If you’re not already particularly picky about who you friend on Facebook, you might want to think about rejiggering those privacy settings. It's not the backdoor access that the FBI has been pushing for, but US District Judge William Pauley III has now ruled that it and other law enforcement agencies are entitled to view your Facebook profile if one of your "friends" gives them permission to do so.
As GigaOm reports, a New York City federal judge ruled in a recent racketeering trial that it’s legal for police to view your Facebook profile if one of your friends grants them permission. Better start sniffing out the rats on your friends list.
That’s because all of that data that you think is personal really isn’t that personal after all, according to the Judge. "Colon’s legitimate expectation of privacy ended when he disseminated posts to his friends because those friends were free to use the information however the wanted including sharing it with the Government."
Both government agencies and private companies alike are mining social media to gain additional knowledge. Whether it’s a criminal investigation like this one or insurance companies reportedly combing through Facebook profiles to determine the party at fault in an auto accident, the freedom and public nature of social media can work both for and against its users.
Ultimately, users have to be aware of the public status of online information as well as the ease with which it can be obtained. Don’t post anything you don’t want to be found or seen.