More Legislature, Entities Aimed at Bloggers and Citizen Journalists

Under the National Operation Center’s Media Monitoring Initiative (MMI), the Department of Homeland Security now has the right to track personal identifiable information (PII) of:

Journalists, news anchors, reporters or anyone who uses ‘traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.

The PDF from DHS lays out instances when the government can access PII:

1) U.S. and foreign individuals in extreme situations involving potential life or death circumstances; 2) senior U.S. and foreign government officials who make public statements or provide public updates; 3) U.S. and foreign government spokespersons who make public statements or provide public updates; 4) U.S. and foreign private sector officials and spokespersons who make public statements or provide public updates; 5) names of anchors, newscasters, or on-scene reporters who are known or identified as reporters in their post or article or who use traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed; 6) current and former public officials who are victims of incidents or activities related to Homeland Security; and 7) terrorists, drug cartel leaders, or other persons known to have been involved in major crimes of Homeland Security interest.

As if this wasn’t enough, the United States government can (and has been since 2010) share any information it obtains through MMI with the private sector and other third-party entities. In an article form RT.com, they reported:

The website Fast Company reports that the intel collected by the Department of Homeland Security under the NOC Monitoring Initiative has been happening since as early as 2010 and the data is being shared with both private sector businesses and international third parties.

But don’t worry, the government says it will only seize information that was made available for the public—That’s who this new initiative is aimed at. The MMI wants to closely watch persons or entities that make “public statements.”
But this is not what we’re worried about. We’re worried about the government’s right to obtain private information through the information we make publicly available.

This however causes one to wonder, especially with the recent attacks we’ve seen from the state and police on citizen and traditional journalists alike, why has there been so much legislation aimed at the citizen journalist and blogger? The recent wave of attacks from the state (and corporations. Just look at who supports SOPA) has caught the attention of journalist organizations around the U.S.

Additionally, AP’s NewsRight just launched. This is a news registry and licensing service whose intent is to keep track of articles written by its members (Hearst Newspapers, AP and the New York Times). They feel as though this is a good way to maintain the integrity of the news and make sure the resources put into each story are properly returned through well… money. It makes sense because the news industry is being strained and they need a way to bring in revenue before the profession falls any further.

But where NewsRight is wrong is in thinking that the biggest reason they’re falling behind is because of pirating and news aggregation. Yes, this is a concern, but the real reason why traditional media is failing is because they haven’t embraced the Internet, their reporting is subpar and they are beholden to corporate interests.

I don’t trust this new move by AP because I am a blogger and this will make my job much more difficult. And it will potentially eliminate my hobby and some people’s livelihood. The Associated Press is also known to have a certain antagonism towards Internet journalism. For one AP, tried suing Google, but was unsuccessful. Google and AP made a deal in which the details remain unknown to the public.

Furthermore, the new entity is headed by former ABC News head David Westin who I might add is a lawyer. I’m not feeling NewsRight—Not even a little bit.

So anyone who uses the originally written article without the permission of NewsRight will have to pay a fee for aggregating. If they don’t comply, the aggregator may face charges. If SOPA doesn’t pass, I’m sure this will have a big enough effect on the future of real news coverage.

Well, here’s hoping for a company that protects bloggers from the use of their content without proper attribution by traditional media outlets.

It’s obvious what is going on. The traditional media which is now owned and controlled by government and corporate interests are scared of the power that has been given to the average citizen. The Internet is helping to start revolutions and people are now able to find the truth without it being mediated by the government.

Game on.

*I want to thank Joe Newby of the Spokane Conservative Examiner and RT.com for breaking this story and enlightening me (and you) with information critical to the livelihood of citizen and traditional journalists.

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