Big Brother is Tweeting You

Cyber-bullying isn’t exactly a new topic of discussion among today’s tech-savvy youth, but what about cyber-threats to national security? Americans are not known for regularly censoring themselves online, but what if they knew that big brother is sifting through their tweets? The LA Times reports that there were, “more than 6.5 million Tweets during the third presidential debate Monday – and a few of them were death threats against President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.” Apparently, when angry tweeters issue death threats it is the Secret Service’s solemn duty to tweet back with authority. While I do not want to downplay the Secret Service’s important duty of protecting the President and his family from legitimate threats, I cannot help but view angry, presidential debate fueled tweets as inconsequential. Quite frankly, I am scared as to the implications of government bodies regularly monitoring and acting upon information from social networking sites. According to the LA Times, the Secret Service has only been monitoring Twitter for about a year and does not have accounts on any other social media website. Still, every small encroachment on a society’s freedom of speech is occasion to be concerned. I understand that death threats are not protected under freedom of speech, but when the Secret Service issues an invitation for whistle blowing on a social media website, I grow cautious. Also, some of the tweets that are being targeted do not strike me as legitimate threats.

The article provides an example of one of these “life threatening” tweets:

“Last month, a 25-year-old Birmingham, Ala., man was arrested and charged with making threats against the president after an anonymous caller reported a Tweet that said, “Free speech? Really? Let’s test this! Let’s kill the      president!” according to court documents.”

Cruel, cruel irony. I guess his test failed. Publishing our thoughts online offers countless freedoms and exposure to a worldwide audience; unfortunately, it is easy to take advantage of these facts and have your words used against you by others, and now, by your own government.,0,2856967.story?track=rss&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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