January 24, 2012 | By Jennifer Lynch

DOJ Wants to Know Who’s Rejecting Your Friend Requests

In the latest turn in our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for records related to the government’s use of social networking websites, the Department of Justice finally agreed to release almost 100 pages of new records. These include draft search warrants and affidavits for Facebook and MySpace and several PowerPoint presentations and articles on how to use social networking sites for investigations. (For more on what we've learned from the documents so far, see our earlier blog posts here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

The draft search warrants are particularly interesting because they show the full extent of data the government regularly requests on a person it’s investigating. This includes not just your full profile information but also who you “poke” (and presumably who “pokes” you), who rejects your friend requests, which apps you use, what music you listen to, your privacy settings, all photos you upload as well as any photos you’re tagged in (whether or not you upload them), who’s in each of your Facebook groups, and IP logs that can show if and when you viewed a specific profile and from what IP address you did so.

More interesting stuff from the draft MySpace and Facebook search warrants & affidavits:

  • As of December 2009, Facebook is technically limited in its ability to provide complete IP logs (i.e., IP logs that contain content and transactional information, in addition to login IPs). However, it appears that law enforcement may still be able to get this information for specific time periods by contacting Facebook directly. (Facebook Warrant Usage Notes at p. 1)
  • MySpace retains certain information on an account for at least a year after a user deletes it, including user identity information and IP logs. (Draft MySpace Warrant Affidavit at p. 4)
  • Both Facebook and MySpace appear to be disclosing information that isn’t called for in the warrant; the DOJ’s “Usage Notes” for filing search warrants with each company recommend agents “cull through the data returned by [Facebook/MySpace] and isolate material that is not called for by the warrant.” (Facebook Warrant Usage Notes at p. 2; MySpace Warrant Usage Notes at p.2).

See the documents linked below for more (they will each open up in our cool new document reader).

Documents
- Facebook Warrant, Affidavit, and Usage Notes
- DOJ Draft MySpace Warrant, Affidavit, and Usage Notes
- 2007 Article - How to Search MySpace
- ICE/DOJ Presentation on Investigating Online Groups
- Article - Investigating Child Exploitation
- Minnesota "More than MySpace" Presentation
- MySpace Friend Mapper Article
- Presentation - Obtaining and Using Social Networking Evidence


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