The FBI Wants to Wiretap Social Media: What This Means for Canadian Businesses

Recent news has focused on the FBI’s push for legislation that would make sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google wiretap friendly. How will this impact Canadian telecommunications culture and the way that we do business?

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Social media is becoming a communications cornerstone for organizations. Twitter, Google, Facebook and other social networks have become very powerful tools for companies to create brand awareness, discuss trends and gather customer demographics. These social networks are redefining not only how we communicate today, but also how we will be communicating tomorrow.

The FBI has realized how powerful social media is becoming and has started lobbying for legislation that would make these networks wiretap friendly.

Wiretapping in its traditional sense is already part of our telecommunications culture. Since federal jurisdiction states that warrants must be issued for wiretapping, this is not something that has had a significant impact on how Canadian organizations conduct business. Perhaps the only measurable impact is how Canadian companies have protected themselves by writing policy detailing how an employee can use corporate resources. For example, “We do not encourage or allow our employees to use company telephones to conduct illegal activities, for obvious reasons.”

Canadian businesses should treat social networking as a new communications tool and wrap a security policy blanket around it. Without a proper policy in place that outlines acceptable use of social networking, organizations will expose themselves to undue risk.

The alternative is for businesses to ban social media altogether. However, given its exponential growth in popularity and its incredible versatility as a marketing and communications tool, this could be perceived as overkill.

If you would like to learn more about wiretapping and Canadian privacy laws, please check out the following resources:

How do you think this legislation will impact Canadian businesses? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

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