Facebook’s Privacy Settings Loosening Up With U.S. Law Enforcement
According to Reuters, the FBI, DEA and ICE have found hope in federal judges, who are authorizing warrants to search individuals’ Facebook accounts, following up on investigations from rape to terrorism. Law enforcement agencies already have manuals on how to request data from Facebook, and the number of warrants - none of which have been challenged, in spite of violating a person's Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure - has almost doubled in 2011.
Although this isn’t entirely surprising - and could even seem irrelevant for the average Facebook user - anyone’s messages, status updates, links to videos and photographs, calendars, events, wall posts and even rejected friend requests could end up ‘entertaining’ “Big Brother”. Especially these days, in the (likely) event of identity theft by rogue crackers, who have made a sport out of hacking the websites of some of our favorite brands, local banks, top government agencies and even the network of some police departments.
At least if you aren’t a criminal, you don’t have to worry; you may still hide the odd photo album from your HR manager or the (potentially upsetting) fun status update from your ex. But if you are up to some serious illegal activities, chances are, your Facebook profile - and by association those of your acquaintances - may now become the subject of severe scrutiny by U.S. law enforcement. Facebook isn't obliged to inform us about such warrants, and or identity mishaps, so we will never know (not if) when “someone” is snooping around. There is no need to be paranoid (just yet), just assume relative privacy for everything online, and behave. [Wink]