Did You Know the US Gov Made 10K Requests For User Data From Facebook?
June 17, 2013
Ted Ullyot, general counsel for Facebook revealed that the social media site is now allowed to divulge limited information to the public concerning the amount of user data requested by surveillance agencies after negations with US government security officials.
Ullyot said that all government surveillance agencies have made between 9,000 and 10,000 requests in the last 6 months alone. This includes state, local and federal law enforcement agents with an emphasis on missing children, fugitive tracking and terroristic threats.
Ullyot made it clear that Facebook “frequently rejects such requests outright, or require the government to substantially scale down its requests, or simply give the government much less data than it has requested. And we respond only as required by law.”
Facebook is attempting to save-face because of recent “inaccurate reporting” about their involvement in the National Security Agency (NSA) PRISM program.
Internet giants Google, Facebook and Microsoft have applied pressure to the Obama administration to lighten their legal gag orders on their corporations so that this information can be made public.
Google has asked that they “be able to publish aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures, separately.”
In a statement Google said: “We have always believed that it’s important to differentiate between different types of government requests. We already publish criminal requests separately from National Security Letters. Lumping the two categories together would be a step back for users. Our request to the government is clear: to be able to publish aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures, separately.”
John Frank, vice president and deputy general counsel for Microsoft wrote in a post that: “For the six months ended December 31, 2012, Microsoft received between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal). This only impacts a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base. We are permitted to publish data on national security orders received (including, if any, FISA Orders and FISA Directives), but only if aggregated with law enforcement requests from all other U.S. local, state and federal law enforcement agencies; only for the six-month period of July 1, 2012 thru December 31, 2012; only if the totals are presented in bands of 1,000; and all Microsoft consumer services had to be reported together.”
In May of this year, The Obama administration endorsed the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) initiative that would stop the “Going Dark” problem with the US government having unlimited access to online communications in a shadow web.
By 2014 the Department of Justice (DoJ) wants to have the advantage of sporadically wiretapping online conversations at their whim with the FBI having the authority to force internet service providers (ISPs) to comply.
Robert Mueller, director of the FBI maintains that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter who offer instant messaging capabilities are a line of defense in online intelligence gathering and should be made to comply with federal intrusions.
Using legal authorization given by the Department of Justice (DoJ) for 2011 project DIB Cyber Pilot , the Obama administration has been conducting surveillance on customers of many internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and others.
The justification is an endeavoring to monitor digital infrastructure to protect the US government from hackers.
The National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Defense (DoD) are involved in this illegal surveillance by the DoJ in concert with ISPs. In exchange, the DoJ has given immunity to the ISPs complying under the Wiretap Act 18 USC 2511.
DIB is now ongoing, under the name Joint Cybersecurity Services Pilot (JCSP), and collaborated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who renamed the program Enhanced Cybersecurity Services (ECS).
DHS has analyzed the ECS and claims that the corporate participants are prompted to “an electronic login banner [saying] information and data on the network may be monitored or disclosed to third parties, and/or that the network users’ communications on the network are not private.”
Tim Clemente, former Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) counterterrorism agent, explains that government agencies “have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation.”
In fact, all conversations being had in America are intercepted and monitored without warrant in real time. Clement states that “no digital communication is secure” which includes:
• Phone calls
• Online chats
All these communications are collected and stored for use at the discretion of the government.
A study conducted by researchers at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Shalvata Mental Health Care Center claim that there is a direct and measurable link between social media sites such as Facebook and psychotic behavior.
Dr. Uri Nitzan, lead researcher for the study remarked that the false sense of closeness that is facilitated by the advent of virtual relationships bring about intense solace and longing.
Without having prior indication of psychotic tendencies, average persons can be affected negatively by the inexperience of actual contact. Nitzan said: “In each case, a connection was found between the gradual development and exacerbation of psychotic symptoms, including delusions, anxiety, confusion, and intensified use of computer communications. The good news is that all of the patients, who willingly sought out treatment on their own, were able to make a full recovery with proper treatment and care.”
Nitzan pointed out that: “All of the patients developed psychotic symptoms related to the situation, including delusions regarding the person behind the screen and their connection through the computer. Two patients began to feel vulnerable as a result of sharing private information, and one even experienced tactile hallucinations, believing that the person beyond the screen was physically touching her. Some of the problematic features of the internet relate to issues of geographical and spatial distortion, the absence of non-verbal cues, and the tendency to idealize the person with whom someone is communicating, becoming intimate without ever meeting face-to-face.”