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Homeland Security and Facebook

With social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr gaining more users each day, the government has taken notice of the ease with which people are sharing private and intimate moments of their lives with friends, family members and sometimes, even strangers. These moments can sometimes be used by government agencies and officials to keep track of the motivations behind what people are doing offline, in their real lives, and if these people are compromising our security or skirting laws, The Department of Homeland Security will likely find out.

Facebook monitored by homeland securityOnline privacy concerns are in the headlines regarding how much information major social networking sites are sharing with corporations, other social network members, or the general public. People are being fired from jobs, or not being hired at all, for their online depictions of offline behaviors. It seems that the members of these sites are more than willing to create post after post (or Tweet!) about the details of their lives without regard for how much of their information is actually available to law enforcement and Homeland Security officials. The government has taken notice of this ease with which people trust the ubiquitous cyberspace and have been monitoring people’s online activity, even going as far as “friending” people online, in order to monitor their day-to-day lives and find reasons to pursue criminal charges for anything from marriage and immigration fraud to threats against major events, such as the 2010 Olympics.

The Department of Homeland Security has taken on much of the work with monitoring these social networking websites. In terms of protecting the security of the country, and with the increase in online activity and the ability to focus on potential criminals and threats, the government may need more people with degrees in law enforcement or Homeland Security to take on the increased workload stemming from the social networking monitoring. Whether you feel it is fair or not that the government is using an innocent means of communication in order to target potential threats or criminals, the fact remains that in the long run, these activities can benefit our safety.

It is said that nothing on the Internet is private. Computer and network hacking, phishing, and other unethical practices that involve compromising people’s private information are still concerning, even as information is leaked through social networking channels. But, the best way to protect private information is to keep it private, online or offline, and keep your own social networking profile and life as uncontroversial as possible.

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