Lawsuit challenges government over social networking surveillance

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), is suing several government agencies, demanding that they disclose their policies on using social networking sites for investigations, data-collection, and surveillance.

The federal government has increasingly been using social networking data as evidence in various investigations, and Congress is currently considering legislation to give more protection to users.

“Millions of people use social networking sites like Facebook every day, disclosing lots of information about their private lives,” said James Tucker, a student working with EFF through the Samuelson Clinic. “As Congress debates new privacy laws covering sites like Facebook, lawmakers and voters alike need to know how the government is already using this data and what is at stake.”

When several agencies did not respond to Freedom of Information requests from the Samuelson Clinic, it filed suit on behalf of EFF. The lawsuit demands immediate processing and release of all records concerning policies for the use of social networking sites in government investigations.

“Internet users deserve to know what information is collected, under what circumstances, and who has access to it,” said Shane Witnov, a law student also working on the case. “These agencies need to abide by the law and release their records on social networking surveillance.”

The full complaint is here.

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