The US government has, earlier this year, released documents outlining a new program that involves tracking social networking websites and social media websites. Facebook already has procedures in place, dating back to 2007 and updated yearly, to submit personal information of its users to law enforcement agencies should the need arise. The data that it is willing to hand over ranges from your mobile number and contact details, to your friend lists; from photos you have uploaded and been tagged in, to video posts that you have uploaded; from wall posts to status updates; even your IP address and session cookies. The list goes on. Facebook has long been criticised for its handling of private data and the fact that you can never fully “delete” your account, so those who value their privacy and security will be perturbed to know that Facebook is willing to share your personal information, friends, family, IP address, etc with relevant authorities. There are those who state that, “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”, though this statement has been criticised by many. Are we sleep-walking into a surveillance state? Is the surveillance state already here?
As stated, the potential for government agencies to request personal data that you upload to Facebook is already in place, but that it not the end of social media monitoring. Facebook is but one social media website out of many. All social media users should be aware of the types of information that can legitimately be passed on to various agencies, and the true extent of the monitoring. Earlier this year, Continue reading