Another Facebook Privacy Scandal Approaching? WikiLeaks Demands Unsealing Of Google, Facebook Subpoena, If Any

Tyler Durden's picture

As Zero Hedge wrote earlier, following revelations that the DOJ was going through line items of private data, including personal financial information on Twitter, WikiLeaks has demanded that Goldman darling Facebook as well as the firm that "does no evil" Google reveal any subpoenas they may have received, if any. And all signs point to yes: after all why would the DOJ go after just Twitter which is not a repository of any notable private data, unlike the other companies, one of which already has been in much hot water in the past due to its privacy policy, and especially now that Goldman's SPV has full access to who knows what information: courtesy of the brain dead parasitic zombies at the SEC nobody knows just who knows what vis-a-vis Goldman's "private placement." And since a positive answer will most likely not do anything good for the brand reputation of either firm, as it will be spun in the way that these firms not only did not disclose an incursion in user privacy, but only did so following a fluke act by Twitter, and may well be working behind the scenes with who knows who else on providing gobs of private data on a silver platter to whatever is the government's witch hunt organization du jour, then maybe, just maybe, the world's infatuation with MySpace v2 (and Friendster v3) may finally start to wane, explaining why just as there are buyers, no matter how wealthy and sophisticated, in Goldman's latest PR fiasco, so there are sellers, who just happen to be wealthier and more sophisticated.

From the Guardian:

WikiLeaks has demanded that Google and Facebook unseal any US court subpoenas they have received after it emerged that a court in Virginia had ordered Twitter secretly to hand over details of accounts and use of the micro-blogging site by five figures associated with the group, including Julian Assange.

Amid strong evidence that a US grand jury has begun a wideranging trawl for details of what networks and accounts WikiLeaks used to communicate with Bradley Manning, the US serviceman accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of sensitive government cables, some of those named in the subpoena said they would fight disclosure.

"Today, the existence of a secret US government grand jury espionage investigation into WikiLeaks was confirmed for the first time as a subpoena was brought into the public domain," WikiLeaks said in a statement today.

The writ, approved by a court in Virginia in December, demands that the San Franscisco based micro-blogging site hand over all details of accounts and private messaging on Twitter – including the computers and networks – used by five individuals.

In the meantime, Assange is certainly not making friends in the Department of Truth.

WikiLeaks also condemned the court order, saying it amounted to harassment.

"If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out," Assange said in the statement.

"I think I am being given a message, almost like someone breathing in a phone," Jonsdottir said in a Twitter message.

Twitter has declined comment on the claim, saying only that its policy is to notify its users, where possible, of government requests for information.

The subpoena itself is an unusual one known as a 2703(d) which a recent Federal appeals court ruled was insufficient to order the disclosure of the contents of communication. Significantly, however, that ruling is binding in neither Virginia – where it was issued – or in San Francisco where Twitter is based.

Regardless, if the Assange "drama" is rising to fever pitch again, then something of far greater significance is likely happening somewhere else.

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Mercury's picture

The purpose of Facebook isn't to help you make friends it's to make money off your personal information.  And you should assume that they will play ball with the government too, especially if it helps facilitate their primary purpose.

williambanzai7's picture

No the new purpose is to make bubble money for Squidco.

Mercury's picture

Well, same thing.  Who the equity principals are doesn't change the larger picture.

-Michelle-'s picture

It also saves the government a ton'o'money by making everyone self-reporters.

Do you know the Navy actually encourages all their sailors to create Facebook pages?

macholatte's picture



The idea that people should "opt-out" from the spying and not "opt-in" is a slap in the face. It's like a burglar who robs your house because you didn't lock your door. So you invited him in. So no crime. OR, if you lock your door, he claims that you must have had something to hide and therefore he was compelled to break in. No crime. 

People need to demand that this sort of bullshit stop. There is an implied covenant of privacy that the government is ignoring so that it, via Google et al, can spy on you. Not surprising. Yet reprehensible.


It is only the enlightened ruler and the wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for the purposes of spying, and thereby they achieve great results.
Sun Tzu


chumbawamba's picture

Since it's laughable and naive at this point to hope for the abuse to stop, the most reasonable course of action is simply to not use those services.

Who the fuck uses Twitter anyway?  Self-important, self-obsessed vanity seekers spewing their mostly idiotic non-observations unto the rest of the world.  Who the fuck cares what you can communicate in 140 characters?  Try writing a full page memo sometime.

And who uses Facebook to keep abreast of their social life?  Whatever happened to a damn notebook and a pen?  Were e-mail and instant messaging and the telephone just not enough?  Do we really need yet a fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth form of communication for sharing pointless observations, stupid pictures of stupid people doing stupid things, and videos of Miley Cyrus slowly turning herself into a drugged-out public embarassment ala Britney Spears?

Fuck everyone who has a Twitter account (in the ass if you actually use it regularly), double fuck anyone who has a Facebook account, and make a new opening to fuck if you have both.

Stop immersing yourself in all this digital glop and get back to living a real life, with real people, doing real things that are meaningful.

I am Chumbawamba.

redpill's picture

Agree, I don't use either.  While Twitter is important for communication to get around government authorities in many countries, this is a prime example of how it  can go wrong if it's the US government going after you because they are based here. 

The solution is for a new Twitter-like operation to take hold that has no central servers and operates solely through distributed networking.  Hell, one probably already exists. Wikileaks could pioneer the use of it because they would get so many followers.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Welcome to the machine. Early speculation on the internet - late 80's - early 90's was the government press to make internet access ubiquitous - was to save the NSA a lot of time digitizing and interpeting analog data, let the surveilled digitize it themselves - hence the internet age was born.

A certain 6foot plus muslim on kidney dialysis doesn't even own a cel phone and the CiA hasn't been able to find him for nearly a decade. Private communication should never occur on open channels  - at some point the public must realize they are not the innocent - they are the prey - feasted on by their own corporate governments. Protect yourselves for no else will do the job.

bugs_'s picture

Pretty sad that Wikileaks has to demand that others do the disclosure for them.

Pretty sad.

Hephasteus's picture

Set yourself on fire you mafia fucknut.

chumbawamba's picture

I totally have him pegged as a DOD toadie.

I am Chumbawamba.

bugs_'s picture

bugs_  jumps up and down I'M A DOD TOADIE!!! much do DOD Toadies get paid?

max2205's picture

Here is Julians tweet: 'send lawyers guns and lots of money'

chumbawamba's picture

And fuck him in the ass.

I am Chumbawamba.

ThisIsBob's picture

It is way beyond me why anybody would think that anything that is transmitted via the internets can be kept secret. 

JR's picture

If you go on Facebook, you are an idiot; and apparently there are a lot of idiots. 

Speaking of such, and glancing above to the "contributors' lineup", I suppose many decent people skip williambanzai7’s commentaries because of his word selection.  But since the word selection now moves to the headlines, I’m wondering if it will affect the skipping of Zero Hedge?  And you know what?  I know the answer; I’ve already seen the damage to the comment quality.

malikai's picture

"If you go on Facebook, you are an idiot; and apparently there are a lot of idiots."


Using FB does not make you an idiot. Using FB is no different from an account here on ZH. If you understand the purpose of the account and what information you submit to it will be used for, you are simply making a choice.

Such blanket statements are both foolish and dishonest. It is how you use FB that determines idiot or intelligent.

AnAnonymous's picture

If you understand the purpose of the account and what information you submit to it will be used for, you are simply making a choice.


And of course, you understand it. How wonderful.

It is how you use FB that determines idiot or intelligent.


Which goes perfectly well with the previous quote. As you understand FB, you can not be surprised by the way it is used.


My personal assessment is that the game was too much rigged in favour of FB, with various controls on their side and very few on mine, making the game so imbalanced it was useless to play.

I am pretty sure you developped your way to play the market in control.

JR's picture

Five Hidden Dangers of Facebook: Security Expert on Big Risks You Should Be Aware You’re Taking When You Use the Site (excerpt)

(CBS) --  Facebook claims it has 400 million users.  But are they well-protected from prying eyes, scammers and unwanted marketers?

Not according to Joan Goodchild, senior editor of CSO (Chief Security Officer) Online.

She says your privacy may be at far greater risk of being violated than you know when you log onto Facebook, due to security gaffes or marketing efforts by the company.

Facebook came under fire (May 2010), when 15 privacy and consumer protection organizations filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, charging that the site, among other things, manipulates privacy settings to make users” personal information available for commercial use.  Also, some Facebook users found their private chats accessible to everyone on their contact list – a major security breach that’s left a lot of people wondering just how secure the site is.

In two words, asserts Goodchild – not very…

The potential for crime is real.  According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, victims of internet-related crimes lost $559 million in 2009.  That was up 110 percent from the previous year… One British police agency recently reported the number of crimes (including assault) they’ve responded to in the last year involving Facebook climbed 346 percent.

So, here’s the picture: Privacy or not, through the door walks the most powerful force on the planet so far, a force strong enough to co-opt the operation of a superpower, the investment bank, Goldman Sachs.

chumbawamba's picture

No, actually, whether you use Facebook or not is a direct reflection of your level of intelligence.

If you ripped on Friendster but then used MySpace, you're a tool.  If you ripped MySpace but then hopped on the FB bandwagon, you're a tool.  And if you rip FB but then sign on to the next social netjerking iteration, you're a tool.

That being said, this looks to be very cool:

And this:

And these:

So many people spewing about boycotting big corporate and government institutions only to sign on with replacements like Twitter and Facebook.  Sure, they may have been cozy when they were small, but they've been coopted for the greater Powers That Be because that's what those mother fuckers do.

You don't spend all your time hoarding gold, silver, guns, bullets, food, seeds, all manner of supplies, securing your perimeter, and generally remaining vigilant against government and corporate depredations, only to then surrender your privacy and anonimity by signing on to a grand social experiment with the very beast you are trying to escape.  What the fuck is wrong with some of you?  Slap yourselves in the face already and wake up.

You don't have to hire a middle manager to be social.  Only rich, self-absorbed snobs like rock stars and valueless debutantes do that.  Take control of your own shit, like any true sovereign would.  Not to mention a distributed form of digital social interaction, as these projects are promoting, will open up incredibly interesting and creative approaches to human relationships free of the control of government and oligarchs.

I am Chumbawamba.

swissinv's picture

Basically you call our honored Zero Hedge friends as a bunch of idots since the are on Facebook too.

Spastica Rex's picture

"The are on Facebook too."



AnAnonymous's picture

That is probably why the US is definitively superior to the West Germany, USSR types... All of them had to fund the effort of monitoring a population. And losing money by acting this way.

The US brings grand style to the activity and turns it into a 50 $Bn valued firm.

The US, making money off tyranny is the word of God.  

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Plus one million points - this is dead on the head. Facebook is now more valuable than many companies that have real physical resources and intellectual property -like Boeing Aircraft for instances. What is this fantasy land we find ourselves in and WTF happened to America?

Kennedy takes a bullet for the home team and the shit storm never stops falling - I'm still amazed how many people still think this is a democracy.

Arius's picture

the latest (for me at least) is how facebook is used as a great tool to try to fire someone.  Here is the scheme:

- become facebook "friend" with the person

- gather some juicy stuff the person has written which compromise their personality in the eyes of management e.g sexual stuff etc. (make sure these are written during business hours); print these pages, and scan these so they can be emailed as attachments. 

- next write to the TOP from an anonymous account, how concerned you are the person working "next" to you is spending half of his/her time on facebook and shopping online all in company dime...

- upon acknowledgement of receipt or some kind of communication send your attachment as full proof of your concerns...




ThisIsBob's picture

Gazillions of self-made dossiers, constantly updated.

Go long storage.

Wheatman's picture

Tyler, a stylistic and logical suggestion: Occam's razor. Keep your senstence SHORT. I challenge you to write a blog that ONLY has short sentences.

Arius's picture

i keep trying to write short, but its difficult.  If you dont mind me asking, any suggestions?

Hansel's picture

No way.  Writing in short sentences leads to less information being conveyed.  The english language should be used fully.  Short sentences lead to neurotic posts which leave too much to be implied.

Arius's picture

The short sentence conveys only one thought.  Generally speaking short sentence is fine, however, in this particular blog I prefer the longer sentences.'s picture

I prefer the longer sentences.


TPTB will soon be handing out long sentences to anyone who expresses an independent thought regardless of the rhetorical skills of the individual.

chumbawamba's picture

Perhaps Twitter is more your fare?

I am Chumbawamba.

MurderNeverWasLove's picture

Sentences should be their own length.

Trimmed Hedge's picture

Trimmed Hedge has demanded that WikiLeaks reveal any dirt on BAC they may have received, if any.

Otherwise, Julian can now kindly STFU, as his 15 minutes are long over....

Rodent Freikorps's picture

Maybe he's saving it for the book.'s picture

Otherwise, Julian can now kindly STFU, as his 15 minutes are long over....

I didn't vote for you as sole arbiter of taste and fashion but I guess some folks did or you wouldn't be trying to lord it over one and all.

Rula Lenska's picture


Like my dad said, "Don't threaten - do it."  Meaning, don't tip your hand, don't telegraph your move; but also, apropos Assange, if he had the info he'd have dumped it by now.  Empty threat = bluff. Unfortunately, Assange/Wikileaks are looking more and more like famewhores.

There, I said it, let the junking commence!

ThisIsBob's picture

Apparently Twitter went to court and got the supboena unsealed and notified its customer, which makes me wonder about Google* and others.  Did they lay down?


*Evil information sucking giant vampire squid

apberusdisvet's picture

 The current Administration has pumped the Patriot Act full of steroids, especially lately.  All Americans are now potential "terrorists" without Constitutional protections; will any criticism of government policies be deemed sedition?


Stay tuned.

chumbawamba's picture

Which is why we buy guns and hoard bullets.

Just biding our time are we.

I am Chumbawamba.

spekulatn's picture

January 7, 2011 4:31 PM

Obama Eyeing Internet ID for Americans



CulturalEngineer's picture

Both Facebook and Twitter strive to be the dominant landscape for peer-to-peer networking in an Internet-connected world. I use them both on occasion and have a clear appreciation for the vital role private enterprise plays in our general advancement.

However, the landscape for the original peer-to-peer networking was the ground upon which  you and the other guy stood... and the air through which your communications traveled.

The World Wide Web is a truly NEW landscape!

Who owned the old one? Nobody? Everybody?

How should we handle this new one?

Gov 2.0 and New Economies - Designing the Social Contract

Protect the Birth of the Global Internet Landscape!

DrLamer's picture

Protect the Birth of the Global Internet Landscape!

Why? How? "The contract" is a matter of love (or at least of strong co-interest) between two parties. Where is the love between Obama's gang and the american people? By the way, where is that US  "we the people"? "The poople" means ONE LAW for many. "We the people" should obey ONE LAW.

30000 pages of so-called "tax code" is not a law, it is a tool for bribe.

ReallySparky's picture

Has anyone considered that the "bank" Julian intends to out may in fact be Goldman instead of BOA?  That would be an interesting twist, and account for the recent FB shenanigans, DOJ involvement. Speculation.

Dr. Porkchop's picture

I don't trust Facebook, that's why I don't use it. If I had a business to promote, I'd use it for that, because it's free advertising, but I'd never upload personal or sensitive data on there. I just don't trust the bastards.

A girlfriend had an account and one day I came in and she was uploading pics of us. I gave her shit for uploading me to the internet. She was confused, and I explained that Facebook isn't really the same thing as the photo album you keep under your coffee table to show people. It's out there.

Gully Foyle's picture

Dr. Porkchop

Some older, late forties/early fifties, real estate agent uploaded her naked cruise ship vaction pics. Unfortunately she forgot to make them private.

Now they are shared on the internet.

There were many comments about how small her male companions penis was.

I imagine strangers recognizing him pointing and laughing hysterically.'s picture

"I was in the pool! I was in the pool!"

JR's picture

“Change?  Here’s your change nearly three years after we learned that Goldman was selling bad debts while simultaneously betting against the very ‘investments’ they were selling.”

That’s how Nate reacted to Goldman’s face on Facebook in  his Economic Edge commentary, in reference to the following:

Goldman Sachs Says It May Sell, Hedge Facebook Stake

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg)—Goldman Sachs Group Inc. clients considering whether to buy shares in closely held Facebook Inc. should take heed: Wall Street’s most profitable securities firm could unload its own holdings without letting them know.

In the last sentence of a one-page investment profile sent to private wealth clients, the firm explains: “GS Group may at any time further reduce its exposure to its investment in Facebook (through hedging arrangements, sales or otherwise), without notice to the fund or investors in the fund.”

Says Nate: “Now that’s CHANGE you can believe in!  A lousy note at the end of an investment profile…no kidding, buyer beware.  My take is that anyone buying anything whatsoever from Goldman Sachs is suffering from a serious case of failing to do their due diligence. And the same goes for buying any equity in the current ‘market.’”

Twindrives's picture

Where is the DOJ when JPM and the CFTC are conspiring to scam the silver market on a daily basis?   Busy chasing Julian?    And what of the millions of U.S. citizens losing money to the corruption of the CFTC?   The U.S. government is a joke.