The internet itself exists as some sort of parallel dimension, where an abundance of our communication and business take place.
Where once the real world was inundated with envelopes, checks, and forms, we turn now to email, e-pay, and online surveys. We do nearly everything online these days, from registering our vehicles to interviewing for jobs. The world wide web truly is a universe all its own – and it comes with its very boogeymen as well.
Scarier still is the fact that law enforcement seems to be gaining ever more access to our personal, digital lives – often without recourse. Police today are threatening to arrest Americans who refuse to unlock their phones at traffic stops, the NSA is reading our emails, and now the FBI is even snooping around online.
And as it turns out, marketing tech companies aren’t the only organizations who want to scrape social data for their own purposes. For example, there’s the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Here are Jeff Horwitz and Dustin Volz in the Wall Street Journal today:
The FBI is soliciting proposals from outside vendors for a contract to pull vast quantities of public data from Facebook, Twitter and other social media “to proactively identify and reactively monitor threats to the United States and its interests.” The request was posted last month, weeks before a series of mass murders shook the country and led President Trump to call for social-media platforms to do more to detect potential shooters before they act. The deadline for bids is Aug. 27.
As described in the solicitation, it appears that the service would violate Facebook’s ban against the use of its data for surveillance purposes, according to the company’s user agreements and people familiar with how it seeks to enforce them.
As Americans, it is imperative that our rights are not subject to revocation when we use the internet. We are not to be spied upon by our country’s intelligence agencies just because they can. If they want our data, they can go and get a warrant just like everyone else.
Well, expect the NSA of course, but that’s a rant for another day.
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