The online rights organization wants the government to release records
of its surveillance of social networking sites.
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December 3, 2009
By David Needle: More stories by this author:
Has the federal government overreached in tapping social networking
sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to investigate possible
criminal activity? The non-profit civil liberties' group the Electronic
Frontier Foundation (EFF) doesn't know, but it's filed suit to find out
the scope of the government's investigations.
The lawsuit, filed at the Northern District of California's San
Francisco division court, seeks information from a number of federal
agencies under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) who are listed as
defendants in the case.
The EFF is asking for records from the Departments of Defense, Homeland
Security, Justice, Treasury, the CIA, and the Office of the Director of
National Intelligence concerning their use of social networking Web
sites as investigative, surveillance and data collection tools.
The EFF actually requested information from a number of federal agencies
back in October, but didn't hear back from most of them, leading to the
court action. Some, like the Army, did respond to the EFF request noting
they did not in fact have any programs in place that use social networks
to investigate citizens.