Employers Can Now Spy on You on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Other Sites

Cisco Systems has released new software that makes it easier for businesses, including employers, to keep track of user info on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

For the low, low price of $2,500+:

The new SocialMiner software tracks the status updates, forum posts, and blog posts of customers and potential customers in real-time, giving businesses immediate information about consumers' opinions and preferences....Being able to monitor this vast ocean of information and respond to customers' concerns has the potential to greatly increase a brand's reputation, Cisco officials said.

As Raw Storynotes, efforts to track social networking use are nothing new. In fact, the U.S. government has reportedly monitored the Twitter feeds of anti-war and anti-G20 activists and was said to have conducted a major social networking sweep during the Obama inauguration.

But the more "Big Brother" companies get with our digital lives, the more privacy concerns bubble to the surface:

The European Union is reportedly planning to crack down on Facebook and Google, who both collect private data about users in order to sell targeted advertising. The new guidelines will prohibit the downloading and storing of users personal data without their consent.

"The protection of personal data is a fundamental right," Viviane Reding, the European Union's justice commissioner, said in a statement.

"To guarantee this right, we need clear and consistent data protection rules. We also need to bring our laws up to date with the challenges raised by new technologies and globalization."

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at November 4, 2010, 6:53am

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