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Government Surveillance of Social Networks Challenged

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley Law School filed a lawsuit against six government agencies seeking to force the disclosure of policies governing the use of social networking sites for investigations. The lawsuit follows over a dozen Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking information from the departments of Defense, Homeland Security (DHS), Justice, and Treasury, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Many of the FOIA requests went unanswered.

The complaint cites media reports describing how government agencies are using social networking sites for surveillance and intelligence gathering. "Although the federal government clearly uses social networking Web sites to collect information, often for laudable reasons, it has not clarified the scope of its use of social networking Web sites or disclosed what restrictions and oversight is in place to prevent abuse," the complaint states.

DHS and several other agencies have responded to FOIA requests and denied having any relevant documents related to using social networking sites for investigations.

From InformationWeek
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