Dara Paleski


Social media has quickly become an integral part of modern-day life, keeping the world connected to friends, family and current events. Social media, and the data collected from it, also play a crucial role in intelligence gathering and the safeguarding of national security. It is estimated that about 80-95% of information that is collected for intelligence missions is found freely throughout the internet or other publicly available sources. This type of information has been dubbed SOCMINT (Social Media Intelligence) and it has become a crucial tool within the intelligence community. After the Edward Snowden leaks in 2013 revealed a global scale surveillance program on U.S. and international citizens, tensions surrounding data privacy ignited. The European Union (EU) responded to privacy concerns by enacting the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR has been hailed as one of the “most comprehensive attempts to globally regulate the collection and use of personal data by both governments and the private sector.” The GDPR shows that the European Union has taken strides to protect both the privacy of their citizens and their transnational security. The U.S., however, has not been as zealous in their response to citizens’ data privacy concerns. Currently, the U.S. still has no comprehensive federal legislation to protect personal data. This has proven to become a national security risk and will continue to threaten the national security landscape until the federal government addresses America’s lack of data privacy protections.