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“We have no way of knowing whether Osama bin Laden is chatting to Abu Hamza on Facebook. Or terrorists could be having a four-way chat on Skype.” That’s what an unnamed Home Office spokesperson told the Guardian today for a news story on the possible increased surveillance of social networking sites by government.

It does make me laugh to think of Osama and Abu going ‘wall-to wall’ on Facebook and terrorists shooting the breeze on Skype. They must have lives outside of their ‘day job’ of being evil. You see the point, allbeit cartoonised, but this also comes across as

naive of the government to think this type of surveillance will have any effect on  terrorists’ achieving their aims. (Presumably they are refering to Muslim fundamentalist terrorists?).

The Cabinet Office already monitors several sites including Facebook and FixMyStreet (although the people behind FixMyStreet, MySociety have already worked in partnership with government and may continue to do so) to see what people are saying about government services. Fair enough. Use of the internet to find out opinion on topics we are interested in has to be one of its most common uses.

Apparently the Home Office is interested in the “who, when and where, not the content,” according to the article. A consultation is to be launched shortly before Easter.



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