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EFF Wants To Know If the Feds Are Cyberstalking 135

rossendryv writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation and UC Berkeley's Samuelson Center filed suit in California's Northern District, asking the court to force a number of government agencies to hand over any documents they have concerning the use of social networking sites as part of investigative procedures."
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EFF Wants To Know If the Feds Are Cyberstalking

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  • by zmaragdus ( 1686342 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @08:25PM (#30305744)

    Many companies also perform such searches whilst screening potential employees. They often get junior (junior as in position, not necessarily age) employees to befriend said candidates in order to dig up any "dirt" they can on you. (Hence a warning to those of you looking for a job: beware what you post online.) The feds would be foolish not to do so as well.

  • This isn't a problem (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rmushkatblat ( 1690080 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @08:30PM (#30305826)
    If you read TFA, you'll notice that in general the EFF doesn't have a problem with these types of practices. It's just FOI requests are getting stalled/ignored.
  • by Hybrid-brain ( 1478551 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @08:38PM (#30305884)
    I imagine that they might want to be keeping an eye out as well for those who might be involved in trying to lure underage children as well.
  • by Onthax ( 1322089 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @08:41PM (#30305906)
    But dont i have a resonable expectation of privacy for my facebook it is not publicly searchable, only certain people on my friends list (Access Control List) can see the information i share this would make it more like an email communication medium, not a public information source?
  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @08:53PM (#30306032)

    Perhaps now they will receive a first hand lesson in why some of us consciously refuse to participate in social networking sites.

    I understand, some people don't liked to be watched (even though they have posted the info on the Intertubes for anyone to see). But I don't particularly care. I'm a bleeding heart liberal, and have been associated with many fringe Web sites by virtue of the comments section or forums. On the other hand, I've done nothing illegal, and as a DoD employee, have held a security clearence for over 20 years. Got nuthin' to hide, don't really care if the Three Letter Agencies read my Facebook.

  • Let's Go Fishing! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @08:55PM (#30306058)

    One of the key features of social networking is that you display certain types of data to the world or to user-defined groups. You do this at your own risk and you are either expressly or implicitly consenting to the display of the data to your selected viewers. The article was fairly vague on what exactly the EFF is after. Smells too much like a fishing expedition unless there is something they know or strongly suspect that we don't.

    What would be more interesting is if either: (a) the feds were circumventing security controls and monitoring communication through social networks (especially without warrants), or (b) feds had standing "agreements" with the social networking companies which gives them access to data that would otherwise be private.

    Other than that, I find the possibility that the feds are reading my anonymous /. comments unremarkable.

  • by NoYob ( 1630681 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @09:14PM (#30306224)
    If you go for a security clearance, they search all you social networking pages and everyone who you are "friends" with. It's a real pain for them but they have to do it.

    So, if you have a friend on Facebook who had to get security clearance, you were investigated.

  • Re:prove it! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Urza9814 ( 883915 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @10:30PM (#30306780)

    Yea, I know exactly what case you're talking about. Got an email from SSDP about it.

    But really that case was just a problem of the kid being stupid. Yes, the cops picked him up for a picture, but the kid then admitted to underage drinking. He didn't even try to fight it. I mean if he had tried to fight it and still gotten charged, then there would be a problem. But if you're a 19 year old kid walking down the street with a bottle in a paper bag and a cop stops you and says 'is that alcohol?' and you say 'yes'....Or if you pull over someone driving the same make and model as a car recently reported stolen, and you ask them if it's stolen and they say yes...well, it's hard to say the cop did anything wrong. And you can hardly call the arrest unreasonable (and therefore a violation of the 4th amendment) when the kid was holding a beer can. If it was a red solo cup or something, sure. But it was a beer can. It was a container that specifically stated that it contained alcohol.

    Of course if you want to question police officers posing as attractive young females (as they did in this case)...then yea, you could make a case for that. But then again, they go undercover all the time, and this isn't really any different.

  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @10:45PM (#30306854)

    If you get an aggressive investigator...

    Already had some of those. They are more interested in my step brother and sisters from Etheopia, and whether I've visited any of several countries. But it really doesn't matter. There are reasons they can dink with my clearance, and reasons they can't. It's not up to the particular investigator's personal views, nor some nebulous undefined rule set. I'm quite sure that they are well able to connect my Slashdot profile with a real name... I undergo one of these mini-inquisitions every two years, and my views are not inconsistent with Democracy. Apparently, they consider me a "patriot", whatever that is... I am not paranoid.

  • by icannotthinkofaname ( 1480543 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:10AM (#30307910) Journal

    For example, didn't some group release a quiz that revealed that it not only had access to your complete profile, but the profiles of your friends?

    That was a while ago, wasn't it? I don't do apps/quizzes/etc that often, but IIRC, such things explicitly warn you in a dialog that you must confirm that it will pull info from your profile and from your friends. My guess would be that it's using the permissions of your account, since your account is the one that explicitly allowed the information-ripping. Because you can see all of your own profile and all of your friends' profiles, it makes sense that the quiz would have all that info, too.

    And what about that Manulife case where an insurance recipient was denied after posting pics to their "private" profile?

    Oh yeah. I forget, how did those pics come to light? Did one of her fb friends send something in? Or did someone abuse higher privileges to access such info? Again, if it was one of those applications, permission was granted to access this stuff. But if Manulife got escalated privileges somehow (that is, greater than the privs you or I generally have on fb) and artificially bypassed the privacy settings, then at the very least, it's a case of extremely unethical admin abuse.

    Likewise, if the FBI worms their way into my friend list or I take one of their quizzes, and they get the info they want, then I explicitly allowed it. But if the FBI is not part of a group to which I gave explicit permission to view my profile, then I expect that my profile is safe from their eyes, barring an appropriately-issued warrant.

    "Private" means zip. It may imply that only your friends can see stuff in your profile, but it's effectively public.

    You're implying that facebook's privacy settings don't work as they are described. In that case, we may want to think about filing a class action against the organization for blatantly lying about the security details of our data and defrauding users into posting information publicly that they expected would be private.

  • Re:oblig (Score:3, Interesting)

    by KGIII ( 973947 ) * <> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:43AM (#30308028) Journal

    Not to doubt nor to detract but what is, online, private space? Do you consider it private if the profile is marked private?

  • Re:oblig (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jurily ( 900488 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <yliruj>> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @03:33AM (#30308204)

    Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean the feds aren't following you on facebook/twitter...

    I know for a fact that the Hungarian authorities have a "shadow" version of (the largest social networking site in .hu, with almost 3M members in a 10M country), where they connect your friends to you by hand. What makes anyone think other governments don't?

    All it takes is one bored employee with a spare server, and they'll never let go of the idea.

  • by jonaskoelker ( 922170 ) <jonaskoelker&yahoo,com> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:26AM (#30308798)

    If more than one person shares a secret, it is no longer a secret.

    Adi Shamir would disagree: []

    (Yes, I'm a crypto geek. Yes, you meant something different.)

  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:56AM (#30308900)
    They are. They're just not allowed to entice you into breaking the law in order to arrest you.

    All those lines of "I'm not a cop!" in the movies are for the benefit of idiots who think that by saying they're not police officers that they can admit / do anything in their presence. Bear in mind that citizens have powers of arrest, too.

    They should properly identify themselves at the time of arrest, though. All police officers carry identification.

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.