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The Patriot Act Gives Government Access to Social Media

Published on 28 July 14

How safe is your information on social media sites? How much access to your information does the United States government have?

According to Microsoft, the Patriot Act allows the government to access your data on social media sites. Microsoft usually tries to inform its customers when the government plans to retrieve their information; however, sometimes that is not the case.

How can you keep your information as safe as possible?

First, it is important to understand the privacy policies of the sites that you choose to visit. Social media sites vary as far as policy is concerned. By understanding all of the settings and preferences that each site offers, you can reduce your chances of unwanted access.

If you prefer to keep your information public, people can access it through a Google search. However, even if you set your preferences to private, your information still may not be safe. Additionally, your contacts may re-post your information on other sites by copying, pasting, and using other methods to bypass security.

You can do little to prevent the government from obtaining anything you post. Certain social media sites are more accommodating than others are as far as releasing information to the government is concerned; however, many sites are often unclear as to the methods by which information is shared. Additionally, the privacy policy of social media sites can change without warning.

Participating on social media sites can get even more complicated, particularly since most, if not all use cookies. Cookies track your movement from the social media sites to other sites. If you have ever wondered how ads specific to your interests appear on your social media home page or gaming page, it is because cookies "shared" that information.

Keep in mind that if the government wants information about you; it will get it. The Patriot act has made it easier for government officials and law enforcement to obtain your records, including your internet habits. By using a pen/trap tap, the government can access all your computer records through your ISP address, including the websites you visit and emails that you send. Before the Patriot Act, those seeking your online information had to prove justifiable cause; however, now they only need to prove that the information they need to obtain is simply relevant to an investigation.

Although all of this may appear as if "big brother" is watching you, there might be a positive aspect. Information Technology is still a viable career choice, and, with many social media millionaireâs already paving the way it might not be too late for you as well.

This blog is listed under Digital Media & Games Community

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