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posted by takyon on Friday January 18 2019, @11:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the I-was-too-busy-browsing-Facebook dept.

The FBI 'Can Neither Confirm nor Deny' That It Monitors Your Social Media Posts

In recent years, the federal government has significantly ramped up its efforts to monitor people on social media. The FBI, for one, has repeatedly acknowledged that it engages in surveillance of social media posts. So it was surprising when the bureau responded to our Freedom of Information Act request on this kind of surveillance by saying that it "can neither confirm nor deny the existence of records."

The six other federal agencies we submitted the FOIA request to haven't produced a single document. The request, filed last May, seeks information on how the agencies collect and analyze posts from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.

Today we sued the agencies to get some answers, because the public has a right to know about the exact nature of social media surveillance — especially whether agencies are monitoring and retaining social media posts, or using surveillance products that label activists and people of color as threats to public safety based on their First Amendment-protected activities.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Last of the Monkees Wants their FBI Records Turned Over 16 comments

Multiple publishers are reporting that Micky Dolenz, the last surviving member of the made-for-tv band, The Monkees, is suing the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act. He aims to get as much of the FBI's file on The Monkees as possible with the goal of uncovering what they may have on higher priority surveillance targets of the era, such as John Lennon or the MC5. According to a limited file release from 2011, The Monkees are only mentioned in two FBI documents, one of which remains fully redacted.

The Monkees may not be seem like the kind of band that would attract the FBI's attention, especially during a time when groups like Country Joe and the Fish and the MC5 were leading the movement against the Vietnam War. But the Monkees were one of the most popular bands in America in 1966 and 1967, and they sprinkled anti-war sentiments into songs like "Ditty Diego-War Chant" and even "Last Train to Clarksville," a song about a man headed off to war that fears he'll never see his love again.

"The Monkees reflected, especially in their later years with projects like [their 1968 art house movie] Head, a counterculture from what institutional authority was at the time," Zaid tells Rolling Stone. "And [J. Edgar] Hoover's FBI, in the Sixties in particular, was infamous for monitoring the counterculture, whether they committed unlawful actions or not."

-- https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/the-monkees-micky-dolenz-fbi-1234584299/

In the intervening decades, making and distributing music has become highly centralized and corporate.

Covered at:
BBC: Micky Dolenz: Last living Monkees member sues FBI for secret files on band
Bloomberg: Last of the Monkees Wants Their FBI Records Turned Over
The Los Angeles Times: The FBI had a file on the Monkees, and now Micky Dolenz is suing to find out why
TMZ: Micky Dolenz Demanding FBI File on The Monkees!!! (Yes, There Actually Is One)
Rolling Stone: The Monkees' Micky Dolenz Would Like a Word With the FBI
NBC: Surviving Monkees member Micky Dolenz sues the FBI, asks for files on him and his bandmates

Previously:
(2019) The FBI "Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny" That It Monitors Your Social Media Posts
(2019) U.S. Government Using Secretive FISA Rules to Spy on Journalists
(2017) EFF Sues FBI to Obtain Records About Geek Squad/Best Buy Surveillance
(2016) Snowden Tried to Tell NSA About Surveillance Concerns, Documents Reveal
(2014) Already a Winner in EFF's "Most Outrageous Response to a FOIA Request" Contest?


Original Submission

FBI Agent Says He Questions People 'Every Day, All Day Long' Over Facebook Posts 48 comments

The FBI spends "every day, all day long" interrogating people over their Facebook posts. At least, that's what agents told Stillwater, Oklahoma, resident Rolla Abdeljawad when they showed up at her house to ask her about her social media activity:

Three FBI agents came to Abdeljawad's house and said that they had been given "screenshots" of her posts by Facebook. Her lawyer Hassan Shibly posted a video of the incident online on Wednesday.

Abdeljawad told agents that she didn't want to talk and asked them to show their badges on camera, which the agents refused to do. She wrote on Facebook that she later confirmed with local police that the FBI agents really were FBI agents.

"Facebook gave us a couple of screenshots of your account," one agent in a gray shirt said in the video.

[...] Shibly says that he doesn't know which Facebook post caught the agents' attention, and that it was the first time he had heard of Facebook's parent company, Meta, preemptively reporting posts to law enforcement. Andy Stone, a spokesman for Meta, and Kayla McCleery, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Oklahoma City office, declined to comment.*

Meta's official policy is to hand over Facebook data to U.S. law enforcement in response to a court order, a subpoena, a search warrant, or an emergency situation involving "imminent harm to a child or risk of death or serious physical injury to any person." The company received 73,956 requests from U.S. law enforcement and handed over data 87.84 percent of the time in the first half of 2023, according to the Meta website.

[...] *UPDATE: After publication, McCleery provided the following statement; "Every day, the FBI engages with members of the public in furtherance of our mission, which is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States. We can never open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity. The FBI is committed to ensuring our activities are conducted with a valid law enforcement or national security purpose, while upholding the constitutional rights of all Americans."

Related:


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by fido_dogstoyevsky on Friday January 18 2019, @11:56PM (1 child)

    by fido_dogstoyevsky (131) <{axehandle} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday January 18 2019, @11:56PM (#788470)

    ... the public has a right to know about the exact nature of social media surveillance — especially whether agencies are monitoring and retaining social media posts, or using surveillance products that label activists and people of color as threats to public safety based on their First Amendment-protected activities.

    The web is a public place - OF COURSE anything said there will be taken down and used ("for the greater good").

    --
    It's NOT a conspiracy... it's a plot.
    • (Score: 2) by opinionated_science on Saturday January 19 2019, @12:53AM

      by opinionated_science (4031) on Saturday January 19 2019, @12:53AM (#788484)

      I must confess , I *always* assumed this.

      If you put it in an email it can be copied.

      If you put it on website (you don't control, and even if you do!!) it will be found - robots.txt(!) or not!!!

      Then again, once you go to a facility where there are *no* devices allowed (you know the ones), it's hard not to catch some paranoia!!

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @12:55AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @12:55AM (#788485)

    The FBI is protecting us from terrorists, communists and feminists. If you are questioning their right to do their job you are unpatriotic. Move back to Mecca, Mahommed, we don't want terrorists like you here.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday January 19 2019, @01:11AM (2 children)

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Saturday January 19 2019, @01:11AM (#788489) Homepage

      Hey, FBI, I want to commit the act of Jihad.* ALELELELELELELELELELELELEEEEE! Allahu Akhbar!

      * A totally hypothetical act of Jihad played out in only the video game Minecraft, in this case "Jihad" means, the execution of those from the Frankfurt school who are trying to destroy America from within and will be tried for the crime of treason shortly. This includes Hillary Clinton, and other people of power who have been on the record attempting to subvert the nation and values of the United States of America, to include the numerous corrupt agents acting within you.

      • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Saturday January 19 2019, @09:43AM (1 child)

        by aristarchus (2645) on Saturday January 19 2019, @09:43AM (#788598) Journal

        Wha?? Ethanol_fueled references the Frankfort School? Perhaps he is not the besotted ignoramus we all assumed! Smarter than a Runaway1966, eh? So, Eth, who were the Frankfort School? Name one, if you can, so we know this was not just a random lucky reference. An incorrect reference, by the way. The Frankfort School opposed Nazis, and punched them in the face, when the could.

        • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @02:10PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @02:10PM (#788629)

          Jews. Frankfurt school was jews. The Jews did Frankfurt school just like the jews did USS Liberty and the Twin Towers.

  • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @02:16AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @02:16AM (#788510)

    'Freedom' as used by many folk is just an antisocial codeword for ``I want to be a cunt and you can't stop me.''

    If society is attempting to silence one, then there's probably a good reason, and even if one can't understand why, on average things are better if one shuts up. To defend those society spurns is to impede the core function of society: collaboration to build a better life for all members of the community than the nasty brutish and short lives they would live in what they foolishly call 'freedom'. True Freedom is the freedom from evil being done to one, not the lack of constraints on doing evil. To defend the justly suppressed is to attack the oppressed and defend those who commit evils against that society.

    https://pastebin.com/raw/hFtC6G4A [pastebin.com]

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Saturday January 19 2019, @03:47AM (2 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 19 2019, @03:47AM (#788542) Journal

      So, what you're saying is, you don't enjoy whatever freedoms you have, you don't value privacy, and you don't think anyone else should either. You're one of those people who belongs in a regimented institution, where the keepers tell you if and when you should take your meds, or go to the bathroom, or watch television.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @07:11PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @07:11PM (#788735)

        So what *you're* saying is there's no gray area whatsoever. It's completely black/white and anyone who disagrees is communist fascist nazi?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 20 2019, @04:12AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 20 2019, @04:12AM (#788906)

          No, but the person he was responding to definitely is... Censorship is always evil and must be defeated by any means necessary, even if it takes nuclear weapons.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 20 2019, @06:34AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 20 2019, @06:34AM (#788945)

      Go away, utilitarian garbage. That is police state dictatorship. The neoliberal Nazi looks like Orwell's Inner Party.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Snotnose on Saturday January 19 2019, @03:11AM (2 children)

    by Snotnose (1623) on Saturday January 19 2019, @03:11AM (#788530)

    They do.

    --
    My ducks are not in a row. I don't know where some of them are, and I'm pretty sure one of them is a turkey.
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Saturday January 19 2019, @03:45AM (1 child)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 19 2019, @03:45AM (#788541) Journal

      It's slightly more nuanced than that.

      "Yeah, of course we can, if we feel like it, if you've painted a target over your heart, and if we've noticed, but we aren't going to admit anything so move along citizen."

      If the FBI were doing large scale monitoring, they would have taken in that shooter in Florida before he killed - was it 17? classmates. With him, someone expressed concern about him, the FBI took a cursory glance, concluded that he was not a security threat, and moved on to bigger fish.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @04:31AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @04:31AM (#788550)

        If the FBI were doing large scale monitoring, they would have taken in that shooter in Florida before he killed - was it 17? classmates. With him, someone expressed concern about him, the FBI took a cursory glance, concluded that he was not a security threat, and moved on to grooming their in-house terrorist patsies.

        FTFY.

  • (Score: 2) by exaeta on Saturday January 19 2019, @07:04AM (3 children)

    by exaeta (6957) on Saturday January 19 2019, @07:04AM (#788581) Homepage Journal
    The FBI is monitoring your social media accounts. The failure to deny is good enough evidence in my book given their track record on the subject.
    --
    The Government is a Bird
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @07:14PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @07:14PM (#788736)

      Dude your mom is monitoring your Facebook. The FBI can't possibly follow all of everyone's bullshit. After the event, yes you bet that shit will be pulled off the disks and looked at mainly BECAUSE YOU FUCKING PUBLISHED IT ONLINE IDIOT!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 20 2019, @06:37AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 20 2019, @06:37AM (#788946)

        We must have decentralized means of communication. Then you can have your censored safe space if you wish.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 20 2019, @01:41AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 20 2019, @01:41AM (#788857)

      Nobody has "social media accounts" There is however accounts on social networks.

      Media is just content, you need the network itself to support the media it is on.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @07:54AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @07:54AM (#788586)

    But if a SN reader reports a post, they will take a look.

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @03:58PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @03:58PM (#788667)

    The job of the FBI and numerous TLAs is to make sure the jewish communists are not stopped from destroying the country for their own evil ends.

    Every organization in the USA has been infiltrated and is being controlled by khazar jews. Those monsters get a free pass in their terrorist activities and will continue to do so... until the FBI and other TLAs are scrubbed clean of the khazar communist jewish terrorist vermin.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @06:31PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19 2019, @06:31PM (#788725)

    how else are they going to know who to go and help further their disruptive aims so they can get a lot of good press for their budget when they stop (or fail to stop) the evil terrorist.

  • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Saturday January 19 2019, @08:16PM

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Saturday January 19 2019, @08:16PM (#788750) Journal

    Not that I couldn't figure it out, but couldn't the summary really use defining who "we" are without needing to link-hover or reference TFA?

    --
    This sig for rent.
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by GlennC on Saturday January 19 2019, @10:09PM

    by GlennC (3656) on Saturday January 19 2019, @10:09PM (#788789)

    "Sun Seen Setting in Western Horizon"

    "Bears Found Defecating in Woods"

    Pope Francis' Shocking Confession; 'I am a practicing Catholic'"

    --
    Sorry folks...the world is bigger and more varied than you want it to be. Deal with it.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 20 2019, @01:38AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 20 2019, @01:38AM (#788856)

    Did they use the term 'social media' as a way of getting out of it? Maybe if they used the proper term 'social networks' would there been a better result.

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