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According to the results of a September 2011 survey conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police Center for Social Media, 88.1% of the 800 law enforcement agencies that responded utilize social media in some capacity.

Increasingly, public safety organizations are utilizing publicly available social data for investigative and forensic purposes.

Is this too big-brother-ish, or a sign of the times?
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Ruth Cox Williamson's profile photoJames Tucker's profile photoRich Fisher's profile photoJohn Gordon's profile photo
18 comments
 
That's why we keep hearing stories of someone posting photos to FB of themselves taken with stolen iPhones, on the real owners FB page.
 
It's definitely Big Brother-ish. But then, if they didn't people would complain that they are ignorant savages who are behind the times.
 
If they have good reason to take a closer look at some person, public social media data is a source which a good investigator cannot ignore.
 
Don't kid yourselves...They "Fish" for possible crimes in total violation of "Probable Cause" and "Reasonable Suspicion" rules. To think they only use social media for post-incident is ridiculous. They get away with it because we do not have free access to their systems to "Police" the police. We can never prove their "Fishing" activities. These cases will become more evident in the coming years as these activities are challenged in the criminal and civil courts. The Supreme Court will be very busy in the next few years drawing the line for Law Enforcement.
 
If you act suspiciously and draw attention to yourself in the real world, you might get stopped and looked at more closely. Why should the online world be any different? People are posting information for the whole world to see. Why wouldn't you expect the police to look at it too?
 
+Wayne Feick Who defines "Suspiciously"? The Nazis thought they had a good definition for it. China continues to suppress free speech under their definition of "Suspiciously"...That's where our Supreme Court will have to draw the line for Law Enforcement..."Reasonable Suspicion". BTW....Police shouldn't be surfing the internet or social media, they should be patrolling the streets for real bad guys !!!
 
I've never assumed that my privacy on the internet was ever 100% secure. At least now we know for certain that law enforcement is doing it. Does it make it OK? Not necessarily. Can it be stopped? Probably not. If you can use diary entries as evidence in court, social media posts are fair game as well.
 
I hadn't thought of that. Perhaps social media sites should require warrants for searching as well. Regardless, I think this story proves that you have to be really careful what you post online.
 
none taken, it's just a discussion. no trolls here!
 
+Annam Choudhry Agreed that different people will have different ideas of what constitutes "suspicious", and things like race or religious practices should not be considered suspicious. And I do get that things like racial profiling still are a problem at times in practice.

The point I was trying to make was more that people shouldn't be surprised that public conversations such as these are read by people not involved in the conversation and used for their own purposes.

When the Occupy movement has public conversations about where they're going to protest, it seems entirely reasonable to me for the police to monitor those conversations and respond accordingly to minimize the negative impact on the rest of us.

To me, it's not different than posting fliers on telephone poles advertising a big party you're going to throw, and then being surprised when an officer shows up to check whether things are getting out of control.
 
Best advice ever given to me on this subject "If you do something stupid, don't tell ANYONE."
 
Sign of the times - embrace it...WTF...that was Hitler's message when he took control of all the German Media under the guise of protecting the "Master Race". Wake up people. If you lay down on this issue that is the end of our privacy and the beginning of "Big Brother" taking away our freedoms.
 
The rules of evidence based on whether there is a reasonable assumption of privacy - these are public discussions that are no different than being in a public place. There should. and will be challenges to the evidence, and legislation and standards of procedure that will emerge. Choose carefully whom you elect and their principles about liberty and the marketplace of ideas.
First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me. Martin Niemoller
 
There is a distinction drawn between private and public and the internet, in so far as it is assessable to the public, is a public space. The notion that policing the internet denies us a private sphere is absurd. While it may in some ways extend the public sphere more accurately what it does is document public activities. If a bunch of kids rape a girl and then proceed to talk about their actions in a public space (such as facebook, twitter) I think we should pursue actions against them! Imagine if as James would have us be decided to let people document their illegal actions online and share them with no right to recourse. That's insane....its called anarchy!
 
btw. J. Tucker..... policing does not equate to taking control of. By your logic matters that the media investigated and brought to light the police and public should just let go. The point is finding a balance. Privacy and freedom of speech are not absolute rights. They are rights that have to be balanced with protection of the public.
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