US law enforcement spied on Facebook and Google users, here’s how / Digital Information World

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Facebook has been successful in so many ways, but the social media platform has been particularly successful in collecting data and information on billions of people around the world. Most of the big tech companies, including Google, have managed to amass this data, and most governments would certainly want to get their hands on it, because it’s the kind of thing that could potentially give them the opportunity to acquire information. . that they cannot get themselves.

With all of that said and now dismissed, it is important to note that several US law enforcement agencies, including ICE and the FBI, have hired a Nebraska-based company known as PenLink to spy on Facebook and Google users through wiretapping. Some people may have heard of this company a long time ago when it helped law enforcement apprehend a man who killed his wife and child, but their backgrounds have changed a lot since then.

The way the company currently operates is that it helps law enforcement in the United States spy on people, although they can justify this by saying they only help if the target of the surveillance is a person suspected of wrongdoing. This has allowed the company to earn around $20 million a year just from its customers who are government agencies, and there are very few agencies in the United States that have not used PenLink’s services. .

This information comes from a leaked video that was recorded at a conference in Washington where an employee of the company was talking about all the services the company was able to provide. The recording was made in secret by Tech Inquiry founder Jack Poulson and it shows just how thorough the operation is as well as the high level of detail included in the information that police and other investigating authorities law enforcement can easily acquire. by hiring the company in question.

The company started in 1987 and initially focused on sorting and organizing call recordings, but that all started to change when the internet revolution kicked in. They started offering wiretap services in 1998, and soon after, PenLink also extended their wiretapping services to social media, which has now become the most common way for police and law enforcement to spy on people as long as they have a mandate that justifies it. legal supervision.

One concerning thing to note is that PenLink can offer things like live tracking if required by authorities. Social media companies are required to give information when they receive a mandate, but they are often slow to do so and PenLink acts as a middleman whose sole purpose is to speed things up as much as possible. It’s truly intimidating how easily people can end up being tracked in our modern times, and it’s a good indication of just how much information these companies actually have about their users.

H/T: Forbes.

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