The Info Law Enforcement Gets When They Subpoena Facebook

from the your-friends-in-the-government dept

With the US government looking for software that will let them manage fake profiles on social networks, in order to “infiltrate” groups, you might have forgotten that they can also take the easy way out and issue a subpoena. While Julian Assange is certainly being hyperbolic with his claims that “Facebook… is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented,” it is worth remembering that the US government can access all sorts of info from Facebook. The Next Web has a the details of what kind of info Facebook provides law enforcement on the receipt of a valid subpoena. Of course, this certainly doesn’t mean Facebook is handing over this kind of info willy-nilly (this isn’t AT&T we’re talking about here…). Also, none of this is a huge surprise, but just a reminder that Facebook likely has a lot of info about you, and when put together, could allow the government to collect a pretty detailed dossier on certain aspects of your life:

Once Facebook has the form submitted, they will then prepare an archive for the police to review. That archive will include the following.

  • User ID number
  • Email address
  • Date and Time of your account?s creation
  • The most recent logins, usually the last 2-3 days
  • Your phone number, if you registered it
  • Profile contact info
  • Mini-feed
  • Status update history
  • Shares
  • Notes
  • Wall posts
  • Friends list
  • Groups list
  • Future and past events
  • Videos
  • Photos
  • Private messages
  • IP logs (computers and locations you logged in from)

You?ll notice that this list includes just about everything that you?ve posted to Facebook. In addition, it also includes a list of your Friends, which you didn?t technically add to Facebook yourself.

Again, there’s nothing surprising here, but when laid out directly, it may make some people realize that relying so much on a third party like Facebook to manage such a large part of your life also opens yourself up to certain risks.

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Companies: facebook

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Comments on “The Info Law Enforcement Gets When They Subpoena Facebook”

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John Doe says:

The internet never forgets...

Like elephants, the internet never forgets. Anything you post anywhere can be found and used against you in a court of law or the media. It will be interesting in the next 10 years to see how many people have embarrassing stuff come out as they run for office or become celebrities. Not that it hasn’t happened a lot already, but it will get worse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Most of this information has also resided on my webmail account at various times (gmail, hotmail, etc.) over the years.

If law enforcement wanted that, my webmail account is just as private.

In other words, there’s nothing particularly special about Facebook, except that more people are using it, for more trivial information. But any information – on Facebook or not – that is stored in the cloud can be compromised without you knowing it.

All the more reason we need strong electronic privacy law.

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