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We know that the U.S. government has been secretly monitoring data on the Internet, allegedly for the purpose of scanning for threats to national security. But now thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, we also know exactly which keywords and phrases the government has been flagging, reports the Daily Mail.
Many of the words on the recently released list are predictable, such as "Al Qaeda," "dirty bomb" or "assassination," but some are more ambiguous — words you might find yourself using in a variety of benign contexts. For instance, typing innocent words like "pork," "El Paso," "cloud," "wave" or "smart" — among with many others — on your Facebook or Twitter profiles might get you flagged for monitoring.
The Department of Homeland Security released the list following a House hearing over documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The list was contained in the department's 2011 "Analyst's Desktop Binder," which instructs workers at the National Operations Center on how to identify potential threats "that reflect adversely" on the department and the government at large.
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