Internet is, without a doubt, the key mode of communication for billions of people. However, the debate about online privacy and privacy rights hasn’t concluded yet. In a recent case, FBI seems to have wiretrapped Skype chats of suspected individuals, a revelation that has stirred privacy activists.
FBI was apparently trying to keep its eyes on a number of suspected terrorists who, the agency feared, may indulge in violence. In order to procure material support to construct a case against these alleged terrorists, FBI decided to infiltrate their social media presence as well as Skype sessions.
In doing so, the agency made use of a ‘online covert employee’ which posed as a terrorist sympathizer and thus, tried to gain the trust of the suspicious personnel. This covert employee was able to instigate the terrorists to cough up admissions that they would somehow perpetuate violence if given the chance.
Having won their trust, this employee was also included in the audio and video chats of these suspects, thus recording these conversations. The report, which has recently been declassified and made public, also reveals that FBI was able to gain intimate information about the likes, comments and status updates of the suspects’ Facebook profiles.
What is very likely is that this information may have come from Facebook itself which has been known to hand over the Facebook activity of suspects to law enforcement agencies. Whereas such methods may certainly help security agencies create more leak-proof cases against actual terrorists, it does put a huge question on the privacy rights of the individuals.