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FBI's Facebook Monitoring Leads To Arrest In England

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the bomb-president-motorcade-rutabaga dept.

Privacy 329

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports that armed police were called to a UK school earlier today after being advised of a potential threat by the FBI. The school stated that the FBI 'raised the alarm after Internet scanning software picked up a suspicious combination of words,' strongly implying that they are carrying out routine, automated surveillance of social networking sites. While in this case it does appear that there may have been a genuine threat, the story nonetheless raises significant privacy concerns."

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329 comments

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FBI? (0)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584394)

Does that stand for "Federal Bureau of Investigation" or "FaceBook Initiative"? Remember kids, the ghost of J. Edgar Hoover is watching everything you do ... and so is Mark Elliot Zuckerberg.

Trolling, trolling (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584502)

Tomorrow - last day of school. I'm glad because I'm tired of being bullied by the assholes in this place. I will at last be leaving this world. TGI summer break.

This isn't a Facebook threat Mr. FBI.
This is just me circa 1986 typing into a BBS.

Re:Trolling, trolling (5, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584640)

Anybody who know, or knows, how to use a BBS should be considered a criminal because that's where the hackers get their anarchist cookbooks and pixellated bitmaps of Heather Lochlear nude and phone-phreak boxes and Jolly Roger Cap'n Crunch whistles to illegally steal long-distance phone calls.

Re:Trolling, trolling (2, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584886)

Hey man. In 1986 I had a high-quality Commodore Amiga with 4100 colors and hi-res 704x480 graphics. No pixelated nudity for me. We're talking near-photo-realistic here - like watching television. Yep. 32-bit cutting-edge technology is the way to go.

(whispers). You got that new game? MicroProse's Strike Eagle? I have a cracked copy downloaded fresh from Europe on my faaaaaast 2400 bit per second modem. Also some topless Italians if that's your thing. ;-)

Re:Trolling, trolling (-1, Troll)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584764)

I'm tired of being bullied by the assholes in this place. I will at last be leaving this world.

Become an hero.

Re:Trolling, trolling (5, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584840)

You forgot the part where you posted a picture of a firearm to go with your rant about bullies. Nice job of cherry picking the parts of story that fit your rant while ignoring the obvious threat. Last I checked it was next to impossible to get a firearm in the UK, so the fact that a kid who was having problems with bullies posted a picture of him with a firearm and POTENTIALLY menancing words warranted a closer investigation.

Put the shoe on the other foot. What if some kid had gone on a rampage and it later came out that the FBI thought he might have been a threat but decided not to share the information? Rather than worrying about someone's rights being trampled (and I'd argue that they weren't given that he posted in a PUBLIC forum visible to the world), we'd be condemning the FBI for not doing more to save the children.

Re:Trolling, trolling (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584914)

we'd be condemning the FBI for not doing more to save the children.

Speak for your fucking self. Do not presume you have any clue what I would or would not do. Arrogant prick.

Re:Trolling, trolling (1)

Psion (2244) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584958)

Let the record show that I do not know Commodore64_love and that I am in no way involved with any enterprise or activity he pursues.

Plutonium.

Re:Trolling, trolling (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584972)

If that's really what he posted, that's hilarious. Also, I think the FBIs system is about to get overwhelmed as every teenager on earth copy's it to their own facebook page.

Re:FBI? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584514)

Remember kids, the ghost of J. Edgar Hoover is watching everything you do ... and so is Mark Elliot Zuckerberg.

yes, but only one of them is masturbating furiously over your profile pictures.

Re:FBI? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584730)

yes, but only one of them is masturbating furiously over your profile pictures.

But which one is going to town like a clown?

Re:FBI? (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584598)

Remember kids, the ghost of J. Edgar Hoover is watching everything you do ... and so is Mark Elliot Zuckerberg.

You see folk! I always said my life would make a good reality TV show. You all made fun of me, but obviously these fellows Hoover and Zuckerberg were/are men of taste and class. Ha!

Now excuse me while I go beg for attention on the street by dressing skimpily in the cold night air.

Suspicious Words (0, Troll)

alex4point0 (179152) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584400)

What constitutes suspicious to Flowers By Irene these days?

"Lol I trolled j00!", "I Can Be PartyV&?", "Does Your House Have Stairs?", "I'mma Blow Up Your Farm!"

Surveillance laws (3, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584414)

Sounds like the "special relationship" means that passing laws against excessive surveillance by our own police will never achieve anything - they can just have the FBI spy on us instead. I wonder if they conduct questionable surveillance of American citizens in return?

Re:Surveillance laws (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584576)

Sounds like the "special relationship" means that passing laws against excessive surveillance by our own police will never achieve anything - they can just have the FBI spy on us instead.

And, failing that, they can have Facebook or AT&T or private investigators other security firms do it for them. Failing that, there are a lot of good citizens in "neighborhood watch" groups, liazons to the Police Departments and the DHS, who hold meetings closed to the public and illegally shoo out reporters.

FBI are known for having huge pools of informant money and the zeal to displace the rage which comes with informants being better paid than they are.

The motto of America's FBI: "Pusillanimity by Proxy."

Re:Surveillance laws (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584738)

I wonder if they conduct questionable surveillance of American citizens in return?

They don't need to - we have the FBI for that ;-)

Re:Surveillance laws (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584872)

That's an interesting theory. You'd suggest that since there's no obligation to the citizens of another country, that some other government would spy on you, and then your government would spy on their citizens, and then just trade information back and forth "as required, for national security matters"?

I wonder they'd have a cool acronym for the program.

Good grief (4, Funny)

Alioth (221270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584416)

The school uses MS Comic Sans font on the sign to their entrance. They deserve all they get!

(Note to the FBI: This is just a humourous crack. I'm not threatening to blow the school up, okay?)

Re:Good grief (3, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584456)

Unfortunately, ED 209 doesn't understand humor.

Re:Good grief (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584824)

Unfortunately, ED 209 doesn't understand humor.

But at least he IS very polite!

OT, I know... (1)

glavenoid (636808) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584970)

I'd like to see a comedy sketch where ED-209 is employed in a loan collections agency, and goes haywire writing progressively less polite dunning letters to some customer who has, if fact, paid off their loan.

Re:Good grief (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584486)

It's sad that you had to follow up your post with that parenthetical note else some FBI script might finger you as a person of interest. That you consciously thought twice about it, and finally decided for the amendment - justifiable paranoia? Probably.

Re:Good grief (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584592)

Of course, I actually am trying to blow up that school*, and I keep having to append disclaimers to throw off the FBI.
Thanks a lot

* Disclaimer: OR AM I

Re:Good grief (3, Funny)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584520)

Keywords "blow up" and "school" detected.
Deploying FBI.

Re:Good grief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584620)

That can't be good for Alice Cooper. He might as well be most wanted at this rate.

Re:Good grief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584682)

I shouldn't have even thought about bringing that blow up doll to my school. Instead I stuck to my guns and left it at home.

Re:Good grief (4, Funny)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584584)

I just want to know what "Catholic Technology" is. Are they working on a RoboPope?

Re:Good grief (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584854)

Are you familiar with the McCormick raper? This mechanized marvel can perform the work of a hundred men...

Re:Good grief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584866)

Papobear?

Re:Good grief (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584922)

Are they working on a RoboPope?

Drop your weapons and repent!

Thank you for your cooperation.

Privacy? Really? (5, Insightful)

kid_wonder (21480) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584426)

Does someone out there thinks there is an expectation of privacy for data they post on the internet?

I thought that was exactly what you should NOT expect.

Re:Privacy? Really? (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584458)

I think the issue is that he might have been arrested without having actually done anything.

I mean, if he writes a note theatening bullies so that they don't ruin the last day of school for him, so that he can eat his lunch in peace, is it necessary for the police to step in?

I think it's a good thing the police were notified, this is a potential threat, and it's good that they acted upon it.

But - I mean, if you see the kid outside of school, and he didn't have a weapon on him, you've essentially got anecdotal evidence of what essentially boils down to a thought crime, which he shouldn't be ARRESTED for. Keep an eye on the kid, but no need to arrest him.

Re:Privacy? Really? (3, Insightful)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584504)

I would think that something like this alone isn't enough to arrest the kid for, but enough to do a little investigation. After that, the decision on whether or not to arrest should come up.

Re:Privacy? Really? (3, Interesting)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584560)

Unfortunately(or fortunately) once a person writes out a threat (even if its in a riddle within a haiku) that constitutes a crime because you are stating your intentions to harm someone. Now in this case it was a little ambiguous but let this be warning. You cannot go around making fake threats against peoples lives on the Internet and just go along with your life like nothing happened. If you do it, you will be arrested.

Re:Privacy? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584812)

Well, said.

Heads of state, elected representatives of the people and other high ranking officials are the only ones allowed to use fake threats.

Re:Privacy? Really? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584694)

He posted what could reasonably be interpreted as a threat ... and the police took him seriously. Hopefully he will learn from this experience. To paraphrase Field of Dreams "Post it and they will come" - count on it.

Re:Privacy? Really? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584754)

From timothy and other bat shit insane malcontents:

story nonetheless raises significant privacy concerns

Bullshit. Facebook posting is not private. There is no 'privacy' involved here. No mail was opened. No phone tapped. No email account rifled through. There may be other issues to address regarding whatever wholesale analysis the cops are performing, but there are no 'privacy' issues here. The kid put it out there for the world to pick up on, automated word-eater or otherwise. End of 'privacy' issues.

if he writes a note theatening (sic) bullies so that they don't ruin the last day of school for him

Since we're talking hypotheticals; If such a note is presented to police and they fail to follow up and/or arrest the author and he then carries out the act do we then condemn the police or defer to your finely tuned sense of justice and celebrate our civil liberties?

essentially boils down to a thought crime

Bullshit. Public threats are not thoughts. Here's a big fat clue [uslegal.com] in case you're confused about the legalities.

Re:Privacy? Really? (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584930)

The internet/facebook are a public commons. Just like the street in front of the school. If a police officer was parked in his car outside of a school and a kid came walking down the middle of the street screaming "I'm going to kill every mother fucker in that school" I don't think we would question the police officers judgment if he stop the kid questioned him. We don't know what the arrest was for, nor do we know what the laws in that particular area are. The police may have gone to question him and found his room full of pipe bombs and sawed off shotguns... or it may just be illegal in that area to threaten to massacre a school. Remember, this kid publicly posted his name, his school, and his intent to harm those in the school. It's not like the government went out of their way to decipher the boys identity. Now if the kid sent an email to his friend and the FBI intercepted the email via packet sniffing and what-not, maybe I'd have a problem with it.

Re:Privacy? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584498)

Define "post on the internet" for us. Does this mean data saved in Google Docs and not shared with anyone else? Something stored in Skydrive with no sharing on it? If you think that there is no expectation of privacy there - well, you'd be wrong. Those have access control lists and are supposed to be private. Now, take it farther to a site like FaceBook. It also has access control lists. For example, you can set it so that only certain people can see you wall posts. It says that only those people can see it. How is that different than Google Docs saying your spreadsheet is not shared or Skydrive or Live Mesh saying that you haven't shared your files? (Other than the lack of trust people have in FB and Zuckerpunch). Now, I would have no expectation that something I put on my blog was private. If I was a twit, I'd have no expectation that my "tweets" were private. But when I have an access control list and can set it to be private - then yes, I have an expectation of privacy. Why shouldn't I?

Re:Privacy? Really? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584670)

Does someone out there thinks there is an expectation of privacy for data they post on the internet?

I thought that was exactly what you should NOT expect.

Well, you can expect all the privacy you want ... but you're not going to get it.

Re:Privacy? Really? (5, Insightful)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584782)

People have no fucking idea what "privacy" is anymore. They've given up so much of it with Facebook, Twitter, loyalty programs, etc that no one seems to care about losing more or taking that of someone else. And if you try to explain things to them, they just look at you like you have two heads and give you that good old line: "What do you have to hide?" Any attempt to reason it out with them results in indifference: "You're just paranoid." Privacy is taking it's final few breaths because the collective fat, lazy ass of western culture has sat on it and doesn't even realize what's being smothered to death beneath its cellulite inflated cheeks. Too fucking bad for those of us who cared, we just saw it too late to make a difference. /rant of a guy now labeled "paranoid" and "suspicious" by various acquaintances because he blew up when his cellphone was temporarily "borrowed" by an (ex) friend so they could rifle through my text message history "for fun".
*Grumble*

Re:Privacy? Really? (3, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584910)

Too fucking bad for those of us who cared, we just saw it too late to make a difference.

So, what, you think you need to protect all those poor, ignorant pleebs from themselves? Gee wiz, how nice of you.

Hey, here's an idea: Why don't you worry about your own privacy, and let everyone else worry about there's. If someone wants to post every little piece of minutiae of their lives on the internet, who the fuck are you to tell them they shouldn't? Are they curtailing your ability to preserve your own privacy? No. So fuck off. What they do with their personal information is their own god damned business, just as what you do with your personal information is yours.

Re:Privacy? Really? (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584942)

You sound like you've got a lot to hide.

No, in all seriousness, it's not paranoia when they actually ARE out to get you. I saw a cartoon where there was a couple sitting in their house, while workers were putting up a fence. The fence was labelled "security" and the house "privacy".

The workers were, of course, using the boards of the house to build the fence.

That's the problem. People have been promised absolute security in everything they do. Look at the teenager who wanted to sail -- everyone is calling out the parents for being assholes for letting their adult offspring do something they had been planning for since she was 13 years old. Life's dangerous. No amount of information awareness is going to fix that, since it's not even a problem to begin with. It's not the government's business what I do with myself unless THEY HAVE A WARRANT to look at my life or I give them permission. (I gave them permission because I require a security clearance for work.)

Re:Privacy? Really? (1, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584864)

Fuck your red herring, FBI ass-kisser!

That’s not the point!

The point is that a FBI monitoring led to a UK ARREST just because of a “dangerous combination of words”.

So in other words: Add the following string to anything, and he goes to jail, WITHOUT HAVING DONE ANY CRIME AT ALL! :

bomb school hate bastard kill all never again bought explosives

If that is enough for someone to go to jail, then it’s way more than is needed for me, to throw you in jail, just because I did not like your comment!
Now how cool do you think that would be? Hm? Not very much, am I right?

Re:Privacy? Really? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584964)

Surely you recognise the difference between "no expectation of privacy" and "unknown; but likely substantial, levels of automated surveillance by the feds"?

You don't have an expectation of privacy when walking around town; but if there were a plainclothes G-man following everybody around, that would be a Bad Sign(tm)....

FaceBook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584432)

When you publish something on the internet, it is not private. There may be a privacy concern here, but only if the FBI software is viewing profiles that are supposed to be private / they are not authorized to view. Although I am not even sure of that -- aren't there websites out there that index all of FaceBook's content for anyone to view?

Concerns? (4, Insightful)

microbee (682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584440)

The story nonetheless raises significant privacy concerns

Like "OMG my public postings can be read by others"?

Re:Concerns? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584508)

The BBC article doesn't specify whether the posting was public or not.

Re:Concerns? (3, Interesting)

microbee (682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584672)

The article suggests in no way the facebook gave FBI special access to privileged data (and why would they?), and FBI use Internet scanning software, so it's almost certainly public.

Significant privacy concerns? (4, Insightful)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584444)

Significant privacy concerns? You mean like, "Don't talk about private shit in public?"

Re:Significant privacy concerns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584826)

If it's "public", I can go there and do whatever I want, right? No agreements or contracts, it's "public", right?

Facebook is private property, just not YOUR private property. The distinction is becoming increasingly dangerous because cops already use this to circumvent the need for a warrant in many cases (asking your ISP for a copy of your email from THEIR server, asking your landlord to let you in to THEIR apartment, asking the bank to open THEIR safe deposit box, asking the bank to open THEIR mortgaged home, [can you spot the point where this became a "slippery slope fallacy"? Isn't it uncomfortably towards the end there?)

Facebook and privacy is an oxymoron (4, Interesting)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584448)

Seriously, how many times will we have these stories of 'Facebook found to have X issues with privacy'? Facebook is not PrivateBook, it never was nor was it ever intended to be. It was designed to be shared and be public. And when you put something in the public, guess what? People and organizations will look at it regardless of whether you want them to or not.

Re:Facebook and privacy is an oxymoron (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584490)

It's not so much that they expected the information to be private, its that the kid was arrested and we don't know the details. Would you like to be arrested for an angry rant you wrote on your livejournal?

Re:Facebook and privacy is an oxymoron (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584570)

It's not so much that they expected the information to be private, its that the kid was arrested and we don't know the details. Would you like to be arrested for an angry rant you wrote on your livejournal?

If I posted that I was going to blow up "X" building at my school at 3pm on a given day (not to say that's what happened here) in that angry rant, and it was public, then I think that deserves a second look.

Just because you are on an emo rant in your blog, doesn't mean you can write whatever the hell you want and expect there to be no repercussions.

Re:Facebook and privacy is an oxymoron (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584638)

It's not so much that they expected the information to be private, its that the kid was arrested and we don't know the details. Would you like to be arrested for an angry rant you wrote on your livejournal?

Considering its illegal to make death threats, its kind of expected. Just because it's a minor doesn't mean they might not be willing to go through with it (though in this article its a 19 year old). Look at all the high school shootings that were done by minors. While it might be a stupid thing to have posted an angry rant on something like livejournal doesn't make it any better. If someone makes death threats, then its going to be investigated.

Re:Facebook and privacy is an oxymoron (3, Insightful)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584656)

Am I the only person here who thinks its great that the FBI are doing this? The kid clearly needs help and waiting until he blows away a few of his classmates before doing anything about it is so last decade.

Re:Facebook and privacy is an oxymoron (2, Insightful)

maird (699535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584786)

It's a no win situation for everyone. I wouldn't like to be arrested for an angry rant I _published_ but it would be my own fault if I was. I also wouldn't like for someone saying in public the kind of things that precipitated this to be ignored only because the people that noticed them aren't those with a direct relationship to the one saying them. I assume the kid (and his issues) would have been dealt with using the school's discipline system if it was school staff that had picked up a threat posted on Facebook. Since schools tend not to have the resources to monitor all of Facebook then what was the FBI to do...wait to see if there was a shooting and shrug their shoulders. I assume the kid's school will now use it's discipline system with him. If it's unpublished comments that provoke the response then there is definitely an issue of capable organizations doing the monitoring. Especially for US Citizens (see at least the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments) but I guess you could say, don't do/say something that provocative or at least explain yourself if you don't mean it literally.

Re:Facebook and privacy is an oxymoron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584794)

God only knows what someones true intentions are, and since there is no god, we sometimes have to take people at their word, that they mean what they say. Even if they don't, we don't know what.

Re:Facebook and privacy is an oxymoron (0, Redundant)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584652)

If it requires registration to browse around the site, and has "book" in the title, most people would assume it's closed. It's not named "PublicOpenForumBoardSurrenderYourPrivacyAtTheDoor". What was originally fielded as a sort of online yearbook has changed direction completely.

So Don't Use Facebook to Broadcast Your Intention (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584460)

Yes

I can't believe the news today
Oh, I can't close my eyes and make it go away
How long, how long must we sing this song?
How long? How long?
'Cause tonight we can be as one, tonight

Broken bottles under children's feet
Bodies strewn across the dead end streets
But I won't heed the battle call
It puts my back up, puts my back up against the wall

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

And the battle's just begun
There's many lost but tell me who has won
The trench is dug within our hearts
And mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

How long, how long must we sing this song?
How long? How long?
'Cause tonight we can be as one
Tonight, tonight

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Wipe the tears from your eyes
Wipe your tears away
Oh, wipe your tears away
Oh, wipe your tears away
Oh, wipe your blood shot eyes

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

And it's true we are immune when fact is fiction and TV reality
And today the millions cry
We eat and drink while tomorrow they die
The real battle just begun to claim the victory Jesus won on

Sunday Bloody Sunday
Sunday Bloody Sunday

Echelon this!!! (1, Funny)

mrsam (12205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584484)

Shit. Piss. Fuck. Cunt. Cocksucker. Motherfucker. Tits.

C'mon. I'm waiting for you.

Re:Echelon this!!! (4, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584548)

http://echelonspoofer.com/ [echelonspoofer.com]

Re:Echelon this!!! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584898)

Set it to 250 words, click GO, and see the list of 250 things the FBI does want to hide. ^^

Re:Echelon this!!! (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584954)

Okay.

Privacy on Facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584488)

If I post something on Facebook, should I have an expectation that it is private?

You could argue that I broadcast only to people I declared to be my friend, but if I told a secret to 200+ "friends", would I reasonably expect that what I said would be kept private?

They're damned if they do, damned if they don't (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584496)

Every time some idiot goes and posts somewhere "I'm gonna kill people" and it isn't caught, the news is "They were posting it for all the world to see, why didn't somebody stop them!?"
Then some idiot is caught from his posting, and the new is "How dare the police read posts!?"

While I don't believe in prior restraint and so I worry about arresting people based on things they said they might do, Facebook is the new equivalent of painting signs on the water tower. If ever anything didn't qualify for 'expectation of privacy', a service where the express purpose is to tell other people what you're doing should be it. As long as some additional police work goes into verifying that the threat is real, I think this is a good thing.

Re:They're damned if they do, damned if they don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584634)

You Have No Expectation Of Privacy In A Public Place (TM).

So it should be cool if businesses, government, and even private individuals put up snooping cameras.

Re:They're damned if they do, damned if they don't (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584744)

Every time some idiot goes and posts somewhere "I'm gonna kill people" and it isn't caught, the news is "They were posting it for all the world to see, why didn't somebody stop them!?"
Then some idiot is caught from his posting, and the new is "How dare the police read posts!?"

One problem with a surveillance society is that it forces the police to intervene in every event that anyone could interpret as the least bit suspicious, or else face the "Why didn't you do something!" rage whenever something does happen.

Re:They're damned if they do, damned if they don't (2, Insightful)

siglercm (6059) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584966)

+1 -- Please mod parent up.

I'm jealous! because s/he beat me to the punch. I was gonna say, "How dare anyone -- especially a government agency, harrumph! -- perform an automated scan of publicly posted statements on a public website. How dare they!"

It's public, people. It's posted with the expectation that it _will_ be freely accessed and read. That's just the opposite of an expectation of privacy, regardless of who's accessing or reading it.

!Surprise (1)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584542)

Is the story here that the FBI monitors open communication on the internet, or that they went through the right channels to have someone arrested in a foreign country?

Please give me the adress of a good lawyer. (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584544)

I have the dictionary on one of my sites. I am so f*#$(Q@$&

Thanks for the help.... (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584556)

I know there's a problem with teenage pregnancy in the UK, but damn, getting a call from the FBI just because some teen said on their facebook page "party", "no parents", "beer", "condoms" is a bit much.

Disclaimer: The scenario posted in this comment bares no resemblance to any actual event in this life or a past life...

Privacy? How? (5, Insightful)

Triv (181010) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584578)

"the story nonetheless raises significant privacy concerns."

...How? The kid made threats of violence on a public forum, somebody called the FBI, the FBI called Scotland Yard and they apprehended the kid before he made it to school. Sounds to me like the system worked for once.

I know it's all the rage right now to automatically link Facebook with "Privacy Concerns," but in this case it's just asinine.

Re:Privacy? How? (1, Troll)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584728)

No. The FBI according to their own words has robots in place that search the internet for a combination of words they deem unwanted. Like FBI and Corrupt.

surveillance society (2, Insightful)

johncandale (1430587) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584834)

non, it's not 'someone called the FBI', it's the part about 'scanning software' and 'routine, automated surveillance'. As we fall deeper into a surveillance society, with cameras pointed at your front door, auto-logging of your car plates everywhere you drive, and (this is completely true) police helicopters with inferred/heat sensors flying over your house that can see through walls there is a basic issue of potential abuse of power, and the loss of freedom. Most of the 'need a warrant/ probable cause' law is to protect people who are doing there own thing, to try to keep the police state at bay, from police who think they are just protecting yourself from yourself. It's been shown over and over, every single time, once you give the government that power, someone starts abusing it. Government is not friendly, it's abusive and scary, Jefferson stated as much. Individuals should not have to be in a nanny state.

Re:surveillance society (1)

johncandale (1430587) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584916)

To add to my post, for a example, Someone decides it's time to harass law abiding gays, and tracks face book groups and members, and meet-ups. It's happened before, hollywood black-listing anyone?

DO NOT USE FACEBOOK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584596)

If you use facebook and post your personal information for all to see this is what you get.

Solution - Do not use facebook!

Public information (1)

gbrandt (113294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584622)

This is not a comment on whether Facebook makes too much information public. This is a comment on the whether public data can be scanned:

If the data was available on the public site then there is no privacy concern. If they 'hacked' facebook to get private data, then there is a privacy concern.

Public data is public data and anybody can 'scan' it if they like.

image recognition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584626)

from the article: "It picked up a posting showing a picture of a gun being held above a scrawled note, which read "tomorrow - last day of school" and went on to mention bullies and "leaving this world". "
Which seems to imply that this was image recognition software that recognized the gun and parsed the hand writing of the note in the same picture. That is quite an impressive capability considering the sheer volume of pictures added to facebook every second.

Another victory for faith-based engineering (1)

DarkGamer (462552) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584628)

...I wonder if they teach evolutionary algorithms?

Excellent (2, Insightful)

shermo (1284310) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584632)

Their monitoring has had one possibly correct hit. Therefore it was justified and it is a Good Thing (tm).

It saddens me that so many people I talk to have this exact thought process.

Surely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584666)

All these reports of privacy, social networking, etc. Am I missing something, or are all these people just choosing to let 'everyone' view their posts? Surely if they limit their narcissism to friends you wouldn't have random people reading your stuff?

What Privacy concerns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584706)

As long as they were not viewing private comments (aka hacking facebook) what the "privacy concerns" are there?. The internet is public
The tool they are using is probably just some altered social media scaning tool that many companys are using these days to monitor discussions of their brands/products

Actually that's not quite right... (4, Interesting)

oblivionboy (181090) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584720)

...for all those that say -- "Na, na, you have no expectation to privacy on the net" -- lets get a few things straight. The first is, Facebook actually gives the impression that privacy will be shared only with those who you invite into your social circle. That means in fact that there IS an expectation of privacy, just a rather loose one (amongst your 238 friends). However the problem here is that there is a very strong suggestion that the FBI had access to Facebook accounts that they were not "invited to", and thus, under the definition and general understanding of the Facebook privacy model, were not "authorized to" view. The key concept here is the idea of "scanning software" that picked up a "combination of words". There is no mention of a person (officer, agent, etc). Had someone reported the person (say one of the friends in the guy's social network), and the FBI had pretended to be "someone" - a living person say - and then captured the tip off as part of an investigation, then I'm sure it would have been reported much differently. In this case it would seem that somehow the FBI has an automated system that has access to accounts it hasn't been invited to, and thus there are serious privacy concerns in fact.

Second thing is, how come the FBI is doing this on behalf of the UK? Isn't the FBI's juristiction only in the US? Aren't there certain laws that cover this sort of thing? Are the US and England playing a little game of bend the rules, by having the FBI spy on their citizens, so as to bypass local laws that prevent UK law enforcement from doing the same? And then the next logical step -- is England doing the same on behalf of the US -- spying on their citizens?

Finally, for all those really negative people that go on and on about the bleeding obvious -- that there is no expectation of privacy on the net -- stop it. REALLY. We can dream of a better world were we do have accountable law enforcement, strict privacy laws, and the universal expectation of free speach. Impossible you say? Well I'd counter that if you don't even bother imagining it, then for sure it definately IS impossible, because you'll never even lift a finger to try.

Re:Actually that's not quite right... (2, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584858)

Second thing is, how come the FBI is doing this on behalf of the UK? Isn't the FBI's juristiction only in the US?

Yep the FBI only has jurisdiction in the US, but law enforcement everywhere shares data with each other. It's been like that for 100 odd years, no shortage of pissing matches or anything either. Canada shares with the US, US shares with Canada, both of which share with all of the EU. Japan shares with everyone, and so on.

Short answer: There's no shortage of law enforcement sharing information everywhere. It's actually not spying if you're looking at publicly supplied information. Spying would be the bilateral phone and data mining agreement that various nations have to look after each other.

Re:Actually that's not quite right... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584946)

Lets also not forget that the article mentions it took the FBI a length of time to identify the school in question--they began investigating before it was known that it was a UK school.

Re:Actually that's not quite right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584918)

It is illegal for the US Intelligence and law enforcement to spy on US citizens. US Intelligence and Law Enforcement can do whatever they want to foreigners. The nature of the world (given the internet, drones and other technologies) the US can spy on anyone anywhere. In cooperative agreements, don't you think if "WE" spy on "THEM", "THEY" can spy on "US" -- and then share interesting tidbits?

Re:Actually that's not quite right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584924)

The internet has no barriers.
They just raised the alarm and let the correct people in the UK know about it.

You can have your privacy all you want. Just don't expect it on the internet - a network of networked computers...
Seriously, this is Computing 101 stuff...

And expecting privacy on a social network with advertising all over it is laughable.
Go build your own social network with your own site and web rings like all the cool people done before social crapsites existed.
Those were better days.

I understood this was from 4Chan, not Facebook (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584752)

This could well be 'shopped but I was shown this 5 days before that BBC story.

http://www.photo-pimp.com/dgnr8/lost/drf.jpg [photo-pimp.com]

Linux users are cock smoking faggots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584762)

Faggots love linux like they love a big thick dick in the ass and eating shit.

Linux users are dirty birds.

was it about (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584774)

an arse-bandit having plans to blow and pound into the ground some hapless chap ?

not just scanning social networking data, I bet (1)

mentil (1748130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584784)

If the FBI is making automated scans of Facebook looking for certain combinations of words, I imagine they're also automatically scanning purchase data aggregated by Choicepoint et al looking for certain combinations of products. Remember, pay in cash and don't use your discount card if you want to purchase a pistol and Catcher In The Rye. Also, hope that your medication never gets its components used by drug cookers. I pray they're not abusing the PATRIOT Act to have automated access to all libraries' databases.

Terrorists planning attack in Airstrip 1 captured (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584788)

Terrorists planning an attack on important facilities in Airstrip 1 were rounded up by Airstrip 1 National Security Forces earlier today.

Looking at the wrong combination of words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584846)

Mostly I think the software is looking at the wrong combinations of words. They might try looking at these phrases instead:

"If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear"
"Don't worry, it will be voluntary"
"The House of Commons staff assured me that my second and third mortgages were claimable"
"We can handle an oil spill of up to two hundred and fifty thousand barrels a day. Trust us"
"I shouted 'Police!' before opening fire" (for what it's worth, all the police at Stockwell station when Menezes was killed, claimed they heard the warning shouted, while all 17 witnesses, who were a random sample of subway passengers, claimed that they did not)
"It wasn't for the money"
"As a consultant I can assure you that..."

They are a sure sign that the speaker is corrupt and about to break the law.

I undestood this was from 4Chan, not Facebook (5, Informative)

Mattniche (1241468) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584860)

According to this image I saw 5 days before that BBC story.

http://www.photo-pimp.com/dgnr8/lost/drf.jpg [photo-pimp.com]

Odd.

In Soviet America (1)

labnet (457441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584934)

In Soviet America, All you comments belong to us.

Privacy? What Privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32584948)

You're on the internet - deal with it!
The world is a connected place - what you gonna do - unplug everything and sit in the dark?

Eh? (1)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 4 years ago | (#32584968)

I must be missing it, but TFA doesn't say anything about the kid (19-yo-man? that's still a kid by many standards) being armed?
So if I write "kill", "murder" or anything like that, I can be arrested because it's "suspicious words"? Even if I am talking about a game or something?
Thankfully he didn't mention killing the Queen or he'd find himself with 007 up his rear end.

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