Attention Terrorists Using LinkedIn: The Government May Be Watching

Bad news for terrorists looking to get ahead in the industry: LinkedIn has apparently been infiltrated by the NSA. That's the suggestion of a legal filing from the company asking for the ability to report government surveillance requests, anyway.

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Bad news for terrorists looking to get ahead in the industry: LinkedIn has apparently been infiltrated by the NSA. Or so a filing from the company submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC, might suggest.

Obtained by the controversial document repository, the document asks that the court allow LinkedIn to share data about surveillance orders issued by the government. The FISC is the secret court to which the NSA and FBI apply for authorization to surveil terror suspects under the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It is the body that approved the PRISM program, which apparently partners the government with prominent tech companies to facilitate data collection on targets.

Several of those companies that have historically released summaries of government requests for user data have submitted applications to the FISC asking that they be allowed to share data about those requests. On Tuesday, according to the filing which appears in full below, LinkedIn joined them. Even in legal documents submitted to the government's secret surveillance court, LinkedIn — the preferred social network for business types to network and do business-type things — can't help being LinkedIn-y.

Linkedln's mission is to connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. As it represents to its members, one of LinkedIn's core values is "Members First." Critical to this mission and core value is Linkedln's commitment to earning and retaining its members' trust. It earns this trust by being open and transparent with its members, and by providing members with the Three C's, as it relates to members' data: Clarity, Consistency and Control.

The company explains that it tried to reach an agreement with representatives of the FBI allowing it to include information about national security requests in its transparency reports, but that the FBI continually stymied its efforts to do so. The filing continues on, making its case for why it should be allowed to segment out such requests in its reports.

The main question we're left with, however, is the extent to which terrorists or terror suspects use LinkedIn in the course of their terrorizing. While the Three C's might resonate with hierarchical militarist organizations, it's interesting to consider that a social network that is predicated and intermeshed with America's purest capitalist enthusiasms might also have people participating who are wondering if it's OK to fudge the amount of time they spent in the 1980s battling the USSR in Tora Bora.

To date, the FISC has not granted any of the requesting companies, which include Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, the right to segment out national security requests. If that right is granted, we can expect LinkedIn to similarly be given that power. And we'll get a sense for just how many terrorists are about to get in big, big trouble with their bosses.

Photo: The president hunts terrorists. (AP)

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.