Simply using a word or phrase from the DHS's 'watch' list could mean that spies from the government read your posts, investigate your account, and attempt to identify you from it, according to an online privacy group.
The words which attract attention range from ones seemingly related to diseases or bioweapons such as 'human to animal' and 'outbreak' to other, more obscure words such as 'drill' and 'strain'. The DHS also watches for words such as 'illegal immigrant'. When its search tools net an account using the phrases, they record personal information. It's still not clear how this information is used - and who the DHS shares it with.
'The initiatives were designed to gather information from 'online forums, blogs, public websites, and message boards,' to store and analyze the information gathered, and then to 'disseminate relevant and appropriate de-identified information to federal, state, local, and foreign governments and private sector partners,' the group said in a court filing.