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Big Brother IS Watching Social Media

And I don’t mean through the peep hole. The Department of Homeland Security’s US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) even has a report on it! With its catchy title “Social Networking Sites and Their Importance to FDNS” (Office of the Fraud Detection and National Security) security agents with the FDNS are instructed how to use social media networks for surveillance purposes.

It identifies that social networking site as an “excellent vantage point for FDNS to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioners who are suspected of fraudulent activities”. The report goes on to explain how to use some popular social networking sites.

The use of these social sites for surveillance purposes raises concerns about privacy and presumes that any information posted to a social site is true and accurate. The report even comments that a user’s profiles “may contain whatever information the user decides to publish online”. How can a government agency use this information for surveillance purposes when their own documents caution that “the user may change or manipulate information on his profile at any time”?

Their angle is, once a user posts a tweet, update or link online, they create an online presence that can be monitored. From here USCIS can see who their friends are, contacts, interests and see if deceptive monikers are surfacing.

Some think that it is not unusual for security and law enforcement agents to spy online. The Associated Press reported earlier this year that some law enforcement agents go undercover “with false online profiles to communicate with suspects and gather private information”.

Some accept this as part of a ‘PI’s tools for the twenty first century and some think if you’re not doing anything wrong who cares who’s watching! What do you think?

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One Reply

  1. Well being honest I’m not surprised in the last. With the recent downloading laws here in the UK, I’m still amazed at the amount of people who let the world know what they’re downloading and from where. Very easy for Big Brother to monitor this and catch people out.

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