Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Delightful: DHS Now Looking to Spy On Its Own Employees

Amazing. Janet Napolitano's Department of Homeland Security doesn't want to keep tabs on illegal aliens, but does want to secretly monitor its own employees. Jacob Goodwin at Government Security News spotted an intriguing and bizarre RFP (Request for Proposal) from DHS this week.

Why would the Federal Protective Service want to spy on itself?

A recent solicitation issued by the Federal Protective Service unit of DHS for what it calls a 'Video Surveillance Rapid Deployment Kit' contained an intriguing requirement among its roster of technical specifications: 'Hidden internal camera and microphone that will allow a remote user to see and hear the operator of the system.'

That sounds as if a boss back at [DHS] wants to be able to watch and listen to the person actually carrying the video camera, without that camera person even knowing that he or she is being watched.


...[After we asked, here's] what Michael Keegan, chief of public affairs for the Federal Protective Service, told GSN on August 17... “Due to operational security and potential officer safety concerns we are not at liberty to go into the details of the system,” Keegan added, “but rest assured that the equipment will be employed for security and criminal investigative purposes within the parameters of the law.”

That certainly didn’t tell us very much.

...The statement of work that accompanies the solicitation, which was issued on August 16 by the FPS office in Kansas City, MO, explains that the system ought to be transportable by one person and be able to “monitor critical assets and remote locations,” both indoors and outdoors... "The surveillance camera software should be navigated by a 17-inch touch-screen monitor accompanied by a special industrial-grade back-lit keyboard for nighttime surveillance operations..."

Plus, approved users should be able to log-in to the wireless camera system, with their cell phone, laptop or compatible wireless device, to look at live feeds or previously-shot video stored on the system’s DVR.

The Federal Protective Service provided five pages of detailed technical specifications for the preferred DVR and surveillance cameras, but never got around to answering a fundamental question: What is the central mission for this rapidly deployable system?

What indeed?

Don't look for the ACLU to generate the same level of outrage over this sort of Orwellian activity as it once raised for the Bush administration's wire-tapping of terrorists.

And I wonder what the public sector unions think of this sort of monitoring activity? Fully supportive, no doubt.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, but Islamists are infiltrating into virtually every government agency, precisely for the purposes of taking over the country. I'd watch them too.

directorblue said...

Well, before we spend millions on this James Bond crap, could we build a border fence?


Lawyer Mom said...

Frankly, I wouldn't mind it if she spied on the TSA. The TSA, you know, that conveniently erase the tape after a passenger has complained of umm, "over-wanding" and such.