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Social Sites Risk Security Clearance

Social Sites Risk Security Clearance

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Published by: compuguy1088 on Nov 13, 2009
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12/31/2012

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WWW.TULLYLEGAL.COM
 
Commentary: Social sites risk security clearance
By GREG RINCKEYNovember 02, 2009If you hold a security clearance or if you ever want to apply for one, be mindful of your postingsand contacts online, particularly on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Thesesites pose risks to gaining and keeping a security clearance.Question 14 of the National Agency Questionnaire (SF-86) asks for names of your relatives andassociates. The term “associate” is defined as any foreign national that you or your spouse “arebound by affection, obligation, or close and continuing contact.”Continuing contact with a foreign national used to include a clear exchange between both parties — visits outside the country, mail, phone calls or e-mails. Social networking sites bring a grayarea into the definition of an associate and continuing contact. Your list of friends on Facebookmay include foreign nationals, or you could have foreign followers on your Twitter page. Is givinga foreign national access to your social networking page as a “friend” considered close andcontinuing contact even if you never directly message them? Is having access to your updatedinformation enough for a person to be considered an associate? Unfortunately, this unchartedterritory can ensnare a potential or current clearance holder.Foreign intelligence agencies use social networking sites. They have been known to befriendFacebook users who automatically accept their “friend” requests.I had a client who lost her security clearance after using an online chat room. She was seekingadvice on how to beat a computer game while attending a gaming convention. The “gaming”experts she chatted with online were foreign intelligence agents working out of China.You may want to eliminate any foreign nationals from your social networking sites to eliminateany potential security concerns. A clearance holder also needs to be responsible for what he orshe posts online. These sites are considered “open source intelligence,” and mining informationfrom them is simple. Anyone can do a Web search and bring up postings from Twitter andFacebook. Technology companies are developing more sophisticated ways to monitor socialnetworking sites, offering the ability to scan millions of online social conversations at once.Intelligence agencies around the world are taking advantage of this technology to gain valuableinformation.Social networking sites are creating new territory for many workplaces. Just this month a StatenIsland, N.Y., judge had to be transferred to a new location because of his Facebook use. The judge reportedly used the site to update his whereabouts and post pictures of his courtroom. The

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