Agents Going Undercover on Social Networks?

The U.S. Department of Justice is exploring the idea of agents going undercover on social-networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn to “communicate with suspects,” “gain access to nonpublic info,” and “map social relationships,” according to a DOJ presentation made public by the Electronic Frontier Foundation following a Freedom of Information Act request, CNET reported.

Agencies under the DOJ umbrella include the FBI, the U.S. Marshals, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, according to CNET.

FBI agents have gone undercover on the Web in child-pornography sting operations, but CNET reported that John Lynch and Jenny Ellickson, attorneys in the DOJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, stated in the report that they were concerned about violating the terms of service of the social-networking sites, as most require members to use their real names.