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Tunisian Gov't Spies On Facebook; Does the US? 221

jfruhlinger writes "Tunisians logging into Facebook encountered extra JavaScript, probably a sign of their repressive government's attempt to spy on them. The question is: does the US government do the same thing, just more subtly? We're not talking about agents friending you on Facebook to get more information about you; we're talking monitoring your supposedly private information behind the scenes."
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Tunisian Gov't Spies On Facebook; Does the US?

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  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @10:38PM (#34843656)


    If it were private, your information wouldn't be on facebook in the first place.

    Have you been off planet for the last year or two?

  • echelon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cluthu ( 470987 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @10:39PM (#34843670)

    It should be assumed that any information you post on a system that doesn't belong to you (and even some that do...) is being peered at by someone that wants to put their nose where it doesn't belong.

    We used to live in a society where a comment like 'Oh, but why would they look at you if you're unimportant?' would have been valid, but with the ever-encroaching nemesis of data mining and algorithmic analysis making itself part of our daily lives you have to assume that, at any moment, every transaction you make is being scrutinized.

  • Heh, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @10:41PM (#34843696) Homepage Journal
    The Headline:

    Your Rights Online: Tunisian Gov't Spies On Facebook; Does the US?

    Silly submitter, the government doesn't spy on Facebook, the government uses Facebook to spy on you. Now that the typical Slashdot pedantry is outta the way, isn't the whole point of Facebook to spy on people anyway?

  • Does it matter? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gordguide ( 307383 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @10:45PM (#34843734)
    I'm not sure whether any Government, or perhaps every Government, is monitoring or "spying", if you will, on citizens and non-citizens alike. But I am sure that you are a fool if you think they cannot, or if not them, then someone. Aggregation of personal information is the real purpose of the internet, just because it took 20 years for everyone to figure that out doesn't make it any less real, or inevitable. Take care of what you post, and where, and assume it can all be on CNN tomorrow morning. it's that simple.
  • Come on.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by santax ( 1541065 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @11:06PM (#34843888)
    the US is the biggest spy in this age and has been for since wo2. Off course they fuck us. This question is truly naive. Hell, this one would be the one question that proofs that: 'there are no dumb questions' is just wrong. There are dumb questions. This is one.
  • by wizardforce ( 1005805 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @11:49PM (#34844180) Journal

    You give all of your private information to goohle if you use Gmail too but that doesn't mean that it's ok for the government to go fishing there either.

  • Tell that to... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @12:33AM (#34844498) Homepage Journal

    Tell that to the guy who has his cell phone rummaged through [] without a warrant. And tell it to the the guy who has a GPS tracker attached to his car [] without a warrant. Tell it to the guy who has his computer searched, with anything found being prosecutable [], whether it was what the warrant specified or not. Tell it to the people whose cars (and possibly even persons) have been subjected to airport "naked body" scanners from vans on the street [] without--you guessed it--a warrant. Tell it to the people whose Internet information is handed over [] to the government willy-nilly without any kind of warrant. Tell it to the guy whose cell phone signal is geo-located [] without a warrant. Tell it to 94 baseball players [] whose drug results that were obtained without a warrant.

    The list goes on and on. The Fourth Amendment is a joke today. I know it, the government knows it, and apparently you didn't get the memo. It's at the point where we need to pass a new amendment that basically says, "Goddammit, we mean it." Realistically, it's probably never going to change because too many people stupidly think that 1) if you're innocent you shouldn't have anything to hide, and 2) it could never happen to them.

  • The same thing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @12:54AM (#34844608) Journal

    Of course not. The US government isn't going to go through the trouble of having ISPs insert malicious Javascript, when they can just send a few agents over to Facebook (and/or the ISPs) and set up a tap sending all data directly to the NSA instead. A lot more reliable and less detectable by the victim.

  • by SuperCharlie ( 1068072 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @01:18AM (#34844742)
    I had a daydream a few weeks ago about ok..what would someone like ..ohh I dunno.. Nazi Germany do if they had the info that FB has.. then I looked at our govt lately and realized it was time to quit.
  • by SuperCharlie ( 1068072 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @03:24AM (#34845410)
    Its not the pic of my cat or that I had a great dinner... its the connection of the relationships that is worth having... Sure the big "They" monitor here and everywhere else..but not like that..
  • Re:Heh, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by w0mprat ( 1317953 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @03:28AM (#34845420)
    Facebook is a reverse-wikileaks. It's a way to leak personal information from the general public back to secretive corporate and governmental organisations. It's worked rather TOO well, they now have a detailed map of your every social interaction, private thought, what you read, watch and listen to on the web, and have a record of it going all the way back (have you tried to see how far youc an go back in your facebook history? All the way back to when you joined!).

    An entire record of your digital life, once you put all this out there, there's no getting it back. While it's probably not very available to governments now (merely advertisers can trawl this stuff to figure out how to sell you more shit) it's out there and it could fall into the hands of those who would do us harm, should laws change. You can bet in another awfully convenient 9/11 style terror attack the government rushes for more legislation to get access to this stuff real fast.
  • by mcvos ( 645701 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @05:03AM (#34845822)

    Could you explain how private messages on Facebook differ from email?

    The former are on Facebook, the latter aren't. That is a huge difference.

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @05:11AM (#34845844)

    Tunisia is a bit of an odd one.

    They encourage tourism (and they're doing pretty well at that - it's a lot more built up than it was ten years ago - though perhaps at the expense of their own culture. It's rapidly becoming the sort of place Brits who want sun and sea but don't want to be exposed to any foreign food or culture might go. Think Gran Canaria but not quite as bad yet), it's much more progressive than most arabic nations and the official line is essentially that they're dragging themselves out of the mud by their own bootstraps.

    Yet everywhere you go you see photos of a (now-dead) president, it's nominally democratic yet the same party wins every time with an 80something% majority and while the locals are generally very chatty, very friendly - if you ask what they think of their government they suddenly go very quiet. While hard information for outsiders is tricky to find (Wikipedia and the CIA world factbook simply say it's a democratic republic where the same government keeps getting in with a huge margin) I suspect it's a half-crazed banana republic with rather better PR.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller