This week, a government/privacy watchdog group, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), released a report on the tactics the United States Government is using to spy on its own citizens. The Report reviews a 2008 memo where the government encourages federal agents to befriend individuals on social network sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace…etc, to take advantage of the person’s willingness to share information; allowing the federal agents to spy on the unknowing “friend.”
The one memo states, “Narcissistic tendencies in many people fuel a need to have a large group of ‘friends’ link to their pages, and many of these people accept cyber-friends that they don’t even know.” As such, your pictures or status updates may be used by federal and local governmental agents as a basis to begin an investigation on you and may even be the basis for a search warrant and your arrest.
As such, one must be extremely cautious in who he/she “befriends” and whether his/her account is set to private or public. With the Government seeking to further erode the 4th Amendment with legislation that would allow it to intercept emails and all other forms of electronic communication, whether encrypted or not, it is not surprising that it is utilizing such tactics to invade willing participants’ lives. Think twice before you add someone to your friends list because you may not know that person’s true motives.