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Facebook and the Government

By Patrick | May 9, 2007

Here’s a great, albeit scary, video I found on the web entitled “Does what happens in the Facebook stay in the Facebook?”. It’s a video about the possible involvement and relationship of Facebook with the federal government. At just 4 minutes in length, it won’t take you long to watch it. I highly encourage you, even beg you, to watch the whole thing. It’s very interesting and I think it’s something that we must raise awareness about. And yes I know, the narrator’s voice is somewhat annoying.

This video correlates to my post earlier this month about how Facebook and MySpace are privacy nightmares. This video sheds light on a different privacy concern however. In my earlier post I was discussing the threats that normal people could pose by using information from the two social networking sites. Now we’re faced with the very possible potential that Facebook has a direct relationship with the federal government and that it may even be involved as a source of data mining for the government. During the past couple years it’s been publicized that these data mining and surveillance programs do exist. Look at the AT&T and NSA story. The Bush wiretapping and surveillance project. No longer does the Facebook/Government relationship seem like just a conspiracy theory.

In my own personal opinion, you are a moron if you put as much information on these websites as is possible. Facebook goes as far as to ask you for everything from movies interests, job history, hometown, phone numbers, email, clubs, sexual orientation, etc. Again, this is why I don’t have an account on either site. I’m not a glutton for attention. I don’t have to have it and I’m sure not going to publish all my personal information for everyone to see.

Another aspect some people haven’t embraced is the fact that employers are starting to use these two sites to screen potential employees. Your next job could be lost or gained based on your Myspace and Facebook profiles. Scary? You bet. Law enforcement has even begun to use these two sites as sources of information, clues, and leads in ongoing investigations and potential threats. Think back to 2006 and the number of school “threats” that were circumvented due to the moron posting his plan and ideas on his Myspace page.

Watch the video, and tell me what you think. Facebook and the Government, not as far fetched as one might hope.

Popularity: 49% [?]

Topics: Anonymity, Government, Identity Theft, Surveillance | 6,469 Comments »

6,469 Responses to “Facebook and the Government”

  1. Google Privacy Policies Receive Scathing Review | The Privacy Guy Says:
    June 11th, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    [...] Facebook and the Government [...]

  2. Ankur Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Interesting video. I’m not sure how much less information the government will have about you if you don’t have a Facebook or MySpace account. I wonder how much useful information they are getting as a result of it.

  3. privacy guy Says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    Ankur,

    You’re probably absolutely right on both counts. However, just as in IT Security you approach it from a defense-in-depth model, this is how I look at Privacy. There is never going to be a single surefire way to remain private in life. Therefore, I attempt to privatize my life in a number of different “layers” per se.

    One of those layers is not having a Facebook or MySpace account. :) And as far as how much useful information they are getting out of everything right now? Probably not a whole lot. This is the transition phase we are living in right now. Everything that is done now, is about the future. Soon, we will be so use to having the government intermingled into our personal affairs that it will be commonplace and will no longer resisted at all. I’ve probably said it before, and I’ll say it again, watch Minority Report for a fairly accurate depiction of life in 20, maybe even 10 years.

    Thanks for the comment Ankur!

  4. Tara Says:
    December 11th, 2007 at 7:43 am

    I heard that facebook was leading to a worldwide govenerment.

  5. Brandon Says:
    January 8th, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU!

  6. Danny Says:
    December 6th, 2008 at 7:06 am

    The entire idea of the Government using Facebook to their advantage is exaggerated.

    Simple. The government has access to your information by original means,eg.social security number- bank statements etc. Why would they bother going through such a petty social network. Yes they might discover what your deepest personal interests are and the dangerous friends you are connected to (Mwhahaha). Come on are they going to use the fact that you enjoy certain hobbies against you in a legal matter???? Unless you are a sociopath/mentally retarded, but then could those types of people open an account in the first place.

    Not being naive, Just think about how the Government ALREADY has access to these things.

  7. rob lantz Says:
    December 19th, 2008 at 12:49 am

    Intesting that i cannot find it on youtube. If it is there it is buried way below the facebook posts on youtube

  8. adoxos Says:
    January 6th, 2009 at 10:32 am

    It is on youtube; simply search “facebook and government” (no quotes). Also, while Danny is correct that the government has access to many/most/all of these records, facebook generally compiles a lot of information into a single place. Further, connections to friends shouldn’t be downplayed, nor should interests. If you’ll remember the scene in the movie Se7en, starring Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, Freeman’s character taps an FBI friend to get a list of “people of interest” based on their public library records; and, in fact, the FBI does monitor library records (http://www.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2002/06/25/fbi-libraries.htm). Maybe it’s not direct evidence of wrongdoing, but it is used to classify and quantify.

  9. Facebook Changes Terms Of Service | The Privacy Guy Says:
    February 16th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    [...] Prepaid Credit CardsFacebook and the GovernmentPassPack Password ManagerCaller ID Spoofing to be Made IllegalThe a.K.a CardAnonymous Prepaid Credit [...]

  10. Jason McKinley Says:
    May 3rd, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    it doesnt bother me that the government uses these websites to get their needs and wants…the thing i dont agree with is that employers using them as a screening tool…people can be very mature,presentable,team leading ect. when it comes to their jobs…but what they do on their own time is their’s; not their potentially future boss!!

  11. Allen K Says:
    May 4th, 2009 at 11:57 am

    So let me get this straight, Mr. McKinley–it’s OK for the government to use this information to protect itself against you, even though it is your government and they work for you, but it’s not OK for a company–that will be depending on you–to protect itself in the same way??

    You got it backwards, bub.

  12. Nova Says:
    July 8th, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Umm where is this video?? Am I missing the big flashing screen saying “CLICK HERE TO WATCH!”?

  13. Lamb Says:
    July 22nd, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Allen K you have it exactly right. Jason you should really rethink your statements. As for the government serving us, i think more people need to realize thats why America was made. To serve the people. Unfortunately, on our way to socialism people are forgetting this.

    Bottomline- We need more govn’t accountability.
    Any suggestions???

  14. Nirak Says:
    September 6th, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Maybe the government was actually behind the creation of or, in direct sponsership the creation of Facebook. What better way to be able to mine data when people voluntarily provide the info. to a free website. Its too bad that some humans are so corrupt.

  15. ardwinna Says:
    September 15th, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Look… unless your facebook profile privacy setting is set up so that EVERYONE can see your profile then you are indeed the idiot. I have my profile set up currently that no one can see anything about me unless they add me as a friend first. I do not add people blindly just because they want to be my “friend.” If you set up your profile to be completely private, NO ONE can email you or see anything about you.

    So before you post that employers can scan you before they hire you, they can only do so if they were added as my friend.

  16. darwinna Says:
    September 24th, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    ardwinna, you think you have it all figured out, huh? try to see the forest through the trees.

  17. Jason Says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Yes, the govenment has access to or can find out most, if not all information contained on social networking sites on thier own. I think the point is that it digitizes all this and more information in a central area..quick search, pattern and facial recognition. All it takes once information is central and digital is a person to come up with an equation to find or show probabiltiy of…its pretty cool!

  18. funny dude Says:
    January 9th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    right now, im out of the country, i met some dude form boston who works here for the us goverment and he hadles their private comunication, we talked for a bit and he told me he doesnt have a facebook account, i asked him why? he didnt answer but by his expression i knew something was up, after a couple of drinks i asked him, does fb have anything to do with the goverment? he laughed loudly and walked away, im closing my fb account.

  19. twisted Says:
    February 4th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    i think it is, an easy way to keep an eye on people, like a big brother in so many words

  20. Alexys Says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    http://nebulizer.newsvine.com/_news/2007/09/20/975004-the-sinister-facebook-farce