WASHINGTON D.C. – Your new “friend” just might be the Department of Homeland Security .
The U.S. Goverment is on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, World of Warcraft, Star Trek Online, Match.com, Chemistry.com, Flux, Xbox Live, just to name a few.
A document obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, makes clear that Federal Agencies are using Internet services to engage and observe suspects, their acquaintances, and ordinary citizens who may be associated with a target.
Federal Agents can profile a targets activities, friends, pictures, alibis, to provide a comprehensive detailed analysis of the target when combined with other records such as bank and credit card transactions, shopping habits, medical records, to give a complete in-depth look at the target.
Ten years ago the FBI kept watch over AOL, MSN, Yahoo, and IRC chat rooms to catch sexual predators. Those text only chat services are archaic compared with the modern social media experience, which can contain mountains of personal data, information for agents to sift through for developing a profile and evidence.
The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), a digital rights group, obtained the Justice Department document when it sued The Department of Justice and five other agencies. The 33-page document underscores the importance of social networking sites to U.S. authorities. The foundation said it would publish the document on its Web site on Tuesday.