‘Rogue’ Commerce unit scanned social media for Census disinformation

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

A security unit within the US Commerce Department monitored Americans’ Twitter accounts for posts critical of the US Census and conducted unauthorized surveillance to gather information about US citizens and foreign visitors, according to a fact sheet released Monday by the ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

The Washington Post first reported on the existence of the unit, which is called the Investigations and Threat Management Service (ITMS). According to the fact sheet, ITMS had its operations suspended as of May 14th, after an investigation launched in February by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) showed that the service had conducted “a variety of improper activities dating back to the…

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