Are you on the dole? Be careful what you put on Facebook and Twitter
The idea was floated in the Seanad yesterday to monitor social welfare recipients’ usage of social media to see if they really merit the payments. Careful now.
The Seanad may be on its last legs but an idea cropped up there yesterday that may send many people scurrying to delete some stuff off the internet.
Senator Feargal Quinn was speaking during the Second Stage of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2012 in the Seanad yesterday and Politics.ie report that he suggested that that ever so useful social media should be exploited a bit more.
The good Senator suggested that software could be used to monitor certain key words on social media, in a similar way to how counter-terrorism software was used in the Netherlands to see what recipients of social welfare payments are really up to.
Quinn is reported to have suggested that words like ‘holiday’ or ‘new car’ could be a tip off that you are making a bit of money on the side or that that bad back is really up to a 10-hour flight to California.
Of course, you could just be discussing F1, Top Gear or saying ‘I really need a holiday’ on Twitter but it might set off an alarm somewhere in the Department of Social Protection anyway.
We are all for cracking down on people defrauding the State but monitoring the vast array of social media, and the communications that fly around on them, is surely a blunt instrument for this.
Anyway, we wait to see if Joan Burton will listen to Senator Quinn’s bright idea.