Friday, August 26, 2011

Beware: Govt wants to check your Facebook, Twitter accounts - MUST READ

Hello Facebook & Twitter users - Beware, you're being watched by the government. The Union Home Ministry has asked the department of telecommunications to monitor social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter after the Intelligence reports of terrorists recruiting through these sites.

In a written reply to a question in Parliament, the Minister of state for communications and information technology, Milind Deora, said that he had received a letter from MHA to ensure effective monitoring of Twitter and Facebook in order to "strengthen cyber security paraphernalia".

Deora told the Parliament, "the telecom service providers (already) provide facilities for lawful interception and monitoring of communication flowing through their network including communications from social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter."

The minister also added that in case of encrypted communication, the department will meet the concerned parties to get lawful access.

Anyhow, world's largest social networking site Facebook, which has more than 25 million users in India, and the micro-blogging site Twitter refused to comment on the issue.

It's not clear whether the communication department will ask social sites to provide access to users' accounts to monitor them. Facebook and Twitter have their own 'Privacy Policy' and 'Terms of Service', which refuse access to users' data.

Most of these social sites will not share information with law enforcement agencies unless they have a court order.

Facebook's Safety Center says that, "Federal law (Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq.) prohibits Facebook from disclosing the contents of an account (such as messages, Wall posts, photos, etc.) except in response to a civil subpoena or court order."

Similarly, Twitter in its 'Guidelines for Law Enforcement' says, "non-public information about Twitter users is not released unless we have received a subpoena, court order, or other valid legal process document."

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