Social Question

flutherother's avatar

What do you think of the FBI's plans to monitor social networking sites?

Asked by flutherother (22565 points ) January 26th, 2012

I suppose that includes Fluther. It would be a tough job but I suppose someone has to do it. And just for the record I think Al Qaeda is evil and Fox news is great. Details here

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23 Answers

MilkyWay's avatar

What do you think of the FBI’s plans to monitor social networking sites?
It’s a loada bull shit. Not a happy puppy.

marinelife's avatar

That’s where people hang out so it makes sense.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Like they’re not already doing that.

rebbel's avatar

I always have had warm feelings for the FBI, and these plans make those feelings only more intense.
Tilde.~

JilltheTooth's avatar

I figure they’ve been doing that since the beginning. This is new???

Fly's avatar

[Redacted]
Kidding!

In all seriousness though, not even the raging liberal in me takes issue with this. It seems to be just a natural extension of their monitoring of any web page, and it never occurred to me that they didn’t already do this. It’s not as if checking the Facebook profiles and reading the “tweets” of the several hundreds of millions of users are high priorities for the FBI, and the article suggests that they are mostly looking for specific keywords, groups, etc. that indicate or are potential security threats. If you’re willing to put your information on the internet where nearly anyone who really wants to can see it, why shouldn’t the FBI be able to as well?

6rant6's avatar

Well, duh.

If they look only at stuff that’s made public, how can anyone object? What do you want them to do, sit in their little offices and wait for people to come in and report their criminal activity?

And just for the record, when they misuse it to harass political opponents, or spread disinformation, I’ll hold the placard that says, “Heads must roll!”

YARNLADY's avatar

I thought they already do.

Zaku's avatar

It’s not that’ they’d look that’s the problem. It’s that they have frightening ideas, ignorance on many things, guns, and punishment powers. For examples:

* Raiding Steve Jackson Games circa 1990 because they were making a role-playing fantasy game book titled “Cyberpunk” which included imaginative games about what computer hacking would be like in the far future.

* In 2001–2002, publishing internal memos warning agents that they should suspect people trying to use the Bill of Rights, as a red flag likely terrorist tactic.

* Requests for proposals by our government for paid research contracts about how to use computers to pro-actively find terrorists so they can be targeted.

* The DEA agent who recently was fired for talking on his break about how it might be a good idea to legalize and tax pot rather than the current policy, which is to criminalize it and thereby create a lucrative black market for nasty criminals.

* The Patriot Act.

* The recent law which Obama said he’d veto, but didn’t, giving the government the power to arrest people without a reason.

* fnord

etc. etc. etc.

elbanditoroso's avatar

In my estimation, they have been doing so since the beginning of the internet. They have just been quiet about it. I see this as nothing new. If anything, this is surprising because they are being overt about it.

I don’t see this as even one iota of change.

filmfann's avatar

@Zaku btw, has the plutonium arrived yet?

ragingloli's avatar

It just shows that america is sliding with certainty into fascist totalitarianism.
also: allahu akbar bomb jihad infidel attack kill osama bin laden
have fun with that, pigs

CaptainHarley's avatar

Big Brother is watching YOU!

Seig HEIL!!!

jca's avatar

I have a friend who’s a bit paranoid and she always cautioned me to watch what I write on the internet. I have always been cautious, because I believe we have no guarantees that the rights that we have at present will be here forever, so better safe than sorry.

jerv's avatar

@Zaku The SJG raid was actually because the author of GURPS Cyberpunk, Loyd Blankenship, ran a BBS that was frequented by people associated with the digital underground and re-posted copies of /Phrack. That was enough to get him raided at his home and his place of employment; SJ Games. The manuscript for Cyberpunk was not a target. The Secret Service didn’t even know it existed until after the raid had commenced.

Also note that this is the same legal system that justified putting Kevin Mitnick in solitary confinement and prohibiting him from using a phone because a judge claimed that Mitnick could whistle into the phone, hack into the Russian defense system, and launch a nuclear attack. Seriously.

With ignorance like that, I feel that the FBI is not qualified to monitor their own navel lint. While I see no problem with law enforcement monitoring publicly available information, I see a problem with law enforcement that is utterly incompetent.

@jca We have rights?

flutherother's avatar

I’m a bit surprised that people accept that their government, which exists to represent them, has a legitimate interest in their private lives. I think we have a right to know what our government is doing but I don’t think the government has any right to snoop on us unless it has good reason.

Just because the sites are public doesn’t mean a government agency has the right to use the information that is there. A government agency is not a person and a government agency can match information with that from other sources to build up a detailed profile on individuals which can then be used for who knows what purposes.

jca's avatar

@jerv: the right to free speech. There is no guarantee that our government will always be the way it is now- maybe in 100 years we will be a Muslim country, or under People’s Republic of China – who knows?

JaneraSolomon's avatar

I believe strongly in freedom of speech, and privacy, but when you post something on a social network for all to read, you know you are giving up your right to privacy.
It’s really simple: If you want to keep your dark thoughts and pictures of you and the beer bong private, don’t post them on the internet for all to see. This isn’t new. Even 100 years ago the same would have applied. If you sent your thoughts in a letter to the editor of your local paper, you couldn’t have complained if J. Edgar Hoover was reading it with his morning coffee.

jerv's avatar

@jca Unless we stop Congress, I would be mildly surprised if we don’t reach that point in 100 days :/

jca's avatar

I have a friend who just got fired from his job. He had some angry words with the boss and he got the boot. He told me that on Facebook, he had also posted some negative comments about the boss, calling him an a-hole. Then I saw that he posted (on FB), “I will not make my comments private! I have a right to freedom of speech!” I responded “Yes, you do definitely have those rights. However, when you write negative things about someone, and they’re public comments, you have to realize that sometimes your comments may have negative consequences for you.”

@jerv: LOL!

6rant6's avatar

I look forward to a world where we can say things about ourselves that should not matter to strangers without fearing repercussions.

I don’t think the answer is in what the FBI does or doesn’t look at but in how clear we are about the limits of what restrictions we impose on each other and how fanatically we observe as a society the dictum to stay out of what is not our business.

@jerv I hear you. The FBI is inept at times, as are all our institutions. But we do want someone to be on guard against sinister forces. The devil is in the details.

Zaku's avatar

@jerv That’s interesting about the SJ Games raid… of course, it didn’t prevent them from looting the game company’s offices and taking things which had nothing to do with what they were looking for. Not that I expect even /Phrack is something I’d support the FBI raiding anyone to censor.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

This is news?

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