In our age of technology, social media and blogs are able to reach 80% of Internet users and account for 23% of their time spent online. And now the government can see how Americans spend their time on the internet after a new law has passed that allows private investigators to research social media accounts for security clearances.
In a new policy signed by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, investigators are able to now collect social media information on public accounts.
Aimed primarily at individuals seeking governmental positions that give them access to privatized information about national security, this law was put into effect because of the sheer size and reach of social media.
Fox News reported that Republican Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz said, “It defied common sense for the government to overlook social media data available to anyone with an Internet connection.”
Chaffetz is also glad to see the National Intelligence Council was working on fixing “such a glaring lapse in our security clearance process.”
As the policy is only aimed towards public information, investigators are banned from requesting passwords or logging into private accounts. Overall, they are not able to obtain any information from a private source.
Additionally, private communications between users, such as through apps like Facebook Messenger, will not be accessed.
This action was met with some conflict. Many members of Congress do not believe the government should use a third party resource to provide information for security clearances.
Using social media as a part of the background check process has been an accepted practice in the private sector. Current research shows that more than 40% of employers report using social media to choose their job applicants.
Additionally, more than four million Americans hold a security clearance that allows access to classified information of national security. This number is expected to grow within the next few years.