Tax Evasion Criminals beware…stay off of social media or you will get caught! Last December, a lawsuit was filed by the EFF and UC Berkley’s Samuelson Clinic against the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice Department, Treasury Department, CIA, the Director of National Intelligence, and the IRS. Articles obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show proof that the government is using social networking to investigate. A 38 page training course was released that teaches agents how to navigate the internet and social networking sites to obtain information to use in audits. See here to read the IRS training course. Hilarious! Can’t imagine when the Y Generation moves into those auditing positions.

Comments from this ridiculousness…

  • “IRS should not use Social Media to verify information! People probably lie more on those sites than their taxes!”
  • “Start complaining how poor you are on Facebook!”
  • “umm yea, I’m glad I am not on Facebook…”
  • “35% of Americans have online regrets, well now this makes that fact higher!”

Social networking sites that the agents are being trained to filter information from include Google Groups, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and Second Life. How do you feel about the government using social media as a means to incriminate you? I think we all agree that there needs to be guidelines and a line drawn as to how much information can be taken from your personal Facebook page and then used to put you in jail. Social media is growing in 5th gear, and the government is using the social tool to their own advantage. Social media is supposed to foster relationships, build communication in the community, and make the government more transparent with real-time communication. Instead, it appears that they are going undercover and collecting information, mapping social relationships, and communicating with their suspects’ and targets. Better make sure your private settings are on your Facebook account!


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