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135 comments

Uh oh (2, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30305542)

I just poked Osama Bin Laden on his wall.

Why would that be wrong for the feds to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30305626)

Everyone here does it to their high school girlfriends. Let me correct that - HS crushes who they never spoke to even once!

oblig (5, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30305802)

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

Re:oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30307272)

"you're only paranoid if you're wrong" -mac

Re:oblig (4, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307304)

Me and 350M others. They can watch all they want. Add in twitter, myspace, linked-in, and every other gawdforsaken social network. Hey, we do it-- why not them? When they start poking into private space, and none of the aforementioned have a reasonable expectation of privacy as they're public places, then I'll get testy. Until then, I hope they don't waste too much taxpayer money on it.

Re:oblig (2, Interesting)

KGIII (973947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308028)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30308490)

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

I'm just pissed that the feds get better access than I do. Damn, that girl is hot. I just want to see a few pics, damn it.

Re:oblig (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308874)

"Online" and "private" are mutually exclusive. There is no reference to "online private space", only "private space" in the parent post. The implication is that "private space" is offline.

Re:oblig (2, Interesting)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 iwiw.hu (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.

Re:Why would that be wrong for the feds to do? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30307740)

There's something very satisfying about looking up a girl who was totally hot and completely ignored you in high school, to see that she's divorced and fat.

Re:Why would that be wrong for the feds to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309310)

Wurd up!!!

Mafia wars (4, Funny)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 4 years ago | (#30305640)

"The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York has announced a RICO case has been filed against all players of the game Mafia Wars. It is clear that these are hardened criminals who not only kill without remorse, but share their results on social networking sites. The US Attorney's Office thanks the social networking site Facebook for their cooperation in bringing these mobsters to justice."

Re:Mafia wars (2, Insightful)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30305908)

While he's at it he should sue Zynga for gross criminal negligence and crimes against programming!

Re:Mafia wars (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308186)

Is Mafia Wars one of those annoying applications that comes up every five seconds if you know more than three morons?

I started running FB Purity [bit.ly] * and now I don't get to see all those games and things any more.

*Requires Greasemonkey
I'm not affiliated with Greasemonkey or FB Purity

Peekaboo! (1, Funny)

Montezumaa (1674080) | more than 4 years ago | (#30305642)

Re:Peekaboo! (2, Insightful)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307172)

Out of idle curiosity, is it safe to click that link, or will doing so get the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc following me? I'd just like to know so that when the feds show up I'll know what to say.

Re:Peekaboo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30307566)

As an armchair conspiracy theorist...

I would say that facebook page is slowly going down in history and it would be pretty asinine if those groups did not know it existed. But who knows right?

If I had worked at one of those agencies and seen it I'd probably make a facebook page and add him to my friends for shits and giggles. See if he wants to be my friend. That and shit. You never know it really could be the sonovabitch. Then again it's difficult to qualify how much information is moving around on the Internet.

The Internet is kind of a crazy thing. A facebook page might not warrant a whole lot of investigation.

Why wouldn't they? (4, Insightful)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#30305674)

Why wouldn't the feds do this? It would be irresponsible of them to *NOT* look at social networking sites for illegal activities. I'm not saying that there's a treasure trove of information there, but come on, this isn't private data we're talking about here. If the FBI or CIA ir CSIS or NSA or ABC is looking for info on me, they should at the very least be putting "Beardo the Bearded" into Google and following the links.

If someone is putting things up in public for anyone to see then I can't see any problems with a government agency looking over these records. I'm all for privacy, but once you put it up in public, good luck, Mrs. Streisand.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (4, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30305738)

I completely agree with this. I see this as no different from "the Feds" looking at your webpage to see what you post there, or your "personal" blog.

If you want to put personal information on the web for "the public" to see, I don't see how you think "the Feds" can't look at it ... just like everyone else.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (5, Insightful)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306972)

I see this as no different from "the Feds" looking at your webpage to see what you post there, or your "personal" blog.

You're joking, right? I'm pretty sure it's very different, if I set facebook to let only my friends see my stuff. I never saw a friend request from the FBI, so why should they be allowed to probe my facebook stuff? That seems like a digital analogue to the feds just storming someone's house without first getting the owner's permission to enter the home.

In other words, they better have a darn good reason and a written warrant with that reason if they want to see my facebook without first being my facebook friend.

If you want to put personal information on the web for "the public" to see, I don't see how you think "the Feds" can't look at it ... just like everyone else.

And if I set up my settings such that only certain people have explicit permission to view such information, then it ain't exactly "for the public to see", is it?

Re:Why wouldn't they? (5, Insightful)

some_guy_88 (1306769) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307204)

Why is this modded troll? He has a good point. The difference between your public webpage and your facebook page is that only your friends are meant to be able to see your facebook page whereas your webpage is on the public web for anyone.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (3, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307434)

True. Now we have the question about "friends."

I submit a request to be your Facebook friend as "CuteBlonde362436" and you accept, thinking that I might be a cute blonde with measurements 36-24-36. At this point, I have access to your information including the fact that you like to molest small woodland creatures. Of course, I'm neither cute, blonde, nor do I have those measurements. However, I am part of an FBI task force charged with protecting small woodland creatures from molestation and the reason I approached you on Facebook is due to an anonymous tip that said you were into that sort of thing.

I now have all the evidence I need to have you locked up for a very long time.

Entrapment?

Re:Why wouldn't they? (3, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307544)

I submit a request to be your Facebook friend as "CuteBlonde362436" and you accept, thinking that I might be a cute blonde with measurements 36-24-36. At this point, I have access to your information including the fact that you like to molest small woodland creatures. Of course, I'm neither cute, blonde, nor do I have those measurements. However, I am part of an FBI task force charged with protecting small woodland creatures from molestation and the reason I approached you on Facebook is due to an anonymous tip that said you were into that sort of thing. I now have all the evidence I need to have you locked up for a very long time. Entrapment?

No. Entrapment would be if "CuteBlonde362436"* _enticed_ him to molest small woodland creatures and then arrested him for such. BTW, the government is probably everyone's friend on facebook. Private fraud investigators apparently are. * (who would be a disabled account anyway, since fake names aren't allowed)

Re:Why wouldn't they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30308528)

... since fake names aren't allowed)

Uh, what? I have like 2 dozen fake names on FB.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309454)

... since fake names aren't allowed)

Uh, what? I have like 2 dozen fake names on FB.

No one said there weren't fake names on FB, nor that it was impossible to do.
He said they are not allowed.

You having two dozen fake accounts in no way counters the fact you are not allowed to do so :P

Re:Why wouldn't they? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30308388)

Entrapment?

Beats me, but you are in clear violation of the Facebook terms of service you signed. I hope they kick your account.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (1)

DeeVeeAnt (1002953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308680)

Are you suggesting that there is something wrong with molesting small woodland creatures? But they look so cute, I just can't help myself. And they like it too. Especially that Mr.Fox

Re:Why wouldn't they? (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308714)

Cops aren't allowed to lie about their identity, are they ?

Re:Why wouldn't they? (3, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (5, Funny)

Paradigma11 (645246) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308920)

True. Now we have the question about "friends."

I submit a request to be your Facebook friend as "CuteBlonde362436" and you accept, thinking that I might be a cute blonde with measurements 36-24-36. At this point, I have access to your information including the fact that you like to molest small woodland creatures. Of course, I'm neither cute, blonde, nor do I have those measurements. However, I am part of an FBI task force charged with protecting small woodland creatures from molestation and the reason I approached you on Facebook is due to an anonymous tip that said you were into that sort of thing.

I now have all the evidence I need to have you locked up for a very long time.

Entrapment?

Why would he want a cute blond when he is into small woodland creatures :)

Re:Why wouldn't they? (1)

Thoughts from Englan (1212556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309684)

True. Now we have the question about "friends."

I submit a request to be your Facebook friend as "CuteBlonde362436" and you accept, thinking that I might be a cute blonde with measurements 36-24-36. At this point, I have access to your information including the fact that you like to molest small woodland creatures. Of course, I'm neither cute, blonde, nor do I have those measurements. However, I am part of an FBI task force charged with protecting small woodland creatures from molestation and the reason I approached you on Facebook is due to an anonymous tip that said you were into that sort of thing.

I now have all the evidence I need to have you locked up for a very long time.

Entrapment?

Why would he want a cute blond when he is into small woodland creatures :)

That's a typo - it was supposed to be "CuteBlondeSquirrel362436"

Re:Why wouldn't they? (4, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307776)

You're joking, right? I'm pretty sure it's very different, if I set facebook to let only my friends see my stuff. I never saw a friend request from the FBI, so why should they be allowed to probe my facebook stuff? That seems like a digital analogue to the feds just storming someone's house without first getting the owner's permission to enter the home.

In other words, they better have a darn good reason and a written warrant with that reason if they want to see my facebook without first being my facebook friend.

On any site, even if it's marked "private", once it's posted, it's public. Those privacy settings are probably a lot shallower than you think, and "friends only" can include a lot more. 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?

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

Truth is, your profile may be marked as private, but it may be more public than you expect. All it would take is someone finding a vulnerability in facebook that unlocks private pfofiles. Or just do a quiz or app that one of your friends do that'll scrape your profile. Or maybe one of your friends is a friend of the FBI and is re-posting your pics?

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

Re:Why wouldn't they? (2, Interesting)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307910)

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:Why wouldn't they? (3, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307196)

If you want to put personal information on the web for "the public" to see, I don't see how you think "the Feds" can't look at it ... just like everyone else.

Well, if you use a name that isn't yours on a web site, you can be prosecuted for hacking (see the case of the woman that got a myspace account just to harrass a child into suicide), so if the feds access your account without friending you under the name "FBI_Narc21" then they broke hacking laws, right? Shouldn't they have to follow the laws everyone else does? If not, they need a warrant.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30305740)

I had a facebook account, but I regained my privacy by killing everyone on my friends list, the closing the account.
Shit was so cash.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (5, Interesting)

zmaragdus (1686342) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (2, Informative)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30305836)

Hence a warning to those of you looking for a job: beware what you post online

Or in newspapers, magazines, bridges, overpasses...

I would have thought this would be common-sense. If you want to keep something private, don't tell everyone about it :)

Re:Why wouldn't they? (2, Interesting)

Hybrid-brain (1478551) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (2, Informative)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306070)

If you want to keep something private, don't tell ANYone about it

Emphasised that for you ;^)

Re:Why wouldn't they? (3, Interesting)

Onthax (1322089) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:Why wouldn't they? (2, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30305952)

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?

It may not be publicly searchable but I do not think that alone guarantees you it will remain private. If it is requested in certain ways it will be revealed.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (4, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307016)

If the feds want to know about you, they can talk to your friends, and ask questions. They can talk to your business associates, and ask question. They can question your mom, dad, sisters, cousins, etc. If they get enough trash on you, they can get a warrant to search your house, your car, your home, computer, and your person. If they think your friends or family has good dirty evidence, they can get warrants to search THEIR homes, cars, persons.

So. Given all of that - just exactly how much privacy is expected with an online social networking thing? Far less privacy than your home, for which a warrant is required before searching it. Maybe - just maybe - a little more privacy than a conversation with a job associate, for which no warrant is required before talking to him. Considerably less privacy than a conversation with your spouse, for which no warrant is required before speaking to him/her.

I really do think that SOME DEGREE of privacy is appropriate for Facebook, etc. But, the question is, "How private should Facebook be?"

Obviously, those pages that are publicly accessible to any bot, any viewer, are most definitely NOT private. If you've set your page so that it is publicly viewable, by all means, any law enforcement agent in the world can look at it, and use the data. But, if you set all your pages with maximum privacy and security, then maybe the cop should be required to get a warrant before gaining access.

I can't really decide where a social networking account sits in the scale of privacy. I can't agree that they should all be off-limits to the law, nor can I agree that the law should be able to peruse everything ever put onto any page either. Much depends on those privacy and security settings.

Bottom line, though - if you have something that you DO NOT want the law to find out about you, DO NOT put it online!! Don't tell your job associate, don't tell your best friend, don't tell your drinking buddy, don't tell the busybody across the street, and DON'T PUT IT ONLINE!!! If more than one person shares a secret, it is no longer a secret.

They have to. Security Clearance. (4, Interesting)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:They have to. Security Clearance. (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306592)

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

And my ~1.7 million slashdot buddies, too?

Re:Why wouldn't they? (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306270)

Anyone who thinks that any law enforcement agency will hand over any information at all concerning ongoing investigations is living on Fantasy Island. Even letting criminals know that an investigation of them is not in progress is not going to happen. In other words courts may do as they may but this law suit has severe limitations.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (2, Insightful)

number11 (129686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308092)

Anyone who thinks that any law enforcement agency will hand over any information at all concerning ongoing investigations is living on Fantasy Island.

This is true. Likewise anyone who thinks that any law enforcement agency can be counted on to obey the law.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (1)

Dumnezeu (1673634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306516)

Bullshit! They're just using this as an excuse to have a permanent Internet connection so they can play WoW.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (4, Insightful)

Eil (82413) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306526)

Well, there is still a problem. I can't speak for any of the other social networking sites, but Facebook in particular puts fairly strong emphasis on the concept of publishing information publicly (viewable by anyone) versus publishing information privately (viewable only by "friends", ostensibly). 90% of their users don't grok the concept that putting anything online at all by definition means that the information they post is now beyond their control. Sure, their terms of service say that they can do this but the public has been trained by corporations to not take such contracts seriously, let alone read them.

Sites like Facebook should not be allowed to use the word "private," because their definition of the word actually means, "viewable by your friends, every Facebook employee, law enforcement and investigative agencies, and other undisclosed entities that we sell, lease, or give your information to."

I'm not saying Facebook is doing anything illegal or underhanded, nor am I saying that users shouldn't be bound to the contracts that they agree to no matter how small the print. Just that Facebook and most other online services are seriously misrepresenting their use of the word "private."

Re:Why wouldn't they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30308138)

There is a key difference between viewing information in a public forum and using that information towards a purpose (eg, possible criminal investigation). There is precedent for this view rooted in SCOTUS rulings. One's 4th Amendment and 5th Amendment rights are not violated if evidenced obtained from violating them is not used against. Eg, if police illegally search some portion of your house while executing a lawful search warrant, but what they seize during the unlawful portion of their search is not admitted into evidence, then your 4th Amendment rights were not violated, even though police did search a portion of your house unlawfully. For one's rights to be violated, one must have suffer from a violation.

Social networking sites are "public" unless privately restricted but I believe that people who use them have a right to expect that information they share through it will not be logged and used to their detriment. People have the right to expect that other users are using the site for its intended purpose: to socialize in a digital environment, not to stalk, log, or gather information to use against others.

I believe that the government should not surveil anyone and everyone just fishing for anything remotely, well, fishy. I believe the government has to have a reasonable basis of some sort to investigate someone. Surveillance of "the cloud" should have to follow the same protocol as any other surveillance efforts. Quite honestly, I want my government to resemble China's government in as few ways as possible. Fishing on social networking sites is just too similar to what a repressive regime would do for my tastes.

Now, law enforcement officials obtaining warrants for surveillance and including in these warrants requests to monitor suspects online actions is something very different. I view that as routine police work. Law enforcement should definitely be able to go through normal warrant channels to be able to view or collect any information about a suspect or person of interest through observation of online actions.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309564)

I tend to agree with you here, trying to imagine being a gov. operative, you use everything you can to catch the bad guy.
If we need to know who is a terrorist, and we know all the cell's current operatives have a facebook account and are all linked, they can send messages, images etc. quickly through facebook without detection.

This is like better then regular email, or even hotmail, as any friend can pop up and poke you or leave you a message to let them join as friend, and within that message could be the next attack vector. See, no friends yet totally communicated what I needed to central station.

I may have an active imagination but I do know that operatives (good or bad) are smarter then me,
and quicker, so if I can think of this, think what they come up with.

More about data retention and usage policies... (4, Informative)

Ransak (548582) | more than 4 years ago | (#30305790)

The summary is misleading. The suit is more about what the Feds are doing with that data and the policies surrounding it, not that the Feds are using social networking sites for investigations.

This isn't a problem (2, Interesting)

rmushkatblat (1690080) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (4, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30305914)

Are the Feds watching Facebook and other social networking sites? Did the STASI [wikipedia.org] keep tabs on East German citizens? I find it amusing to see people, especially those who are naïve about the way the world works, shocked that intelligence agencies might actually monitor information which they so graciously posted for all the world to see (gasp). Perhaps now they will receive a first hand lesson in why some of us consciously refuse to participate in social networking sites.

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (2, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (2, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306668)

On the other hand, I've done nothing illegal, and as a DoD employee, have held a security clearence for over 20 years.

Few things there:

1) If you get an aggressive investigator, he could make it unpleasant for you on your next re-investigation if you're foolish enough to tie your fringe group views tied to your actual identity. Assuming your Daddy's family name wasn't "Piss", I'll guess you're OK there.

2) Their level of interest of you depends on the clearance level. For instance, my cell carrier probably put more effort into checking my background than the gov puts into a DoD secret, for instance.

3) DoD is, I think, less concerned about such things than their brethren. Not sure why exactly.

4) I'd care a lot more about my employer finding my profile than the gummint. Nobody really interesting in the gummint is legally allowed to collect against you, and the ones that are allowed generally refuse to work with the ones that don't.

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (4, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Well what people forget, or don't understand (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307264)

Is that when the government considers someone for security clearance they are NOT interested in most of your life. They really don't care about who you are, what you believe and so on... Except as it applies to your likelihood to divulge classified information. So they don't care if you are gay, really doesn't matter to them. They'd only care if you are gay, but in the closet, and deeply afraid of being outed. Then perhaps someone could use it to coerce you in to divulging classified information. Likewise they don't care what your politics are... Unless those politics are such that you are likely to betray the government to a foreign government that you think has the "right" politics.

That's really all they are after in their SSBI. They want to make sure you are who you say you are, and that you don't have any reason to hand over the information you'll have access to. So while the questions are very personal in nature, they are not as some assume trying to filter for the politically right kind of person. They are just trying to see if you can likely be trusted. That would be why they check your credit history. Might not seem relevant but money problems are a prime reason for committing treason so they want to see if you have money problems.

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (3, Funny)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307010)

DoD, DIA ect are the areas of the US gov that actually *work*.
They stand on buildings around anti war protesters and film everything they can zoom in on.
They record all car plates in the area too.
If your too bright, articulate, photogenic or charming, they can always stick a cute 20 something on you with more 'direct ideas'.
Your group will then waste years doing useless busy work or be on domestic terrorism charges.
They then just drift back into the protest movements.
Every so often you get a peek of low level police work.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/08/23/police-montebello.html [www.cbc.ca]
... "one reason protesters knew the men's true identities was because they were wearing the same boots as other police officers."

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306840)

You will when they use your facebook profile to seed a brute force of that encrypted porno collection in your home directory.

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (2, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306870)

All of my tentical porn involves females over 18. I guess they could Photoshop me into some of those "sticky" situations...

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (3, Insightful)

r7 (409657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306886)

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

If you care more about yourself than the greater good then you are, by definition, not a liberal, bleeding heart or otherwise.

With regards to the greater good, the reason citizens place limits on government investigation is because those investigative powers have been so frequently abused. Richard Nixon's Watergate, Joseph McCarthy's inquisitions and media blacklists, network television firing of the most popular entertainers (Smother's Brothers) for speaking out against Vietnam... the list is a long one, and anyone who does not care is either ignorant, liberatarian, or an anarchist.

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307318)

liberatarian, or an anarchist.

Excuse me, but wouldn't libertarians (who by definition claim individual liberty as the highest ideal) and anarchists (who believe in no government whatsoever) be among the last people to argue for more government power over individuals? Do not confuse the libertarians with the neoconservatives, as some here on Slashdot have been known to do; we are not one in the same.

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307720)

I imagine that the distinction between neoconservative and libertarian is one that requires a bit more nuance than the average American is capable of. Especially given that the previous US president went around claiming to be a small-government, libertarian-leaning conservative and then instead presided over the utter destruction of the free market and tried his damndest to institute every globalist police-state wet-dream the neoconservatives ever had. I have confused the two myself.

Neoconservatives are big-government, right-wing fascists while libertarians are basically small-government, free-market, socially-liberal minarchists.

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (4, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307186)

The problem with "nothing to hide", as Bruce Schneier has noted on his blog [schneier.com] , is that is based upon the fallacious assumption that there is no threat to privacy unless the government uncovers unlawful activity. Now, you say that you are an honest citizen and I believe you, but here is the problem: the laws, as they exist today, are so complex and convoluted that it is practically impossible for ordinary Americans to live their everyday lives without breaking at least some of them. This is a common tool used by many governments, not just the United States, to maintain power over individual citizens. The implicit threat is that any one of us could be selected for "special attention" or "selective enforcement" at any time if the government (or some faction within the government) decides that it doesn't like us or that we are "troublemakers". In light of this truth, what do I gain from making it easier for the government to profile and watch me? You might argue that my efforts to remain anonymous, or at least pseudo-anonymous are futile and perhaps they are, but that doesn't mean that I am going to hand them my privacy on a silver platter.

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30308916)

On the other hand, I've done nothing illegal [...]

Are you sure? Do you know all the laws of the land, and are you absolutely sure you didn't break one of them? With the amount of laws our society has nowadays it's pretty much impossible to do nothing illegal. Me, I'm a hardened criminal. I speed, I use illegal drugs, I jaywalk, I'm a copyright infringer, and probably break dozens of laws daily, but I still consider myself to be an upstanding citizen. But then again, I do not confuse illegal with immoral.

Oblig. quote: "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." Cardinal Richelieu

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (1)

Jeian (409916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306072)

If you have your privacy settings set correctly, and the site in question has an adequate privacy policy, they're not going to see anything (like the fact that you even are a member of the site) anyway without a court order.

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306878)

Is this any different than the police patrolling your neighborhood, and looking for a wanted suspect, and keeping a record on his family, friends, and other activities related to the person they are trying to catch? Not really.

The line would likely be crossed if they are just doing drag nets about peoples online to find out if they are doing anything illegal.

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (1)

Taur0 (1634625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307192)

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

As opposed to refusing while being unconscious? :P

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (1)

Snatch422 (896695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308712)

The CIA has plenty of covert operatives working at Facebook. They use it not just for stalking against targeted individuals, spies in training, and practice/research but also by having subtle features that can be used for subconscious suggestion. Facebook is infiltrated by the feds and people are just naive (as is Google). That does not stop me from having a Facebook account though - I simply use my account to play my own psy ops right back at them and expose all their idiotic and horrendous secrets. You should join me in doing the same. Most CIA covert operatives are criminals. Most people are naive that the intelligence community is running the country with mind control techniques for the past 50-60 years... Nobody can control the CIA anymore - the CIA is controlling the entire country. Roughly 10% of the country is CIA most peopel cannot comprehend that such a large conspiracy would be possible - they dont understand security clearances or the intelligence community either, simply hopeless. See this blog: http://thespiritofhumanity.blogspot.com./ [thespirito...ogspot.com] My father was a shadowy CIA guy who secretly allowed the CIA to perform psychological torture on me for spy training. People are born spies as it runs in a family. They own a lot of small businesses in the country and have operatives in all the big ones. Could you imagine if people woke up?

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309084)

There's something vaguely satisfying in knowing the feds are forced to watch thousands of idiots' progress at Farmville. Job satisfaction must be at an all time low.

Re:Who Doesn't Believe the Feds are Watching? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309144)

So instead of not using Facebook because you prefer some different degree of privacy, your claim is that you do not use Facebook because you feel like you are living in a situation similar to post war East Germany?

And you think the people who get hassled by your government drones 'deserve it'?

prove it! (2, Informative)

anarking (34854) | more than 4 years ago | (#30305932)

there was a story recently of police busting someone for underage drinking based on facebook pictures. the problem with arresting someone based not on catching them doing an illegal act, but by heresay or pictures... is that how can it be proven?! "that was apple juice" "i was being facetious" shouldn't those be the only needs of defense against such allegations, true or not? this is the inherant flaw i see in this policing method.

Re:prove it! (4, Interesting)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:prove it! (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307030)

No flaw, In the UK, do too much gang related 'stuff' on web 2.0 sites and you might get a wake up at 6 am.
All part of community policing. You front door will be removed and home walked over by many men and woman in full protective gear.
You will get a friendly chat about your lifestyle and they walk out.
"we know what your post, who your friends are and your address, stop now..."
Bureaucratic warrants will be great for that kind of soft policing.

Now the NSA is involved... (3, Funny)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306052)

....my wife woke up and found weird crop circles in Farmville. She swears she didn't plant them that way.

Let's Go Fishing! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Let's Go Fishing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30306236)

If you don't think that (b) is happening, you haven't been paying attention to the societal trends of the last few years. Who wants to bet that these "agreements" aren't limited to law enforcement agents, but are also extended to private investigators and bounty hunters?

Men in Black? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30306286)

"K, did you use that flashy-memory-thing on me?!"

"No."

"I'm serious, K! Did you ever use that flashy-memory-thing on me, man?!"

"No."

Narrow sighted insights all over this... (2, Insightful)

nozendo (1656053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306294)

The issue isn't with, say, getting into facebook and checking out all your stupid farmville posts / drunken photos or etc, the issue is more on the privileged access side of things. Start thinking along the lines of your social graph and the back end of these sites and you have the gist of the real privacy issue here.

How many times you've viewed a certain profile, the times of day you access the system, the timeline of your creation and deletion of connections with other people, the correlation of your mood from content against these actions etc etc. Base level data mining activity. Volume, frequency, timing. Combine this with X number of social sites and other activity in the cloud and you can get a pretty concise picture of someone's life depending on their volume of online interactions. It doesn't matter what the _actual_ content is, it's the least important part of the picture.

Most of the responses to this topic online tend to drill down and go "I don't care if X can see my posted Y, I posted it assuming it was public domain". It really indicates that people are only aware of about a third of the real activities that are captured when you interact with social networking sites and the cloud as a whole.

Re:Narrow sighted insights all over this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30306412)

You just nailed what I've tried to describe to people when I told them I deleted my facebook account, and stopped participating in any social networking sites. It's the trail of dots you leave that can be connected that I'm concerned about, not necessarily the content of those dots.

Most people aren't interesting enough (4, Insightful)

fotbr (855184) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306408)

Really.

Chances are, no one in government cares about you, or your drunken antics posted on facespace. If they did, well, you put it out in public, so quit complaining when they read it.

Take the tin foil off. You're not that interesting outside your little circle of friends.

Re:Most people aren't interesting enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30306604)

friends?

Re:Most people aren't interesting enough (4, Insightful)

nozendo (1656053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306624)

Look further though. You're essentially a part of a neural style network here. You might be dull as a box of hankies but a professional associate, a relative, even at N degrees of separation - you're providing additional information against that person. It's not _you_ or even your N+1 or N+2 relations, its your overall participation in the mesh of interactions.

In a very simple case you can be a part of a border analysis against another person. Your professional activities, your actions, combined with a group of people that encapsulate (via common connections) another individual or a subset of individuals is extremely valuable for analysis.

This boggles me that we have a group of what I can assume are intelligent professionals here that can't see past the most elementary, low level application of information research / analysis. I've done incredibly effective analysis against individuals with a handful of public domain information, none of which was _direct_ content of theirs, let alone what I could do with access to the entire facebook back end.

Re:Most people aren't interesting enough (5, Insightful)

nozendo (1656053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306706)

To try and demonstrate this:

Person X on facebook has a private profile enabled but have allowed for their friends to be visible.

Say 80% of their friends have public profiles on facebook. You'd then go through the process of mapping percentages for:

- Their hometown
- employment
- common venues
- level of facebook activity
- interests, hobbies
- participation in local events, clubs, universities etc

Repeat for a couple of iterations down the friends of friends chain and guaranteed you could learn a massive amount about the individual regardless of profile status (eg, their employment, lifestyle, hobbies, timetable etc).

Scale this up to properly managed automated engines for the task and multiple data sources and there's not much you couldn't pinpoint about an individual, even if for example they didn't use facebook but had a majority of associated who did. Replace facebook with anything, perhaps linked in because of its more "professional" sales pitch. FB is just an easy example.

Okay, then Arrest *Everyone* (1)

gaspar ilom (859751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307394)

> no one in government cares about you, or your drunken antics posted on facespace

Unless you are considered a political enemy by someone in power. (as some allege happened with Eliot Spitzer) We should not empower government, and whichever political animals control it at a given time, with the ability to selectively enforce the law. That ability is stupendously magnified by the capacity to do a massive, exhaustive search of who commits "crime."

Thus, government would be more just if it arrests everyone who documents their stupid crimes online. This would eliminate the injustice of selective enforcement. And, the massive number of crimes that would be found -- and the ensuing backlog in criminal court -- would likely create pressure to reform what is considered "illegal."

Arrest *everyone* who documents illegal antics on "facespace." Or, restrict government's power, and don't have them in this business, in the first place.

Re:Most people aren't interesting enough (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30308146)

Chances are, no one in government cares about you, or your drunken antics posted on facespace. If they did, well, you put it out in public, so quit complaining when they read it.

Hard to say. Maybe you've got a friend, one of whose friends had connections (e.g. worked closely) with a terrorist. You might not know that. I do know that, which is why I'm posting as A.C.

Of course, half the stuff on my facebook page is bogus, anyhow. The people who have reason to know, know which half, mostly.

Why not? (1, Funny)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306568)

Doesn't everyone stalk other people on Facebook? Come on, let me see a show of hands...
Come on, don't be shy...
*crickets*

What does that mean? (2, Insightful)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306738)

What the heck is "cyberstalking?" Doesn't wholesale wiretapping of both voice and data include this cyberstalking notion? EFF already sued over the patriot act and Obama's administration has made it even worse [boingboing.net] than before. Not even Bush kept email lists of their political enemies (as far as we know), so the question is moot.

Get a grip (3, Funny)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307900)

Look, the guy is holed up in a cave with a couple of goats in the middle of Nowhere, Pakistan (And still the US can't find him, but that's another lol). He has to send a runner with a cassette tape 500km to the Al Jazeera office every time he has a new fatwa to issue.

It's not like he's going to be updating his Facebook status very often.

Osama has updated his profile : Today I feel like crushing infidels.
Fahid commented on Osama's post : lol habibi.
Ahmed likes this.
Mohammad pokes Osama.
Osama has been busy in the kitchen and has cooked too many Kung Pao Chicken. Help him out on Cafe World.
Osama has been downgraded to level 1 in Habbo Hotel, because he keeps blowing up his buildings (sorry, it slipped out).

As for the rest of the world, the signal to noise ratio is just too great for the Feebs to glean anything useful. Christ, I only have family and a few close friends on my FB, but the amount of drivel they post is unreal.

I'm on the bus going to town.
I'm at town.
I saw blah blah in town.
Where ?
At the coffee shop.
I nearly said hello, but thought I'd tweet you instead.
and so on, and so on ...

Investigative style (2, Informative)

realsilly (186931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309346)

Social Networking sites are the type of tool that the govt. agencies have wanted for years now. It helps them with their investigations into cells of criminal activity. Consider how say the mob works. Vinny the Boss, hires Joe Schmo to do his job but uses cash at a drop zone. Well Joe has to have had some way of knowing to take the job from Vinny. So a Social networking site like application help piece Vinny and Joe to the same coffee shop that they frequent. Now think of the limitless potential power of investigation that can be performed. All legal, the info is public, so no warrants are necessary, the cells of criminals are oblivious as to how they are nabbed.

That animated GIF... (1)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309666)

Of Osama Bin Laden getting bufu'ed by Liberace probably got me flagged. Ah well, it was worth it....
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