UK Aims to Mine Facebook in Fight on Crime, Terror

Criminals use chat features on social, game sites to hide conversations: authorities
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Oct 15, 2008 2:17 PM CDT
British officials say they need the same access to online chat data as they have to phone logs and email traffic.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – With social-networking, gaming, and video sites offering stealth chatting that criminals and terrorists exploit, the British government is moving to require such websites to collect and provide user data to authorities. Accessing chat contents would still require a specific warrant, but demographic information could help find pedophiles, kidnappers, drug traffickers, and terrorists, the Guardian reports.

The costly program requires international cooperation from sites like Facebook, based in the US, which would have to shell out billions to start tracking such data. Alternatively, UK taxpayers will have to foot the cost. People can “sign up as Mickey Mouse and no one knows who they are. We have to do something,” says one official.