Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why are the feds after our social media info?” you ask? Good question. Timely too. (Besides, again, it helps us put off answering all those questions about odd, intimate acts. We don’t know the difference between the Flying Camel and a Sopwtih Camel, mmmkay?)
At any rate, we’ve known for a long time that the federal government has multiple agencies that can and do monitor folks here at home. (Mind you, most of y’all who get the most enraged about this don’t really have lives that are all that interesting but that’s beside the point. It’s the principle.)
Our guest speaker, Barbara Boland, contributor to the Washington Examiner, confirms this. She also adds: “If federal authorities have their way, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites will be forced to report users’ activities under a new provision of the 2016 Intelligence Authorization Act.”
Unfortunately, no one has yet responded to your concerned columnist’s request for details. Boland also reported little success. She says: “The legislation has not been made publicly available, but was reportedly filed with the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed door session last week.”
No doubt the feds intend to claim they are going after all our social media info because of terrorists. (From what we’ve seen of Facebook though unless the terrorists want us kill us with cuteness from pictures of kitties for the most part we seem pretty safe right now.)
Boland who has covered this a bit more in depth confirms the terrorist story. She states: “According to the provision, any online service provider that ‘obtains actual knowledge of any terrorist activity … shall provide to the appropriate authorities the facts or circumstances of the alleged terrorist activity,’ according to the language obtained by ABC News. The social media sites would have to report tweets, videos, posts or other content exchanged online by users.”
See? It’s all about the terrorists. The feds have to follow our Facebooks, view our videos, and procure our posts because one of us might be holding a WMD.
(Confession time: Yours truly himself has been caught holding his “weapon of mass destruction” on a rare occasion or two. Maybe the feds have a point. After all, a guy can do a lot of damage in under three minutes, right?)
Boland also confirms the provision fails to define “terrorist activity” which she opines is “one of the problems.” She adds that the NSA has “exploited” certain “provisions of the Patriot Act to (also) collect phone data on all Americans.”
She concludes that while the feds are after our social media info due to terrorist concerns they have yet to “indicate what happens when companies turn over the information to the government, and what liabilities or penalties the companies will face.”
Why are the feds after our social media info? Now you know.
(Now they know you know too.)
You ask the questions. We provide the answers.
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