Watch Those Social Profiles

February 22nd, 2017

This has without doubt been going on for years in all sorts of environments, that is using social media sites like Facebook to research  individuals.  After all it makes sense, where better to find out more about someone than they’re social media profile.  Imagine an employer trying to whittle down a couple of close interviewees, the temptation to view their Facebook page is probably pretty strong.

People have begun to recognise the security risks about simply using the internet however these are still largely understated.  After all although millions of people now use VPNs more use them to change their Netflix country like this than to securely encrypt their data communications.

After all if you’re a small organisation and you want a specific type of person then it’s a simple way to research or even screen potential interviewees before you’ve even met them.   If they are a frequent poster you’re likely to find out thinks about their personal circumstances, lifestyle, political or religious views without even meeting them.   In the UK and the US with the huge political divisions, it’s likely there’s a little research being done on people’s political views all the time – don’t want to employ a ‘remainer’ or ‘Trump’ supporter then simply look at their Twitter or Facebook feed.

The security services have almost certainly been doing this for some time, but now we’re hearing some very solid reports of it becoming mainstream.  These are coming from the US where it is reported that US border agents are checking the Facebook pages of U.S Green card holders to evaluate their political views before letting them into the USA.    They were also interrogated about their views on President Trump in order to assess whether they were allowed into the country.

The new president has threatened to introduce higher levels of vetting and it seems likely this has been introduced as part of this measure.  It would be naive to expect that some of these checks are automated, it would be incredible if the security service in the UK and USA haven’t developed tools and methods for mining the data held on these publicly accessible social media sites.  It demonstrates how careful people should be about laying their life’s open on these sites, imagine how many ordinary people have expressed outrage on social media about President Trumps various comments.   Would this affect their next visit to the USA, obviously you’d hope not in the land of the free, but these are worrying times for the Western democracies.

Further Reading

How to get a US IP Address for Netflix