It was reported recently that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are now setting up Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin accounts under aliases to solicit information about suspects, either directly or indirectly.
Lawyers use these sites to network for clients, research defendants and potential jury members, market their law firms on-line, vet potential hires and investigate associates.
Foreign intelligence agencies also use social networking sites to find and target individuals with information relating to national security, technology or defense, including in some cases elected officials at the state and federal level who sit on appropriation and homeland security committees.
Pedophiles also use social networking sites to find and locate children to have sex with. If you ever watched NBC’s To Catch A Predator” with Chris Hanson, you know exactly what I’m talking about and how extensive the problem is. In fact there is no town or city in America where members of the organization “Perverted Justice” can’t set up and catch these guys all day long. I say all this because you really have to watch yourself on such sites. If your a parent you especially have to monitor these sites social networking sites very carefully.
If your in government or military service, you also have to be vigilant. In one case soldiers of a specific military unit were monitored via their social networking accounts to find out about upcoming deployment dates and schedules overseas (see also: “Officials warn of ‘phishing’ scams targeting troops”, by Lisa DanielsLisa Daniels, American Armed Forces Press Service, Washington D.C., dated May 10, 2010 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=59099).
Be aware of both the dangers and advantages of social networking. Be especially careful about what information you are revealing about yourself and what you do. Remember it’s not just employers and jealous ex-lovers looking at your Facebook and MySpace accounts anymore, it’s a whole host of people for a variety of reasons – almost none of which is positive or beneficial to you in any way!