked; Boing Boing omitted from list of must-read sites for domestic spying

I am outraged that our blog once again failed to make it on to the list of websites the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's command center routinely monitors. The grandfather of all rogue leak sites, Cryptome, published a copy of the 2011 edition of the government document (PDF link to document copy). Apparently, there's a new 2012 version some have seen, on which a current round of news coverage is based.

There's a Reuters article summarizing its significance here:

A "privacy compliance review" issued by DHS last November says that since at least June 2010, its national operations center has been operating a "Social Networking/Media Capability" which involves regular monitoring of "publicly available online forums, blogs, public websites and message boards." The purpose of the monitoring, says the government document, is to "collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture."

The document adds, using more plain language, that such monitoring is designed to help DHS and its numerous agencies, which include the U.S. Secret Service and Federal Emergency Management Agency, to manage government responses to such events as the 2010 earthquake and aftermath in Haiti and security and border control related to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.

"This is a representative list of sites that the NOC will start to monitor in order to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture under this Initiative," the document reads.

Oh fine, so, the imminent Yeti invasion isn't something that needs to be monitored? The anal probe menace posed by illegal Martian invaders? No concerns about the toxicity of homemade sauerkraut as a biological weapon?

I mean, fucking MySpace and Hulu are on the list! Really? I'm surprised Friendster was omitted. And they're watching Flickr and YouTube and Huffpo! But our hard-hitting coverage of steampunk watches and DIY spaceships doesn't merit a click? Whatever, DHS. We don't want those ill-gotten clicks.

But there's still hope. "Initial sites listed may link to other sites not listed. The NOC may also monitor those sites if they are within the scope of this Initiative."

UPDATE: Leaked DHS internet watchlist "mistakes" msthirteen.com, skeevy German site about 13yo girls for MS-13 gang news.


  1. They spend a lot of time on porn sites. DHS pseudo cops rank somewhere below airport boarding line scanner operators and Best Buy sales clerks in the scheme of things. Boing Boing is out of their league. So are comic books.

      1. It’s been in the system far longer than we’ve had viewable avatars. It’s just my eye; I didn’t really think of the CCTV implications until it started appearing in threads. Bonus points if you find the Salzman’s Degeneration.

  2. “Oh fine, so, the imminent Yeti invasion isn’t something that needs to be monitored?”

    You’d get more traction if you were covering the *immigrant* Yeti invasion.

  3. Why is the PDF file dated for 2011? It makes no sense that they would make an internet watch list for 2012 a year in advance like that… Internet is full of change.

    1. I’m guessing it was written in 2011 with the thought that most of the sites would still be relevant in 6-12 months. Also since it’s a pdf file it can be updated with new info and delete old but still retain the original date.

  4. Wikileaks is on the list, isn’t being a Federal Employee and looking at Wikileaks grounds to be taken out and shot?

  5. This is probably just a list of sites that DHS employees wanted to ensure wouldn’t be blocked from their access, as so many employers now are using white lists to try and curtail “wasted” employee time online. 

    “Umm, yeah, I have to watch Hulu at the office … it’s for work.” 

    As the “social media director” for my employer, I totally get it. 

  6. Is there a “7 seditious words that will get you on a watch list” like the George Carlin “7 dirty words” routine he did years ago?

  7. Oddly enough, the “MS-13 News & Analysis” site they list, msthirteen.com, is a German site that seems to be about adolescent/teenage psychology.

    1. the way boingboing puts it its skeevy though i didnt see it as skeevy. maybe cause i read the site and found no pics other then those on the front page? or the teens gone wild. part dunno

  8.  Since we know the DHS is inept it’s no particular honor (or disappointment) to be or not to be on this list. BB is most certainly on the radar (and on quite a few lists) in other government agencies – ones that are perhaps not quite as inept, and which actually matter (that is the question).

    Frankly even though I don’t often post political comments, I’d be disappointed if my prolific commenting here and the easy traceability to my name didn’t land my real identity on a few watch lists.

  9. BB isn’t on the DHS watch list because they know better than to piss off Cory Doctorow. heh.

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