Twitter Tapping – When the Gov Monitors Facebook, Twitter, and Web 2.0

December 26th, 2009

From the New York Times, an editorial titled Twitter Tapping,

The government is increasingly monitoring Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites for tax delinquents, copyright infringers and political protesters. A public interest group has filed a lawsuit to learn more about this monitoring, in the hope of starting a national discussion and modifying privacy laws as necessary for the online era

This month the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law sued the Department of Defense, the C.I.A. and other federal agencies under the Freedom of Information Act to learn more about their use of social networking sites.

Who needs search warrants and the Patriot Act when people freely volunteer information about themselves onto Facebook, Twitter, and other Web 2.0 sources. And despite any privacy mechanisms these sources may offer, the Government can easily obtain this information.

As I wrote in Omniveillance, Google, Privacy in Public, and the Right to Your Digital Identity: A Tort for Recording and Disseminating an Individual’s Image over the Internet at 209,  “Additionally, with a subpoena, the government has ready access to a free surveillance network, further imperiling our civil liberties.”