Political activists should watch what they say on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, British barrister and humans rights expert John Cooper QC told The Independent on Monday.
Social media is the “next big thing in law enforcement,” Cooper explained. He told the newspaper police are actively surveilling activists online and are increasingly astute with social media platforms.
“People involved in public protest should use social media to their strengths, like getting their message across. But they should not use them for things like discussing tactics. They might as well be having a tactical meeting with their opponents sitting in and listening.
“For example, if antifascist organizers were discussing their plans on social media, they can assume that a fascist organization will be watching. Social media sites are the last place you want to post something like that,” he told The Independent.
Cooper said “activists are putting themselves at more risk. Police will be following key Twitter sites, not only those of the activists but also other interesting figures. They know how to use them to keep up with rioting and to find alleged rioters.”
On September 26, we reported on an effort by the European Union and public-private partners – dubbed The Clean Sweep Project – to “reduce the impact of the use of Internet for terrorist purposes, without affecting our online freedom.”
EU officialdom announced it was “preparing proposals for ‘semi automated detection’ systems and buttons to allow users to report suspicious activity on social networks and chatrooms to authorities,” according to The Telegraph. “Providers of chat boxes, email services, messaging systems, social networks, retailing sites, voice over internet protocol and web forums must have flagging systems,” a report produced by The Clean IT Project states.
A police presence will be built into the system. “This includes having a profile, joining user groups, sending and receiving messages, on the platform,” the EU document stated.
In September, Susanne Posel detailed how government is increasingly violating the privacy of online users. “As the US government sifts through the tweets US citizens are making and analyzing information from illegal means, there are decisions about particular citizens being made to justify the construction of an all-encompassing Big Brother network,” she wrote for Infowars.com.
Posel cites a Twitter Transparency Report that puts the United States and the United Kingdom at the top of the list of governments requesting information from the popular messaging website.