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Friday, October 15, 2010

Dept of Homeland Security has been mining online social networking sites 2 detect citizenship fraud&violence?

I don't know about you, but it seems our government is growing bigger by the day. What happened to search warrants and personal privacy rights? I guess anymore anything you post online is not private even if you have a private profile?? Makes you wonder especially after the case of Cheyenne Irish who was removed from her parents by DCYF in NH because her father had a history of abuse and firearms charges or was it because he is affiliated with the political group Oath Keepers online? However, according to news reports, she was returned today after a judge ruled they didn't have enough evidence to keep the child in state custody.
(Oct. 15) -- 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 Department of Homeland Security has begun using social networking sites such as Facebook to detect citizenship fraud.

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.

In the first case, a 2008 memo on citizenship fraud talks about how the Office of Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) might "friend" suspected fraudsters on sites like Facebook, by taking advantage of "narcissistic tendencies" to learn about their daily activities. "This provides an excellent vantage point for FDNS to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioners who are suspected of fraudulent activities," states the memo, marked "for official use only."

Though the memo provides explicit instructions on how to friend people and obtain access to their postings, a spokesman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service denied that meant it was actually instructing employees to do so. "USCIS does not permit agency personnel to attempt to 'friend' immigration petitioners and their beneficiaries on social networks in an effort to reveal fraud," Chris Bentley, an agency spokesman, told AOL News in a written statement.

A second initiative involved monitoring user-generated data on social networking and news sites during Obama's 2009 inauguration. "[T]hroughout the inauguration, SNMC will look for 'items of interest' in the routine social networking posts on the events, organizations, activities and environment," the briefing read.

The sites to be monitored included Twitter, CNN's iReport, Daily Kos and Flickr, among many others.




 
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