Tech The NYPD Now Allowed To Use Fake Accounts On Facebook For Investigations

Published on September 14th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson


The NYPD Now Allowed To Use Fake Accounts On Facebook For Investigations

The NYPD Now Allowed To Use Fake Accounts On Facebook For Investigations

I once said to a friend of mine that the government might as well shelve their Carnivore program and just sign up on Facebook and Twitter because social media made the whole idea of secretly spying on the public redundant; and now we get the official okay from NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly that it’s okay for police officers to sign up to Facebook with fake names for investigation purposes.

Of course there is the “public” caveat to that announcement in that the officers involved must be using a department issued laptop and wireless card; which by the way can’t be traced back to the department; and we all know how well that will work out in the end eh.

Granted there have been cases where the police have been able to solve crimes and make some big arrests, like the recent charges against 49 gang members that were stupid enough to brag on Facebook about the murders that they had committed; but as Christopher Dunn, associate legal director for the NY Civil Liberties Union, pointed out, this type of police work work could be ripe for abuse (the term entrapment comes to mind).

While there are some who will pooh-pooh the idea of this being a bad thing because, as they will readily point out, you need to ‘friend’ someone on Facebook for them to know what you are doing the honest truth is that the vast majority of people automatically approve friend requests without any second thought.

The other area that Facebook fans will point to is the Facebook TOS that says you have to sign up using your real name, even though later you can change it to a pseudonym, the reality is that I seriously doubt that any of these fake accounts of police officers will get suspended once Facebook is notified that they exist.

via The Next Web



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About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).

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