Homeland Security Network Blog
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Social Media’s Contribution To Virtual Terrorism
by Daniel Wagner
In the United States social networks are considered to be public spaces and any information shared there is covered under the so-called ‘third-party doctrine’, which means that users have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding the data their service providers collect about them. Any data you post online in any format (regardless of privacy settings), or any data collected by the third parties with whom you may have an agreed-upon business relationship, is not considered private, yet many people willingly stream data and images to their ‘network’ in the mistaken belief that they are the only one who will see or have access to it.
In 2010, Eric Schmidt of Google said that the world produced as much information in two days as we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003. In 2014 it was estimated that each day the world creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, so much that 90 percent of the data in the world at that time was created in the previous two years. As of 2016, we produced as much information in 10 minutes as did the first 10,000 generations of human beings. There is no way humanly possible to monitor and protect all of that data. The more data, the more data breaches.
Facebook admitted in 2011 (when it had ‘just’ 500 million users) that more than 600,000 of its accounts were compromised every single day. Each of those security breaches could have been used for identity theft, criminal impersonation, tax fraud, health insurance scams, or a plethora of other possible criminal offenses. According to Facebook’s 2014 annual report, up to 11 percent of its accounts are fake, meaning more than 140 million accounts at that time. Any data we entrust to social media can be leaked to criminals, terrorists, or others.