By Victoria Neilson
The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently received information from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request. The memo, entitled Social Networking Sites and Their Importance to FDNS [Office of Fraud Detection and National Security], advises officers to monitor social networking sites as a way to root out fraud.
The memo states
“Narcissistic tendencies in many people fuels a need to have a large group of “friends” link to their pages and many of these people accept cyber-friends that they don’t even know. . . This social networking gives FDNS an opportunity to reveal fraud by browsing these sites to see if petitioners and beneficiaries are in a valid relationship or are attempting to deceive [United States Citizen and Immigration Services] about their relationship. . . In essence, using MySpace and other like sites is akin to doing an unannounced cyber “site-visit” on a [sic] petitioners and beneficiaries.”While we would never encourage anyone to engage in immigration fraud, it is disturbing to think of government officials “friending” unknowing immigrants to use the information in their personal posts against them. In these times of technology speeding forward, it’s important to remember that when you post anything on a public site you have to anticipate that it could be used against you.