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DNI Office Asks Why People Trust Facebook More Than the Government

samzenpus posted 1 year,10 days | from the like-this dept.

Government 273

Daniel_Stuckey writes "General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Robert S. Litt explained that our expectation of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once we've offered it to a third party. Thus, sifting through third party data doesn't qualify 'on a constitutional level' as invasive to our personal privacy. This he brought to an interesting point about volunteered personal data, and social media habits. Our willingness to give our information to companies and social networking websites is baffling to the ODNI. 'Why is it that people are willing to expose large quantities of information to private parties but don't want the Government to have the same information?,' he asked."

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Executive Power (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44342969)

Seriously? Gee, I don't know... maybe it's because those private parties can't ruin your fucking life like a government can?

When was the last time Facebook's swat team raided someone's house, taking all posessions and ruining their job/social image?
How many people are in jail for life because of Google's will?

Now granted if a company the size of Facebook decided to target an individual, that person would have a very hard time defending due to the large mismatch in resources. But this kind of this doesn't happen often, because it's not really profitable. On the other hand, targetting alleged law-breaking individuals is part of the government's job and is a regular occurence.

The government is granted a lot of power for the good of society -- power to decide the fate of any citizen or company. In exchange for that power, they are held to a much higher standard and have a responsibility to implement the most stringent safeguards. However inconvenient those safeguards might be, it's the price of maintaining public confidence.

Re:Executive Power (3, Insightful)

mozumder (178398) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343005)

Seriously? Gee, I don't know... maybe it's because those private parties can't ruin your fucking life like a government can?

Any private party can initiate executive power - just call your local government official.

Just because it's from a private party doesn't mean they have no power over you.

Also, the government is granted power because we DON'T want private parties to have that power.

Re:Executive Power (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343095)

I agree. To sum it in two words: Police Powers.
FB doesn't have those do they DNI?
B.T.W. and for what its worth- When signing the Act in 1947 creating the CIA, President Truman refused to create the DNI as it now stands because: "People will not tolerate a Gestapo in America."

Re:Executive Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343191)

Oh no? my, aren't you naive...

Re:Executive Power (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343227)

I suspect that you underestimate a private party's abilities. Maybe the former can't ruin your life the exact same way the latter can, that doesn't mean that they can't still ruin your life.

Re:Executive Power (1)

manicb (1633645) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343411)

Maybe we rely on the *government* to protect us from that?

Does that still work, though? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343525)

A government must be limited in its powers at a constitutional level, because you never know who will be running the show in the future. Limits on things they can legally do that no-one else can are necessary, but they need to be beyond the power of the administration of the day to change without further consent or the protections are meaningless.

For the rest, in theory normal laws should suffice. The government itself should legislate to ensure that, for example, businesses must respect privacy to a reasonable extent, because telling a health insurance company that you've been having lots of discussions with people who have cancer lately could potentially have serious consequences too.

The catch here is that when politicians and lawyers are involved, the distinction between government and non-government authority and restrictions can get blurred, so I am increasingly of the view that basic rights must be protected at a constitutional level against anyone who might infringe them unjustly.

None of it matters anyway if your judicial system declines to enforce the law, of course, but at least this removes any ambiguity regarding whether those fundamental rights are legally protected.

Re:Executive Power (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343413)

I suspect that you underestimate a private party's abilities. Maybe the former can't ruin your life the exact same way the latter can, that doesn't mean that they can't still ruin your life.

The point is that it isn't in Facebook's financial interest to ruin the lives of its users. If every time a Facebook user posted something incriminating, someone at Facebook filed a police report, people would rapidly stop using Facebook.

If you're a DoJ bureaucrat, it's in your financial interest to ruin as many lives as possible. The more criminals there are, the bigger a budget you need to track, arrest, try, and imprison them all.

Re:Executive Power (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343231)

I guess you never heard of the BSA, a private organization with law enforcement powers.

Re:Executive Power (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343279)

I doubt people would trust the BSA with as much though.

Re:Executive Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343369)

They don't have any fucking power stop joking. Shoot them if they force their way in. Gotta stand your ground.

Re:Executive Power (3, Interesting)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343233)

And in the age of the "privacy" policy, users have at least a basic idea of what comes of their data shared with a company.

Further, information like call "meta" data is something I may agree to because there is no other way to use the product, ie, the phone company needs that info to bill me accurately. Were there any other way around this I would of course not allow them to collect that information. So to call it sharing is really a reach.

Re:Executive Power (5, Interesting)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343271)

I would add that people give their information voluntarily to these third parties, while the government takes it using the threat of violence. People give their information to third parties because the third party offers a service for storing and distributing their information to select friends and acquaintances. The government takes and distributes information to an untold number of alphabet soup agencies for some abstract, unproven and unconstitutional notion of security.

Furthermore, the very definition of sharing information at all requires that you do it with a third party. So does the ODNI suggest that the government be privy to communication between me and my doctor? Lawyer? Wife?! That we're even at the point that government officials are asking these questions is proof that the government has grown too big and powerful for the good of the people.

“When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.” -Thomas Jefferson

"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." -James Madison

Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium.

Re:Executive Power (1)

lennier1 (264730) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343301)

Private parties can easily ruin your life, but compared to the government they're still playing in the amateur league.

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to f (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343327)

...except unless of course you stand in the careerpath of an eager and triggerhappy procecutor.

Re:Executive Power (1, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343331)

Seriously? Gee, I don't know... maybe it's because those private parties can't ruin your fucking life like a government can?

Hello? Your student loans called. Something about ruining your life? I took a message.

When was the last time Facebook's swat team raided someone's house, taking all posessions and ruining their job/social image?

Depends... Ever posted a link to a torrent?

Now granted if a company the size of Facebook decided to target an individual, that person would have a very hard time defending due to the large mismatch in resources. But this kind of this doesn't happen often, because it's not really profitable.

That's adorable. You do realize that they are targetting individuals, right? That's their whole business plan. The more data you volunteer with your name on it, the more valuable your marketing profile becomes, which they sell in aggregate to third parties.

On the other hand, targetting alleged law-breaking individuals is part of the government's job and is a regular occurence.

Yes, amazingly, the government does try to put a priority on investigating, arresting, and charging people who engage in criminal activity like murder, rape, or double parking.

The government is granted a lot of power for the good of society -- power to decide the fate of any citizen or company. In exchange for that power, they are held to a much higher standard and have a responsibility to implement the most stringent safeguards. However inconvenient those safeguards might be, it's the price of maintaining public confidence.

Actually, they aren't. The power is derived from the consent of the governed. I think there's something about that in the Declaration of Independence. And as far as higher standards... I think you're mistaken. The standards have been astonishingly low ever since the Patriot Act was enacted, and continues to drop like a lead balloon. And there is no public confidence in the government... approval level is right now somewhere around 28%, last I checked.

Now with all that out of the way, the reason why people don't trust the government isn't because of any of the things you mentioned. I think I've made that rather clear. The reason people don't trust the government is because much of what you hear about in the news and elsewhere is politically slanted. The government is taking punitive action against people for political reasons on a regular basis. And they trust corporations more because they're not paying to be persecuted by them -- it's an exchange of goods and services. Perhaps an unequal exchange, even a grossly unfair exchange, but willing nonetheless. Taxes aren't voluntary. As well, corporations aren't as often politically motivated as they are profit-oriented. While that may in practice result in even greater evils in society, people understand the desire for profit. Nobody says "I think I'll be poor!" So greed is something most people can identify with, unlike the government, whose persecutions, show trials, and ever-shifting political landscape, eventually winds up shitting on something you value. It's this inconsistency that makes the government untrustworthy... and it comes from the fact that the government isn't one large organization -- it's a bunch of them, often with opposing goals, and working at cross-purposes. The end result often appears both random and malicious. Some would argue it goes beyond mere appearance and is actually random and malicious, but that's a discussion for another day.

TL;DR - The government is political. Corporations aren't, they're profit-oriented.

Re:Executive Power (1)

HiThere (15173) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343491)

In the declaration of independence it talks about the government deriving it's "just powers" from the consent of the governed. I doubt that the signers would have considered the powers being discussed as just. I certainly don't.

P.S.: I don't think governmental prosecutions are random. Just unpredicable. Perhaps chaotic.

Oh it's even worse (3, Insightful)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343449)

If they raid your house they can just confiscate your stuff and basically claim "Well I'm not finding you guilty but I can find your possessions guilty and therefore I can just take it since property doesn't have rights." (IE They can just claim "This stuff was involved with drugs therefore it's totally legal for me to take it without due process." (How this shit isn't against the 8th amendment is beyond me. IE The maximum penalty for someone who has not been convicted of anything should be $0.)

Re:Executive Power (3, Interesting)

arisvega (1414195) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343501)

Seriously? Gee, I don't know... maybe it's because those private parties can't ruin your fucking life like a government can?

I do not think that it is just that. Some years back when Facebook started, one could have an account by providing a VALID ACADEMIC email address ONLY- that, implied that one had to do with a serious social academic tool that allowed to connect with other academics, and not yet another place to post pictures of cats and sandwiches. So many people bited and just gave away their personal information. Of course, Facebook turned a couple of years later, showing its real face and bringing chat to the masses, and it was only then that people started not giving away their real names.

When was the last time Facebook's swat team raided someone's house, taking all posessions and ruining their job/social image?

Indirectly, all the time: do you seriously think that there is no backdoor for the authorities in Facebook?

Cannabis Decriminalization (0)

jdogalt (961241) | 1 year,10 days | (#44342989)

Z seems to have taken a stronger stand for ideals than Google (but I might be biased, time to go smoke a bowl of good ol' Kansas Free State Homegrown :)

Easy answer (4, Informative)

Brett Buck (811747) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343011)

Because Facebook can't come after you will full force of arms, put you in jail, and otherwise make your life miserable or unlivable by misusing your information.

Re:Easy answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343091)

Really? Huh. Strangely, I was going to guess the easier answer was "OMG I CAN GET VIRTUAL SHINIES FOR MY FAKE FARM OMG OMG". Oh, well. I guess I'm just underestimating Facebook users, and they're all actively making every decision they make on that website specifically to stick it to The Man (for a very restricted, convenient definition of "the man")!

it's published data. (3, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343309)

Really? Huh. Strangely, I was going to guess the easier answer was "OMG I CAN GET VIRTUAL SHINIES FOR MY FAKE FARM OMG OMG". Oh, well. I guess I'm just underestimating Facebook users, and they're all actively making every decision they make on that website specifically to stick it to The Man (for a very restricted, convenient definition of "the man")!

is the data given away for the virtual shinies any good anyhow? in the context of nsa spying it's very different. stuff you share.. I mean PUBLISH on facebook is stuff you CHOOSE TO PUBLISH. I would imagine there would be a pretty big outcry if facebook started selling your private messaging on facebook and if facebook installed sw on your computer to spy all your mailing activities then facebook execs would be facing jail..

what are they going to do with your cat pictures that you wanted intentionally to publish on teh internets anyways? and with the information that you play a public social game of farming chickens and are publicly showing your support for legalization? if your facebook likes were private then the reason for doing facebook likes goes away. the point of clicking like is to show publicly that you "like" that thing.

if the government were doing public polls, heck, then they might be also getting information people want to give to them.

Re:Easy answer (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343099)

To hell with jail or death; I'm far more worried they'll send the IRS.

Re:Easy answer (0)

jdogalt (961241) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343123)

Because Facebook can't come after you will full force of arms, put you in jail, and otherwise make your life miserable or unlivable by misusing your information.

But their friends in the Mafia can. Of course the gubernment, including the FBI/CIA/NSA are supposed to protect us from organized criminals. But as history teaches us (camden 28 documentary) the government often seems more inclined to hire the Mafia to commit it's organized criminal activity, than to police them and protect us from them.

Re:Easy answer (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343253)

If they wanted to, they could certainly do the 2nd part. They can't legally blackmail you, but there are plenty of legal things they could do to make your life miserable. For example, they could start websites to name-and-shame people who hold particular unpopular views. As long as they accurately identified the views, that wouldn't be libelous.

Re:Rhetorical question (4, Insightful)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343513)

Easy answer is not to respond.

The question is a false premise. It's not the same people giving info to Facebook but not wanting the government to have it. A small group of privacy advocates are arguing on behalf of those who don't understand what giving information away can do.

Lots of people have no problem with government - if they want to read my shopping lists, or listen to me talk to my wife or kids about whatever, let them.

The question is only valid for a small subset of people - and I say first you would have to find them, and then ask them.

Plus, we are not "giving information to Facebook" - we are giving it to our friends, and the fact that Facebook has to have the data is transparent, and largely not understood. I think that explains it much better.

The question was poorly formulated because it was supposed to be a rhetorical "gotcha" that made you think - well when you say it like that, the government can have whatever it wants to have. And so many people fell into the trap of considering it a real question that deserves an answer.

It's opt in? (3, Insightful)

DeadDecoy (877617) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343017)

It's opt in and facebook doesn't have the authority to send a swat team to my door? Sure the government can read facebook posts and then send the swat team, but in that case, I'm explicitly putting information out in the open. With a telephone call or email, I have an implicit assumption (a big one nowadays), of privacy.

Re:It's opt in? (2)

IndianaJonesSidekick (2991527) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343093)

3000 years ago, a king wrote that even if you speak a word in your own bedroom, a little bird will fly away and tell the king. It is in the Bible. Technology hasn't really changed the game. Most people still trust the government, and report anything "unusual" to it. Most crimes against you will be done by those close to you; friends and family. That is the experience of my legal friends.

Re:It's opt in? (4, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343127)

Even if you are explicitly putting data out in the open, the government shouldn't be slurping it up. They should have reason to cast their gaze.

pretty sleazy argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343023)

since you decided you want to carry a cellphone, whats wrong with the government having a log of
your location for the last few years?

FB posters choose (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343025)

what they post, the govt chooses what they snoop. A world of difference.

Re:FB posters choose (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343079)

what they post, the govt chooses what they snoop. A world of difference.

This. I've never understood the privacy outrage against a site where you voluntarily choose what to post or not, and where you control who you want to share what with. And I've never found the Facebook privacy settings or changes difficult to control at all.

militarized police forces (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343027)

private parties won't burst into my house in the middle of the night

Neither (5, Insightful)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343029)

Have canceled my FB account a long time ago, but still caon't opt out of the government.

Re: Neither (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343061)

^^^ Amen

Re:Neither (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343133)

Sure you can. You can opt out of the government any time you want. Renounce your citizenship and move somewhere else. Well, that's backwards, move somewhere else, then renounce your citizenship.

Now, you may not _want_ to do that, but you _can_ do that.

Re:Neither (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343295)

Actually, the u.s. makes it really difficult to renounce. If you renounce you suddenly owe the gov a shit ton of taxes. And, there's a large cancellation fee on top of it. Then they hunt you to the ends of the Earth. Now you might suggest instead that you just move to another country and not renounce, but it turns out even if you're working in a completely different country the u.s. still claims income tax on you.

Re:Neither (1)

demonlapin (527802) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343297)

Currently a waiting list several years long for renouncing citizenship.

Re:Neither (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343519)

It wouldn't be the same wait time in every country..

See http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1481

Re:Neither (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343363)

why should they move somewhere else just because they don't want to contract with the usurped federal government any more?

Re:Neither (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343495)

> Sure you can. You can opt out of the government any time you want. Renounce your citizenship and move somewhere else. Well, that's backwards, move
> somewhere else, then renounce your citizenship.

GP should have said more precisely: You cannot opt out of government without moving somewhere else. No problem with FB in that regard.

Re:Neither (4, Insightful)

Teckla (630646) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343137)

Have canceled my FB account a long time ago, but still caon't opt out of the government.

I find this attitude short-sighted and sad. You can influence your government. It's hard work -- you have to get involved, and stay involved -- but the government is ultimately beholden to the will of the people. If you don't like it, work to change it.

Or just throw up your hands in defeat like most people, but then you don't really have any right to complain about the results.

Kudos for dropping Facebook, though. Given their history of constant "oops, did I invade your privacy again? oops, did I quietly add another opt-out feature? oops, is my misleading UI making you choose the wrong things again?", nobody should use or trust Facebook.

Re:Neither (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343245)

Sounds like a lot of effort for something we're paying for.

If you're paying money for something, it should work like you want it to.

Re:Neither (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343311)

And yet, people complain when those paying more money try to have more influence!

Re:Neither (3, Informative)

Fuzzums (250400) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343531)

I find this attitude short-sighted and sad. You can influence your government. It's hard work -- you have to get involved, and stay involved -- but the government is ultimately beholden to the will of the people.

Awww. Come here and let me hug you. You're too sweet!!!

We can vote, but governments are run by money and corporations.

Re:Neither (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343161)

The only true freedom is death.

Re:Neither (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343511)

Let's see: you could let your driver's license and passport lapse, your credit cards expire, close your bank accounts, use only cash, keep your cash and birth certificate in a personal safe, cancel your phone lines, cancel your TV (maybe that part isn't so bad), cancel your internet connectivity and only use connections at coffee shops (and even then, use only TOR to surf), have no accounts with Google, Facebook, et al ... am I missing anything?

I think that would go a fair ways towards anonymity, but, frankly still doesn't unsubscribe you from the "government citizen tracking program." There are still cameras, spooks, undercover agents, snitches, opportunistic assholes and so on. And it would be a pretty limited, boring and shitty way to live in the 21st century.

Really, you'd have to live in a cave and be 100% self-sufficient to avoid this. And even then, you might be stumbled upon by chance encounter.

Because Facebook can't throw you in jail... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343031)

Or worse. People know Facebook is whoring out your data to sell you (stuff).

The government is out to arrest you, or send a drone down your ass when you're out of the country. There is no good reason for the government to be snooping on you other than to make you out to be a criminal.

It's about who's in control of what's shared. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343037)

When I share something on facebook, it's voluntary.

When you snoop on me confiding something privately to a close friend or family member, it's not voluntary.

Why would that be hard to understand?

Why Private disclosure but not government? (1)

hairry (2942659) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343041)

Ummm... Google does not have the express intention and authority to throw me in jail and keep me there ... for any of the many inadvertent federal felonies I may or may not have committed, depending on the attitude, mood, and politics of the DA.

Duh (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343053)

Because they don't have a monopoly on coercive power. Dufus.

stupid question (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343055)

"Why is it that people are willing to expose large quantities of information to private parties but don't want the Government to have the same information?"

Maybe because those private parties don't have anywhere near the same ability to ruin our lives as the most powerful government on Earth? Last I checked, Facebook doesn't have covert prisons and a predilection for drones. How clueless must you be to find this question baffling?

None of your business (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343063)

Why is it that people are willing to expose large quantities of information to private parties but don't want the Government to have the same information?

That's none of your business, asshole. Move on.

More than ability to tax, is the lack of sharing. (5, Interesting)

IndianaJonesSidekick (2991527) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343065)

I was going to start by talking about the fact that social media can't come after you with guns and exact taxes. Previous commenters covered that well. But government doesn't share the info they collect. They sit on it. At least with Facebook, when I share information with friends, there is a good expectation of reciprocity. With government, it is almost all one way. If government made it clear WHAT information they had on me, and gave me an opportunity to annotate their observations, and if they made decisions affecting me with MY INPUT beyond and above the secret info they collect, I'd have no problem with the information they already collect. I mean, we can't stop them. At every period in history, government has collected as much information as they can. What is important is transparency and accountability. The glass ceiling isn't just for women and racial minorities. If we're going to live in a feudal society, we should at least be honest about it. I hate the pretty illusions and lies.

AWESOME FP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343067)

Cl3arly. There

Simple (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343069)

Facebook doesn't disappear people.

FB doesn't tax (3, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343077)

Facebook doesn't take money from my paycheck. And if I want to stop using Facebook, I just stop.

prison (3, Informative)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343081)

Because the U.S. government imprisons more of its population than any country on earth. For laws most people have no idea that they are breaking, since there are so many, and so complicated (we are not lawyers). Not to mention the police murders and raids for nonviolent offenses.

Protection (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343085)

Simple. The government can protect us from Facebook, but Facebook would be hard pressed to protect us from the government.

Re: Protection (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343113)

Awesomeness...

Obvious answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343101)

The companies that people give all that data to use it for advertising and as a product they SELL for money (data about you to other advertisers.)

The government is collecting some of the same data- and a LOT more, without any permission granted, and using that data to pursue anyone they wish to.
And the government has the ability to incarcerate anyone they choose without due process of law, at this point.

The comparison, even more simplified:
Online companies (IE social media, etc):
send us ads and spam
sell data we have chosen to publish to other parties

Government:
surveill our associations, data and communications at will
able to lock up for extended time any person in the US without the need to press criminal charges

And you wonder why people are upset???
Are you really THAT stupid?

Because.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343107)

Facebook can not come to my door because of something I did outside of the site. Tell me the government won't come after me if I tell them what I did which they did not like. No one likes a rat and facebook is getting close...

Sorry I never opted in (4, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343111)

I never consented to giving any of my personal data to Facebook. I've never joined. Why is the government using that as an excuse to invade my privacy?

Re:Sorry I never opted in (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343347)

well, but you posted here.
which gets us to the point.. all information you put on facebook you post there. for other people to view.

the government is arguing in this case that since you don't mind people joining your public rally for gay rights then why are you upset that government posted a guy in your bedroom? it sounds stupid if put that way and it sounds stupid put in the facebook context. what you place as public on facebook is public.. what you put as public on your google+ is public - that doesn't mean that you want your fucking gmail to be public access.

Film of the week... Idiocracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343129)

Think this is a good one to point out the future of the US... and later Europe then the rest of the world

Jail (1)

headhot (137860) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343139)

Because Facebook can't throw political protesters in jail.

Volume of data collected (4, Insightful)

joe_frisch (1366229) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343145)

People have already posted about the government's power to do harm. Another issue is that the government is able to collect from all sources. Many people (including myself) post limited information associated with each online activity and also have a set of information that is never (intentionally) posted online. This prevents any company from forming a complete and possibly dangerous profile. The government has the ability to combine all of these sets of data and the budget to use very sophisticated data mining. This places people at risk of statistically matching some sort of undesirable (child molester, terrorist, etc) even though they themselves are innocent.

The data is also a very dangerous weapon if the government were to become more authoritarian. We've already seen a number of our constitutional rights weakened in the last decade or two - it is not beyond imagination the they will be weakened much further. If we at some point have a politically unified government there is the concern that it might use this data against political opponents.

If the government firewalled its own data, it would not be so bad. I don't mind the DOD having attack aircraft and tanks, but I would not give my local police department this technology. In the same way, if a federal organization who's only mission were to protect against external threats had full access to data I would not be very concerned, but under the current rules this data is share with local law enforcement.

Really? (1)

ErikTheRed (162431) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343153)

When Facebook screws up its data mining, I see a stupidly-placed ad on my wall.

When the US government screws up its data mining, you get a million dead Iraqis.

Predicted response from Robert S. Litt and his ilk: "Iraqis don't vote in our elections... they don't donate to our political campaigns.... I don't get it...?"

Probably because Facebook doesn't deploy guns? (3, Interesting)

diamondmagic (877411) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343155)

There's a knock one day at your door. There's a man at the door, he says "You must give me your money, you don't have a choice in the matter, but don't worry, I'm going to give it away in your name."

You wouldn't trust a crackpot like that with your property, why should you place trust when that crackpot is the government?

"...doesn't qualify 'on a constitutional level' as invasive to our personal privacy."

Besides being completely wrong, it shows how little the government thinks of property rights. The information belongs to your phone providers/Facebook/etc, it's their hard drives, you need a narrowly-scoped warrant to compel them to hand over that information, end of discussion.

But even suppose there were no property rights in this context. Could a regular person, or even a well funded company like Facebook, possibly get away with demanding personal records from other companies? No? Then it's not really public information, is it?

Re: Probably because Facebook doesn't deploy guns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343389)

That's correct. Facebook hasn't deployed the police or a swat team to your house. YET!

Apple deployed the police to someones residence, who found a prototype phone that wandered out their front door. If you think it's above Facebook to do that as well, you're more naive than the DNI.

Why? A few reasons: (3, Informative)

Ihlosi (895663) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343177)

1. You can stay away from facebook.

2. You can sue facebook without fear of being turned down due to "national security".

Can't realistically sue the government (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343195)

FISA courts have seen to it that we can't sue the government. I can't prevent the government from demanding service providers to comply with requests. When a government spies on their own people, that is when the people need to demand the government end thoe practices.

I can sue facebook AND I can elect to not post any information on facebook - which I exercise. I'm not happy that facebook tracks almost everyone on the internet. For most people, blocking that tracking is impossible. I'm not even certain that my attempts are 100% successful.

Governments have proven they can't be trusted. The USA government has proven they will kill people around the world without due process. UK, Australian, South African, Turkish, Egyptian, France, Spain, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and too many other countries have all proven that they cannot be trusted either.

BTW, I was a government contractor for 7 yrs.
I think the NSA should be the geek-squad for other government agencies cleaning up network and computer virus - NOTHING else.

Perhaps the worse thing is that governments are controlled by politicians - EVERYONE KNOWS that politicians cannot be trusted.

I don't trust either. (2)

technomom (444378) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343213)

I don't trust either but I can walk away from Facebook.

Re:I don't trust either. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343563)

USC Title 8 Chapter 12 Subchapter III Part III 1481 Loss of nationality by native-born or naturalized citizen; voluntary action; burden of proof; presumptions
"...who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts..."

So actually you can!

Aggregation (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343235)

Apart from the comments about the obvious power of the government to screw you up and usually let you pay for it, too, there is the obvious problem of aggregation:

If I see people on the street when I take a walk, that's a random occurence. I some person is constantly hanging onto the window sill and watching everybody coming and leaving, and remembers everybody coming and leaving, it's annoying.

If someone is collecting every piece of my life that is collectable from anybody, at all times, this is much worse than the neighbor hanging from the window sill. And telling it to the government in minute detail? That's leading a Stasified life. It means one needs to remember the circumstances about every detail of one's personal life because it might be to one's disadvantage if one gets dragged before some court and can't answer questions.

It means that every bit of one's personal life will be up for blackmailing, excuse me, plea bargaining. Of course, if one's friends' friends have done something fishy, and one leads an irregular personal life or has some secrets one avoids getting exposed, one is fair game for getting judged and assassinated, by secret courts and secret police.

It's Stasi and Gestapo all over, except that those were not out of control of the government and bullshitting their "controlling" bodies just as much as the public.

Easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343247)

Wow... really not a difficult question. I control what I put, or don't put, on Facebook. I have some control
over who can see it. The information the government is illegally seizing can be used without controls for
any purpose, is potentially information about relationships I wish to keep private (for whatever reason). The
Constitution says I'm innocent until proven guilty. At the moment, I haven't even been charged with a
crime, so what's the government doing gathering potential evidence against me?

The difference (1)

natetk (2985955) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343249)

"...volunteered personal data", and "Our willingness to give our information to companies and social networking ". The government doesn't care if we are willing or not, and will still take our personal data.

Choice (1)

newnerdyuser (191770) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343267)

I cannot believe no one has said choice yet.

Choice. (2)

nine-times (778537) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343289)

I'm not sure I do trust Facebook more than I trust the government, but there's one key difference here: We're giving our data to Facebook voluntarily.

Facebook is like handing the keys of your house over to a relative stranger-- let's say a cleaning service-- knowing there's a possibility that they'll snoop around and go through your stuff. It might be a bad idea, but you want the service being provided. You choose to hand over access by choice, knowing what you're getting into. What the NSA is doing, to extend this analogy, is like someone breaking into your house and snooping around, going through your stuff, and doing it in secret so you never even knew they were in there.

Facebook can't put you in jail (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343291)

Um, duh

Better question... (5, Informative)

msauve (701917) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343299)

"Litt explained that our expectation of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once we've offered it to a third party. "

Why does Litt flat out lie? Smith v Maryland, which this claim is based on, does NOT say that. The ruling was based on an expectation of privacy assumed when one voluntarily gives information to a third party. It does not address an expectation of privacy explicitly and contractually promised (e.g. a "privacy policy"), nor does it cover information not offered voluntarily (e.g. incoming caller ID, location information, etc.).

Even more significantly, ignoring the legalities, spying on your citizens is simply the wrong thing to do. Litt, and other defenders of these surveillance programs are confusing ethics and law. The US Government seems not to care what the local laws are when criticizing rights violations in other countries, but use the law to defend rights violations at home.

Mostly Ignorance (1)

EMG at MU (1194965) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343333)

If you ever try to explain to a lay-person how and to what extent facebook and google know everything about you they are usually not very supportive of it. The people who don't mind are either not sharing anything significant or just don't care because online privacy and data mining isn't something they are really concerned with as it doesn't directly affect their daily lives.

Most people that use facebook don't truly understand the nature of facebook's business model and the technical expertise deployed to harvest their data. Much in the same way that most people can't fathom the extent to which the government can know everything you do on a computer. It's just not within their realm of understanding, most people don't even really understand how the internet works on a basic level.

I think that if people really understood that Enemy of the State (the movie) is a pretty good depiction of the state of government surveillance they would not support it.
It's not fair to conclude that since people are ok with facebook they are ok with being put into a NSA database. They don't understand the consequences of either.

Society = people that share morality (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343345)

On what do people base their trust? Shared moral pursuits. Wanting of independence and freedom are good examples, but so is relationship with God.

Are your moral views consistent? If not, you will be thought of as a hypocrite. Same goes for the goverment, whose behavior and ethics roughly resemble that of the general public.

For one it's impossible to claim to be merciful and just when you detain people without trials and try to break them with torture. The American government has lost a lot of credibility during the last century, when the system has become less principles in unwavering (Christianity, defending the Constitution) ethics and more concerned with pandering for the megacorps and their consumer drones.

IMHO, well-tested principles should reign over politically practical "utilitarian" (end justifies the means) views, otherwise there is too much drift in the society's moral fabric towards relativism, after which alienation, disillusionment, and demoralization triumph any sense of common good.

This is less about trusting Facebook (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343351)

And more about *distrusting* government.

Pot, kettle (1)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343353)

Ok, in this case should be a black hole calling another black hole black. But at least you can avoid one of them (not joining, installing extensions like Disconnect [disconnect.me] , etc). And as far i know, facebook don't hack your own servers or the servers of your isps/cellphone companies/hosting companies to track what you do in your own space, or plant backdoors just waiting for the moment they will be useful, or force other, unrelated companies to install spyware for you. And of course, don't have such real life impacts like putting you in jail, expelling from US, or just send a drone to your area.

And even if were that evil and with that broad reach (that nothing in earth have it, no foreing government, no organization, no independent private companies, just US government and associated private companies, join kaos, cobra, and all the bond villains organizations and you still didnt reach what US government is doing) pointing that someone does something bad too don't turns the wrong that you into right.

Two simple reasons (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343357)

1) Facebook can't throw you in prison if they don't like the information you've given them.

2) You can stop giving Facebook your information if you decide you no longer trust them with it.

The government has taxes and jails. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343373)

The most rational reason is that laws change and what you're legally doing today, can be retroactively illegal tomorrow. The tax code is the most common reason; Changing constantly and using data collected previously to take more money of you now.
On a more problematic note, is religious affiliation and sexual preferences. You never know which joker will run to office next with the "think of the children" or "following the bible\Jesus example..." slogans.

Confession nerd (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343375)

I'd actually prefer being held at gunpoint than having a facebook account...

Uninformed, unenlightened, on another planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343379)

The mere fact that someone in a position of such authority, control, and responsibility
could be so out of touch as even to ask this question is kind of worrisome. Even beyond
all the excellent comments made so far is the observation that the information we might put
on Facebook is fundamentally a different kind of thing that a list of all my phone calls, or a list
of all the web sites I visited, or all the e-mails I sent and received. I think it's time for a
peaceful revolt. Call your Congresscritters and help stop this.

easy answer (1)

eviljav (68734) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343381)

Facebook hasn't murdered anyone.

How kafka-esque (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343383)

Because facebook lacks any authority to act upon the information which is ideally volunteered. And they don't run guantanamo. Duh.

Danger Will Robinson! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343385)

The danger isn't in sharing SOME information to DIFFERENT entitities.
The real danger is in how ALL DATA gets collaborated in central databases and WHO can access that!
It's a huge threat to real democracy and real freedom, as such databases can be abused for surveillance, infiltration, sabotage and elimination operations without anyone even knowing it!

Now, where's my paycheck for doing your job?

Because Google can't jail or harass you (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343395)

'Why is it that people are willing to expose large quantities of information to private parties but don't want the Government to have the same information?,' he asked."

Because I don't care if Amazon thinks I might want to buy pee pee catheters because I also bought Wells' 1984. I do care if government tracks who I talk to politically.

And even at that, not so much me as any candidate I might like.

Because I can FUCKING SUE the private parties. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343425)

1) I can FUCKING SUE the private parties, in a class actions, and fry their ass. The government says "state secretes" and it goes away.

2) I can chose NOT to do business with private parties (I and my family member have no Facebook or other social media accounts for exactly that reason). Can't realistically do that with the government.

3) Private parties can't send my ass to Gitmo or spend a million bucks making my life hell trying to find some way to put me in jail.

There is a difference? (1)

enigmatic (122657) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343429)

Since the government can harvest what they need via agreements/PRISM/backdoors/secret courts,
what you give Facebook you give the US Intelligence services which in turn are part of the government.

So we are contributing to each. Well I have never had a FB account and never plan to have one
but that is just me. I enjoy my friends in person, more than poking them on a website.

Well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343439)

Because Facebook has only been fucking people over for 10 years, where the government has for centuries. Lesser of two evils?

Why are people idiots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343441)

Whats this article saying, is it asking why people are idiots? I trust no one with my personal information, government or facebook, it doesn't mattter, at the end of the day its just some idiot infront of a computer pressing buttons, scary.

it's very simple... (1)

Jed Cavins (2991585) | 1 year,10 days | (#44343443)

Volunteered information is at my discression and is not being siphoned or taken from me. I am volunteering whatr information I give.

As the IRS showed us (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44343545)

if you stand up to the government, you're going to get body checked by a large organization that can take everything you have. If you speak up, you're going to get targeted for special treatment. This has occurred with both major parties in office. Because the bureaucracy is large and nearly permanent, with oppressive powers only an armed to the teeth State can have.

You voted in this authoritarian government and gave it the power to do harm. Vote them out of office and help dismantle the bureaucracy before it overwhelms us.

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