Wednesday, December 9, 2009

DOJ Sued for Internet Sluthing Methods

DoJ sued for sleuthing practices on Facebook, Twitter

December 5, 2009 — 9:28pm ET By Judi Hasson

The Department of Justice and five other governmental agencies were sued lastweek by a privacy watchdog group for using Facebook, Twitter and other socialnetworks to investigate citizens in criminal and other matters. The ElectronicFrontier Foundation wants to know exactly how the feds are using socialnetworking to gather information in investigations.The suit comes as Congress is considering legislation to increase protections for consumers who use social networking sites. So far, the government is stayingmum how it is leveraging these new tools in investigations and what it iscollecting from the Internet.In addition to the Justice Department, the suit names other agencies, including:the Department of Defense, DHS, the CIA, the Department of Treasury and theOffice of the Director of National Intelligence."Although the Federal Government clearly uses social networking websites tocollect information, often for laudable reasons, it has not clarified the scopeof its use of social-networking websites or disclosed what restrictions andoversight is in place to prevent abuse," the lawsuit said.Law enforcement usually needs a warrant to collect information, but it's unclearwhere social networks stand in terms of the right to protect information that ispublicly available for everyone to see.For more on this lawsuit:- see this articleRelated Articles:FBI cannot handle load of electronic evidenceFBI: Hackers target social networksNSA uses Facebook, tooFederal agencies try TwitterGet Your FREE FierceGovernmentIT Email Newsletter:\itter/2009-12-05?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal

The False Claim Act: Foundation of Qui Tam Actions

TITLE 31 > SUBTITLE III > CHAPTER 37 > SUBCHAPTER III > § 3729§ 3729. False claims(a) Liability for Certain Acts.— Any person who—(1) knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, to an officer or employee ofthe United States Government or a member of the Armed Forces of the UnitedStates a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;(2) knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record orstatement to get a false or fraudulent claim paid or approved by the Government;(3) conspires to defraud the Government by getting a false or fraudulent claimallowed or paid;(4) has possession, custody, or control of property or money used, or to beused, by the Government and, intending to defraud the Government or willfully toconceal the property, delivers, or causes to be delivered, less property thanthe amount for which the person receives a certificate or receipt;(5) authorized to make or deliver a document certifying receipt of propertyused, or to be used, by the Government and, intending to defraud the Government,makes or delivers the receipt without completely knowing that the information onthe receipt is true;(6) knowingly buys, or receives as a pledge of an obligation or debt, publicproperty from an officer or employee of the Government, or a member of the ArmedForces, who lawfully may not sell or pledge the property; or(7) knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record orstatement to conceal, avoid, or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit moneyor property to the Government,is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not less than$5,000 and not more than $10,000, plus 3 times the amount of damages which theGovernment sustains because of the act of that person, except that if the courtfinds that—(A) the person committing the violation of this subsection furnished officialsof the United States responsible for investigating false claims violations withall information known to such person about the violation within 30 days afterthe date on which the defendant first obtained the information;(B) such person fully cooperated with any Government investigation of suchviolation; and(C) at the time such person furnished the United States with the informationabout the violation, no criminal prosecution, civil action, or administrativeaction had commenced under this title with respect to such violation, and theperson did not have actual knowledge of the existence of an investigation intosuch violation;the court may assess not less than 2 times the amount of damages which theGovernment sustains because of the act of the person. A person violating thissubsection shall also be liable to the United States Government for the costs ofa civil action brought to recover any such penalty or damages.(b) Knowing and Knowingly Defined.— For purposes of this section, the terms"knowing" and "knowingly" mean that a person, with respect to information—(1) has actual knowledge of the information;(2) acts in deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information; or(3) acts in reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information,and no proof of specific intent to defraud is required.(c) Claim Defined.— For purposes of this section, "claim" includes any requestor demand, whether under a contract or otherwise, for money or property which ismade to a contractor, grantee, or other recipient if the United StatesGovernment provides any portion of the money or property which is requested ordemanded, or if the Government will reimburse such contractor, grantee, or otherrecipient for any portion of the money or property which is requested ordemanded.(d) Exemption From Disclosure.— Any information furnished pursuant tosubparagraphs (A) through (C) of subsection (a) shall be exempt from disclosureunder section 552 of title 5.(e) Exclusion.— This section does not apply to claims, records, or statementsmade under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.