Feeds

EFF seeks answers from Facebook police

Surveillance 2.0

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

As law enforcement agents increase their reliance on Facebook and MySpace to nab suspects, legal watchdogs are demanding that officials disclose exactly how they use social networking sites.

In a complaint filed Tuesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued five US agencies that failed to respond to freedom-of-information requests seeking documents laying out their use of social-networking sites in investigations, data collection, and surveillance.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, comes as recent news reports show that federal authorities have stepped up their use of social-networking sites to investigate and arrest potential targets. In September, Mexican officials arrested a man suspected of bank fraud in the US after he bragged on Facebook that he was living the good life in Cancun.

The FBI also rifled through Facebook for dirt on coder Aaron Swartz after he helped an open-government activist amass a public and free copy of millions of federal court records, according to Wired.com.

Even local authorities are joining the social-networking craze. Police in La Crosse, Wisconsin, are said to have charged a university student with underage drinking. Their evidence: a picture on Facebook of him with a can of beer in his hand. Adam Bauer said he suspects he was duped by an unknown person he had accepted as a friend. (The person's friend request included a picture of an attractive woman.)

He was among at least eight people who said they had been cited for underage drinking based on photos on social-networking sites, according to The La Crosse Tribune.

The EFF said it filed the complaint after more than a dozen FOIA requests went unanswered. The agencies include the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Treasury, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

"Although the Federal Government clearly uses social-networking websites to collect information, often for laudable reasons, it has not clarified the scope of its use of social-networking websites or disclosed what restrictions and oversight is in place to prevent abuse," the complaint stated. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw
Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android
As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.