Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

Fed Uses Google Alerts; Society Crumbles

This is some of the shrillest hyperbole I’ve read in quite some time. No great surprise, then, it’s about the federal reserve board.

“The [proposed government program] must provide real-time monitoring of relevant conversations. It should provide sentiment analysis (positive, negative or neutral) around key conversational topics.” Why do they need to perform “sentiment analysis”? If someone is identified as being overly “negative” about the Fed, what will they do about it? “The [program] should provide an alerting mechanism that automatically sends out reports or notifications based a predefined trigger.” This sounds very much like the kind of “keyword” intelligence gathering systems that are currently in use by major governments around the globe. Very, very creepy stuff. Are you disturbed yet?

Yes. Clearly, when the Federal Reserve wants to know what conversations people are having about its policies and actions, the only logical conclusion to reach is that we have entered the Orwellian police state.

That, or the government, as part of its continuing effort to be more open, transparent, and responsive, has been using tools to participate in existing social networks for years. I mean, come on. What kind of purpose is served by getting all hysterical about things like this? Folks who work for the government are allowed to read your blog, too. They might even want to have a conversation with you.

If that’s some doubleunplusgood thoughtcrime, you might want to consider cutting back on your daily intake of caffeine.