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The IRS and FBI are looking for you on Facebook

The Electronic Freedom Foundation has obtained documents through a Freedom of Information Act request that describe how the FBI and IRS use social media websites to investigate persons of interest. The EFF team has learned that several U.S. federal agencies have implemented training courses on how to create fake profiles and search for information using the websites while keeping their real identity secret. The EFF press release suggests that the agencies are taking extensive precautions in using these techniques;

The IRS should be commended for its detailed training that clearly prohibits employees from using deception or fake social networking accounts to obtain information. Its policies generally limit employees to using publicly available information. The good example set by the IRS is in stark contrast to the U.S. Marshalls and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Neither organization found any documents on social networking sites in response to EFF’s request suggesting they do not have any written policies or restrictions upon the use of these websites.

The EFF team continues to collect more documents and information on how the Agencies infiltrating social media websites.

Additional Privacy resources:

EFF: Smart meters pose threat to privacy

Social media privacy: Insurance companies want access to your Facebook

How did Congress pass extension of U.S. Patriot Act? Ask your doctor

Report: Lower Merion School Board was proactively spying on students

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