The Department of Homeland Security just announced a new program that is creating some controversy. They are seeking contractors for the creation of a database so they can monitor news outlets around the world and collect information on journalists, bloggers and “media influencers.”
The new effort comes in the wake of concern over “fake news” and the effect it has on U.S. elections, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The DHS is soliciting bids on the project from their website: FedBizOpps.gov. Potential contractors are invited to make contact with two DHS staffers whose emails are on the site post.
What is being called the DHS Media Monitoring plan would grant the chosen company “24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database, including journalist, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.,” for the purpose of identifying “any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event.”
Contractors who are bidding for the project must “present contact details and any other information that could be relevant including publications this influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous coverage published by the influencer.”
The company must be able to track more than 250,000 global news outlets in more than 100 languages and have the “ability to create unlimited data tracking, statistical breakdown, and graphical analyses on ad-hoc basis.”
Contractor bids are due April 13.
Tyler Q. Houlton defended the DHS actions in a Friday tweet: “Despite what some reporters may suggest, this is nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring current events in the media. Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists.”
Despite what some reporters may suggest, this is nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring current events in the media. Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists. https://t.co/XGgFFH3Ppl
— Tyler Q. Houlton (@SpoxDHS) April 6, 2018