We have seen a dramatic increase over the past couple of years in government officials using social media to reach out to constituents. In Canada, MPs were not able to download the Twitter and Facebook applications, likely due to security concerns, but the House of Commons recently gave MPs and certain political staff the go-ahead to download Twitter and Facebook apps on government-issued BlackBerrys.
But is this really what we want? Recently, security experts have suggested that bureaucrats are sending sensitive government information over PIN messaging (confirmed by the Canadian Press), which, although encrypted, is not recommended when compared to email. These MPs and political staff may not be trusted to keep sensitive data off social networks, where there is an even greater chance of losing the data.
Also, is the Facebook app necessary for MPs and political staff? You can’t even manage your Pages from the Facebook for BlackBerry app. It seems the only reason you would have the Facebook app is for personal use, which the taxpayer shouldn’t be paying for.