The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a donor-funded nonprofit dedicated to defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights online, has been hounding relevant law enforcement agencies to get a hold of documents identifying how the government seeks information from social networking sites and how the sites respond to these requests.
Via an ongoing social networking Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the EFF asked for copies of the social networks’ own guides that they provide to law enforcement giving the “how-to” on how to get information about site users. EFF pulled guides from thirteen companies, including Facebook, MySpace, AOL, eBay, Ning, Tagged, Craigslist and others. The EFF then compared the guides and organized the data in spreadsheets (xls) and pdf. The guides cover the period from 2005 to 2010 and address requests for contact information, photos, IP logs, friend networks, buying history, and private messages. The EFF wasn’t able to secure Twitter’s guide, but they did their own research and found some relevant information on the site to include on their spreadsheets as well.