US Government Monitoring Social Networking Sites

By Sharon Weinberger|AoL News

The Department of Homeland Security has begun using social networking sites such as Facebook to detect citizenship fraud.

Think the people looking at your Facebook page just happen to share your interest in Quentin Tarantino movies? Maybe, but if you’re applying for citizenship, it could be a government agent trying to cybersnoop on your daily activities.

The Department of Homeland Security has been mining online social networking sites to detect citizenship fraud, according to government documents released by a nonprofit civil liberties group. The documents also show that DHS monitored social networking data to look for potential violent incidents during the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

The documents, posted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, were obtained as part of a lawsuit it brought under the Freedom of Information Act, which provides public access to government records. “Of the two disclosures, the citizenship verification initiative is perhaps the most disconcerting, both for its assumptions about people who use social networking sites and for its potentially deceptive and unethical approach to collecting information,” Jennifer Lynch, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote of the new disclosures.

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