Blogs, short for "web logs", are personal online internet journals.
According to Doug Tsuruoka, writing April 27, 2004, in Business Investors Daily -- "Blog-Tracking May Gain Ground Among U.S. Intelligence Officials" -- "People in black trench coats might soon be chasing blogs."
Because some blogs contain commentary and news items, they may be on the "cutting edge in delivering information and opinion." And, as "a result, some analysts say U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials might be starting to track blogs for important bits of information. This interest is a sign of how far Web media such as blogs have come in reshaping the data-collection habits of intelligence professionals and others, even with the knowledge that the accuracy of what's reported in some blogs is questionable." 
Tsuruoka says that, "While blog postings are voluntary and available to anyone to read, some observers say blog monitoring by governments or the media raises civil liberties and privacy issues. One such critic is James Love, director of the Ralph Nader-affiliated Consumer Project on Technology. 
"'When you're conducting surveillance where you have no expectation of illegal activity, there has to be some threshold to justify such surveillance,' Love said." 
"Some point to other dangers in using blogs for intelligence or news. Blogs can be used to spread lies or disinformation. ... It's hard to fact check a blog account of an event in a remote area like Mongolia. Plus, many bloggers don't use their real names. Confirming identities can be hard," Tsuruoka writes. 
Tim Witcher, "the former Seoul, Korea, bureau chief for Agence France-Presse, a news service [says that] 'A blog only becomes news when we can be 100% sure that it's true.'" 
Resources and articles
Related SourceWatch articles
- astroturf blogging
- blog trolling
- bloggers (list)
- Iraqi Blogger Technical Support
- public relations blogs (list)
- Ron Steinman, "Babble," Digital Journal, June 2004. Steinman, a respected photojournalist, inveighs against blogs as "a growing and disturbing movement in the media for a new freedom. ... Journalism-centered information no longer is good enough in this so-called democratic form of dispensing the news. ... Freedom is the most positive possession we have in this country. We should not squander it for the sake of being able to write what we please, as long as please, as much as we please."