AFP seeking Facebook representative

Summary:Amidst increasing concerns over Facebook's potential abuse of user privacy, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has said it will ask the social media giant to appoint a police liaison in Australia.

Amidst increasing concerns over Facebook's potential abuse of user privacy, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has said it will ask the social media giant to appoint a police liaison in Australia.

Neil Gaughan, AFP national manager of High Tech Crime Operations, will discuss the possibility of Facebook appointing an Australian police liaison at a meeting of law enforcement agencies in Washington DC this week, the AFP confirmed in a statement today.

At the meeting called by the US Department of Justice, Gaughan will also discuss issues surrounding "inappropriate content uploads" on sites like Facebook with international law enforcement agencies such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre.

In the statement, the AFP confirmed it "continues to work in partnership with Facebook" and that Facebook had been "receptive to approaches from law enforcement agencies".

"The development of relationships with content service providers is crucial to the AFP's ability to investigate and combat crime in this increasingly complex and dynamic environment."

The meeting follows Communications Minister Stephen Conroy taking aim at Facebook over privacy concerns during a budget estimates hearing on Monday.

"Facebook has also shown a complete disregard for users' privacy recently," Conroy said. "Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, says privacy is no longer a social norm. A leaked email from Mr Zuckerberg recently referred to Facebook users — and I will have to censor this because we are in parliament — as dumb, and then the next word begins with 'f', for giving him all their private information and not expecting him to use it."

Conroy then addressed questioning over his targeting of organisations like Google and Facebook over privacy concerns.

"So, what would you prefer ... a corporate giant who is answerable to no one and motivated solely by profit making the rules on the internet, or a democratically elected government with all the checks and balances in place?" Conroy asked, subsequently also asking Greens Senator Scott Ludlam if he was a fan of Facebook.

"I have just changed my status update to reflect your comments," Ludlam replied.

(Front page image: Facebook website screenshot image by Spencer E Holtaway, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Topics: Google, Government : AU, Social Enterprise

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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