Facebook Cooperation with the Government

By: Rachel Peterson

Facebook is known to willingly supply information to local, state, and federal authorities investigating crimes. And this is not limited to public profile information, it includes so-called “private” information and even messages. Only unopened messages less than 181 days old require a warrant. For everything else, subpoenas, which do not require reasonable suspicion, are enough. And so, with the proper warrants or subpoenas, government authorities can have access to everything stored on, everything shared with, and data collected from your activities on Facebook.

Facebook’s privacy policy even includes a caveat that states: “We may also share information when we have a good faith belief it is necessary to prevent fraud or other illegal activity, to prevent imminent bodily harm, or to protect ourselves and you from people violating our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. This may include sharing information with other companies, lawyers, courts or other government entities.”

In a society where erosion of privacy becomes a more real concern every day, Facebook has received harsh criticism for these policies that seem weak in the eyes of many of its users. Many people feel that despite using the most stringent privacy controls, their private communications and content can still be used against them and this violates their constitutional rights. Others believe that Facebook has a social responsibility to oblige these requests in order to stop crime and support the company’s efforts to “help” with these investigations. But even when Facebook is not handing over the information, law enforcement officials are open about monitoring Facebook, as well as other social networking sites, to prevent crime.

https://www.facebook.com/help/473784375984502 http://mashable.com/2015/07/21/courts-facebook-new-york/#Fk8V0H3Do8qJ http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/when-cops-check-facebook/390882/