Council Facebook snooping

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    Council Watcher

    The Daily Post have an interesting article about how some North wales Councils are using fake Facebook accounts to snoop on people. Wrexham declined to make any comment to the paper.

    This is interesting as they have recently responded to a FOI on the same subject and actually made comments that they don’t use Facebook to ‘snoop’.

    It now appears that two separate sections of the Council have responded separately or otherwise surely there would be a consistent response!



    Interesting use of the word ‘snoop’. If council’s are using social media in official investigations which are in the public interest, then what’s the problem? What about the Newport couple selling illegal football shirts online, or the woman from Barry who claimed benefits as a single person and was caught out as she posted wedding photo’s online!! It’s all there on the internet plus many more examples of how social media has helped councils and DWP secure prosecutions.

    So, I ask again, what’s the problem? The Post article refers to people only intending on their friends and family seeing their posts on facebook. From my limited knowledge, only friends can see posts when their friend request has been received so I can only assume this information is in their public profile.

    Also, I love the way the Post use that well know unbiased organisation, ‘big brother watch’ as their voice of morality. Very one sided reporting using inflammatory language. Fraudsters and scammers make peoples lives a misery so if they are stupid enough to trip themselves up online, then all the better. Maybe the article should have reported on the estimated savings made from unveiling fraudsters using social media..



    Two sides to every coin. I think on the one hand – most people would have no complaint with online surveillance and intelligence gathering on those who are just out to break the law and are stupid enough to reveal their actions online.

    On the other hand there have been instances of council monitoring of social media that I completely disagree with. This is when it comes to those involved with political activism being harshly targeted for not towing the council line so to speak.

    One instance that springs to mind is taxi drivers being threatened to have their permits revoked just for being a member of an activist group such as North Wales Against Kingdom Security. Are we saying that taxi drivers aren’t allowed to oppose unpopular views in the towns they operate in? That’s basically an infringement of right to freedom of speech – you criticise our litter hit squad we take away your livelihood.

    Another instance is where they target public sector workers – including social workers, council workers, healthcare etc… who would be completely entitled to join a union and have a political affiliation – yet get an in work disciplinary for being too critical of the British Government – when using social media on a personal level – so not bringing any public organisations into disrepute and not during any purdah period for those that must adhere to it.

    These aren’t general cases – these are actual instances that have happened in Wrexham to people this year.

    It’s almost like those that can be leaned on they will go after as they can’t do anything about the utter barrage of criticism that they get from everyone else.

    But it is very telling that the majority of people on here post their criticism of the council anonymously. So clearly if people have nothing to fear – why so much widespread covert commentary?

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