Thursday, July 16, 2009

The State Department and Facebook

Creative Commons attribution licensed image courtesy daveynin.

The Register's recent article about the U.S. State Department and Firefox carries an interesting observation tucked into the end of the article - the State Department is using Facebook. The most telling quote:
"For example, an astute consular officer in Hermosillo recently used Facebook to determine a visa applicant’s ineligibility based on information contained on the applicant’s Facebook page, proving its value as an anti-fraud tool."
While many college advisers have been counseling students to avoid posting information on Facebook, and articles noting that businesses are checking out potential employees using it, this should serve as a warning to those applying for a visa, or a government job - at least some government agencies are paying attention to social media sites. Of course, if your profile isn't public, you're likely safer for now, unless the cute girl you added turns out to be a government agent.

Of course, Facebook users can already use TrueScoop to go the other route by checking public records of people that they know. Privacy is being eroded quickly on both sides of social networking, and ease of access to personal detail is increasing.

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