Does the FBI read weblog posts? December 3, 2001 12:22 PM   Subscribe

IS FBI reading and acting on weblog posts and comments or is it publicity stunt ? From today's Plastic mefi thread and Kuro5hin page: "As some of you may or may not know, we've apparently been read by the US secret service as a way of keeping tabs on citizens who voice opinions which are 'too dangerous' " (sorry cant get links to work)

posted by Voyageman to General Weblog-Related at 12:22 PM (29 comments total)

The links are: a comment on kuro5hin (front page, rest down) that points to a comment on /. about a post on kuro5hin ("main" site, not visible) that's archived on google. The last link is the one that apparently upset the FBI (details of FBI actions in second link).

If it's true, the FBI are either desperate, stupid, or both (I suspect it's false, but I'm not sure that you can infer anything about the FBI from that ;-)
posted by andrew cooke at 12:38 PM on December 3, 2001

I would bet that just now they have bigger fish to fry than checking out whether anyone here is lacking in patriotism.
posted by UncleFes at 12:45 PM on December 3, 2001

Since the Secret Service had the time to visit a 19-year-old to check up on her "anti-American" artwork, the Federales definitely are reading the Web.
posted by Carol Anne at 1:19 PM on December 3, 2001

When the FBI gets bent over "dangerous" web material, they often contact the ISP of the page in question and tell them in advance that they are going to raid the suspect's place in the next 90 days [mostly for high level president-threatening or similar stuff] and that they [the ISP] needs to be on high alert and ready to freeze the site as evidence right before the actual raid is going to take place. The ISPs are forbidden by law to actually tip off the suspects, though word sometimes gets out anyhow.

The lesson? Make fast friends with your sysadmin and watch your ass on the web.
posted by jessamyn at 1:32 PM on December 3, 2001

I would just like to say at this point that I think the FBI is doing a fantastic job. We all owe them our thanks and appreciation. I don't think we do enough to recognize the wonderful work the FBI does to make our lives better. I think FBI agents, especially those monitoring web logs, deserve raises and longer vacations.

I know in the past I've referred to the FBI as a bunch of trigger happy delusional paranoiacs, but I was just kidding about that.

And despite the fact that you weren't able to prevent or anticipate the WTC attacks, or catch any terrorists since then, you have my complete faith and trust. Keep up the good work. Please don't arrest me.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:36 PM on December 3, 2001

Wow. This is way off track already.

* It wasn't the FBI. It was the Secret Service.
* They weren't upset over opinions which are 'too dangerous'. Inoshiro coined that phrase, and it would be chartible to call it "misleading". They were investigating what either they, or someone else, took to be an actual threat to the US VP, contained in the comment linked to in the Google cache.
* Read the actual K5 page for everything I know about it.
* This is not a publicity stunt. I wish like hell Inoshiro hadn't even mentioned it until we were back up.
posted by rusty at 2:15 PM on December 3, 2001

word up! viva la revolucion! or something like that.

Is anyone that suprised? The US government has monitored people like MLK and John Lennon for god's sake.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:19 PM on December 3, 2001

Is anyone that suprised? The US government has monitored people like MLK and John Lennon for god's sake.

Which one of these is us?
posted by ColdChef at 2:21 PM on December 3, 2001

* It wasn't the FBI. It was the Secret Service.

tom-a-to tom-ah-to

er, I mean, what y6y6y6 said...FBI r0x0r5
posted by jpoulos at 2:53 PM on December 3, 2001

A good friend of mine is from Lebanon. His first name is a one-letter variation of the now infamous word, "Jihad." As a web developer, he registered the domain of his first name a long time ago. Since the attacks, his server logs have been replaced by a nice cornucopia of government domains. The CIA has tallyed up more hits than any of his normal visitors.

Act normal... they're watching.
posted by Hankins at 4:01 PM on December 3, 2001

The CIA has tallyed up more hits than any of his normal visitors.

You'd think if someone were snooping around, they'd use a proxy or something so there wouldn't be "" plastered all over the place. Unless they want you to know they're watching...
posted by transient at 4:17 PM on December 3, 2001

I'm just glad to know that there's some FBI guy out there keeping tabs on my blog. I can see it now:

"November 22nd, 2001: Month three of Kafkaesque surveillance. I have made a significant discovery today: subject seems to enjoy black olives to an almost certainly unhealthy degree, dislikes being cut off by other drivers. Subject has expressed deviant views in regards to Calvin (note: cartoon character) and what he should be pissing on/in."


It all reminds me of The Pause of Mr Claus: "Other countries would say 'Hey, he's the last guy...screw him', you know? But in America, there is no discrimination, and there is no hypocrisy,'cause they'll get anybody. And that's a wonderful thing about America." -Arlo Guthrie

posted by Kafkaesque at 4:26 PM on December 3, 2001

*hugs Kafkaesque*

Wait a minute - what's that lump? Dude - are you wearing a WIRE?!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:49 PM on December 3, 2001

Hey, get me!

I'm gettin hugs all over the place. Maybe I'm turning into one of those "hug guys" who wears Birkenstocks and sports patchy facial hair and is, at the very core of it, just trying to cop a cheap feel.


*optional response: no, I'm just happy to see you.
posted by Kafkaesque at 4:53 PM on December 3, 2001

Dec 3rd: Subject displays strange fondness for foriegn films. Also, wishlist includes beetles album which contains use of a sitar in some tracks and references indian mysticism. Subject seems to dislike White Russians because they contain milk. Constantly links to slashdot. It is my opinion that the subject may be dangerous and thier residence needs to be searched.
posted by fuq at 5:00 PM on December 3, 2001

These people know something. I want full cavity searches...EVERYONE! Go DEEP on 'em!
posted by dlewis at 5:37 PM on December 3, 2001

ZachsMind Surveillance Day 283: "Damn but this jerk's an egotistical prick. I can't believe the government's paying me for this. Oh and this guy said something about tar and feathering George while having Cheney and Powell tied up and forced to watch but this guy can't get his head out of his own ass long enough to catch flies. He's harmless but I say we have a sniper take him out anyway. I think I have an ulcer. A bleeding one. Come to think of it you can't pay someone enough to read his tripe. I quit."'s a gift. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 6:31 PM on December 3, 2001

* It wasn't the FBI. It was the Secret Service.

tom-a-to tom-ah-to

And everyone wonders why democracy went to hell in a handbag. The phrase "informed citizenry" ring any bells?
posted by rusty at 6:52 PM on December 3, 2001

The Palestinian Authority is out to get me.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:08 PM on December 3, 2001

willnot funny. I don't feel like getting hassled by gov't thugs, thankyouverymuch.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:37 PM on December 3, 2001

So many jokes I'd love to make right now but feel I can't. For some reason I feel as if my rights are being violated...

Luckly my strategically place, patriotic American flags should keep me out of harms way.
posted by geoff. at 9:45 PM on December 3, 2001

We could all just request our files under the FOIA and see what they think of us...oh, wait, nevermind. Darn. Maybe when this is "all over" (wink, wink), eh?
posted by rushmc at 10:14 PM on December 3, 2001

So what is the difference between the SS (hmmm) and the FBI? Rephrase that - are there any significant differences? If the Secret Service knock on your door rather than the FBI can you feel much happier? Does the anti-terrorism legislation apply to only one group and not the other? Or is it the kind of thing only train-spotters get worked up over?
posted by andrew cooke at 12:14 AM on December 4, 2001

If the Secret Service knock on your door rather than the FBI can you feel much happier?

The SS is far less likely to knock on your door... They cover a very narrow range of crimes, threats to the president, forgery, and I believe hacking... Not much else.

I'm kind of half waiting for posts to show up like "The government would never monitor metafilter" posted by not_a_spook...

It's very likely that they monitor sites such as this, but probably not that closely...

Also, that whole willnot thing was really weird. First the posts (which I managed to read)... Then Matt removing them, but commenting on them, the only thing pointing to the fact that it happened... but really willnot's statements would have probably drawn SS attention, as Mojo Nixon once got taken down by the SS for having an "Assassination Ball" poster featuring a gun site drawn over Reagan's head.
posted by drezdn at 1:47 AM on December 4, 2001

Again, what this comes down to is another public statement (or perception of one) about assasination. The feds are obligated to check them all out.

No kidding. My guess is that someone read that Kuro5hin comment and reported it to the Secret Service, which routinely checks out anything that could possibly be construed as a threat.
posted by rcade at 6:24 AM on December 4, 2001

Great, now *everyone* is the secret police, just like the Stasi in East Germany.
posted by briank at 7:18 AM on December 4, 2001

drezdn - there was no willnot thing, and despite what you may have heard, there is no 9622. Remain calm. You will feel much better after the re-education.
posted by willnot at 7:34 AM on December 4, 2001

This makes me worried about some of the test posts for SS sniffing I made on another site.

posted by Neale at 9:13 AM on December 4, 2001

posted by Kafkaesque at 9:17 AM on December 4, 2001

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