Department of Homeland Security Continues ‘Disinformation Governance’
Reports on the demise of “disinformation governance” at the Department of Homeland Security are turning out to be disinformation. According to a lengthy investigation by the Intercept, although department leaders officially closed the Disinformation Government Board, their ambition to monitor and control speech is very much alive.
The department established the censorship board in April. It was met by a major outcry from Americans and others who opposed further government surveillance of and intervention in free speech. Within a month, the department “paused” the board, then closed it three months after that. This sent the message that department agents would not be expanding their roles as speech police. But that message is false. The Intercept reports, “Years of internal dhs memos, e-mails and documents … illustrate an expansive effort by the agency to influence tech platforms.”
Their own words: A draft of the department’s own Quadrennial Security Review states that the department plans to expand its powers of policing what it deems to be “inaccurate information” on a number of issues, including “the origins of the covid-19 pandemic and the efficacy of covid-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.”
Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov’t. It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain.
Matt Masterson, a Microsoft executive, sent this text to a dhs director. Masterson, it turns out, is actually a former dhs official.
Log in, blot out: Certain officials with government e-mail credentials are already accessing facebook.com/xtakedowns/login to target Facebook and Instagram posts for deletion or suppression.
With the war on terror receding, the dhs is one of several government agencies that have reassigned agents from countering foreign threats to policing the online speech of Americans.
- One example: Prior to the 2020 election, executives from Discord, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter, Verizon Media, Wikipedia held monthly meetings with government agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency and other agencies. nbc News reports that the initiative underlying those meetings is still ongoing.
Remember? Highly classified information publicized in 2013 by former Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that Apple, Google, Skype, Yahoo!, YouTube and other platforms were providing enormous amounts of communications from everyday Americans directly to government agents.