The Internet just became more scary. No, not because another round of thieves, hackers or porn sickos are there. It's now the US Government that you need to worry about. The Electronic Frontier Foundation continues to uncover program material that provides unwarranted monitoring on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter… without your permission or knowledge.
Folks – this is scary stuff. It's not that I don't believe law enforcement should have the right, with a judge's permission and just cause, to monitor criminal activity online. I believe they should. This is just plain sinister, though. Imagine – one of your friends has unknowingly befriended an FBI agent. They don't know it because the FBI agent is not disclosing their true identity. Now that FBI agent has access to your wall and all the comments and conversations you're having because your friend comments and likes activity on your wall.
Even more interesting is that this is actually a direct violation of Facebook terms of service:
Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way. Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account: You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.
Beyond spying, it's also important to note that the government is also making frequent requests to these services for your private information – and many companies turn it over without ever questioning them… or notifying you! The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a list of companies and how they respond to their requests on a new campaign page… the results might surprise you:
It's beyond me how this is tolerated in a land where freedom is a price so many paid so much for. We'll go on the attack when someone locates a file on your iPhone that discloses your location… but when the government releases training guides to different departments on how to skirt the Constitution and spy on people… we all tune out and watch the Royal Wedding.