Friending Brandeis: Privacy and Government Surveillance in the Era of Social Media
Gaffin, Elizabeth S.
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Today, individuals network and interact with each other in radically different ways by using social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Utilizing this new media, individuals are able to share intimate details of their lives, coordinate activities, and exchange ideas with friends, family and others in ways previously accomplished only in person, by telephone, or in written letters stored at home. At the same time, terrorist organizations and other criminal actors are increasingly utilizing social networking sites, for both recruiting purposes and for the planning, financing, and execution of nefarious acts. As such, social networks have become a valuable source of intelligence for the law enforcement and intelligence communities that enable the collection of information pertaining to individuals in ways not previously possible. However, the law pertaining to surveillance in cyberspace has failed to keep pace with society's adoption of social networking and other cloud computing technologies. This thesis examines the privacy and civil liberties safeguards inherent in the Fourth Amendment and the need to ensure that an appropriate balance is struck between an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy in online communications and the government's information gathering requirements necessary to combat emerging criminal and terrorist threats.
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