Facebook Stories

Posted Friday, August 31, 2012 in Social Media by Peter Horne

On my recent travels I met a guy who was a radio engineer for a defense Co working on a defense contract.  He was a senior engineer and had, from what I could tell, a pretty high clearance level.  He didn't talk about his project of course, but we started talking about identity management and he told me a couple of stories which were quite interesting.

The first was that the 'ethics group' from his firm contacted him about some of his staff and their use of Facebook.  The young team members were bored and were putting up Facebook posts about how bored they were to their friends, and were basically goofing around on their PCs and thought no one was noticing. There were two lessons he took from it  - first was that he was amazed at the level of surveillance of his workforce that was going on.  The level of detail of detail known about activity both at work and outside amazed him.   The second was that because they were working on a government contract there was an ethical and contractual issue for the firm in that the time was being wasted on the government's dime.  So he had to discipline his team members and now his advice is - never use social networks when you are at work!

The second story he told me was that because of his clearance level, he has to be very careful of who he friends on Facebook.  He said he had a relative in CA that was involved in selling smoking paraphernalia over the web.  His personal attitude was that it was a bit of a lark and no harm was done; and it was as far as he could tell a good business.  However because he was related to them on Facebook, he ended up with a visit from the feds both asking him about his relative, because they could under his clearance level, and second he was made to feel very uncomfortable about staying friends with his relative online because he was arguably put in a position where he had to report.

So there you go... the unintended consequences of social networking... the stories just keep coming!


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