A 2008 memo obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) confirms it: big brother is watching.
The report by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is entitled “Social Networking Sites and Their Importance to FDNS” (Office of Fraud Detection and National Security), offers agents detailed instructions on the ins-and-outs of social networks, including how to join, how to expand friend networks once one is a member, what the most popular social networking sites are, and more.
But the document also raises privacy concerns as it stresses the importance of social media for surveillance–while presuming the accuracy of the information we post about ourselves online–and highlights how agents can and should use social networks to sniff out fraud.
“Narcissistic tendencies in many people fuels a need to have a large group of ‘friends’ link to their pages and many of these people accept cyber-friends that they don’t even know,” the USCIS explains. “This provides an excellent vantage point for FDNS to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioners who are suspected of fraudulent activities.”