Judge rules police can use fake Facebook accounts to lure suspects
By @dmin on News, Technology
A federal judge ruled last week that law enforcement can create fake social network profiles in order to search through a suspect’s account. Cops can lure suspects into “friending” them and then use the content of their Facebook (FB, Tech30), Instagram or other social media accounts against them in court.
United States District Judge William Martini denied a defendant’s motion to suppress evidence collected from his Instagram profile after he connected with an undercover account created by police officers.
The defendant Daniel Gatson argued that the police had no probable cause to search through his Instagram account. But Judge Martini argued that since Gatson accepted the request to become friends with the police officers, he enabled law enforcement to view photos and other information that he posted to his Instagram account.
As a result, the police did not need a search warrant. The sharing was consensual, the judge ruled.
Law enforcement has increasingly made use of the fake accounts tactic over the past year, angering social media companies, including Facebook and its Instagram subsidiary. Facebook has said it is “deeply troubled” that its customers consent to a legal search by friending fake accounts.
In October, Facebook sent a letter to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration demanding that agents stop impersonating users on the social network.
“The DEA’s deceptive actions… threaten the integrity of our community,” Facebook chief security officer Joe Sullivan wrote to DEA head Michele Leonhart. “Using Facebook to impersonate others abuses that trust and makes people feel less safe and secure when using our service.”
Civil Rights Groups Distance Themselves From NYPD Killings By @dmin onIn the wake of an execution-style shooting of two New York police officers Saturday, civil rights organizations are trying to distance themselves from accusations that the movement against police brutality was a direct call to harm law enforcement officials.
Two New York City Police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were in their patrol car in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn when Ismaaiyl Brinsley approached the vehicle and shot the two men point blank. The suspect was then chased by other officers into a subway station, where he was found with what appeared to be a fatal, self-inflicted gun wound. The officers were Asian and Latino, and Brinsley was African-American.
Police groups say that protestors and public officials have allowed their movement to incite violence against officers. Civil rights groups say their demonstrations have nothing to do with Saturday’s shooting in New York and that their movement is a peaceful one.
“This guy, Brinsley, he doesn’t represent anybody but his own troubled soul,” says John Fullinwider, co-founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality. “We mourn these officers just like anybody else.”
Police say Brinsley killed the two officers in New York after he shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend outside of Baltimore early Saturday morning. He had made threatening comments against law enforcement on social media before killing the officers. Brinsley had a history of mental illness and has been arrested 19 times.
Organizations blame the fact that Brinsley did not receive appropriate mental health care and was able to easily access a gun for the police murders. Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, says these issues can’t be lost in the dialogue.
“We’re clearly in a moment where we do need some reforms to our justice system. And at the same time we also need reforms to our gun laws and we need reforms to how we deal with mental illness in this country,” Robinson says. “There are a lot of serious questions that are on the table here.”
New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton said at a press conference Saturday that protests against law enforcement could fuel the cause of violence against police like that committed by Brinsley.
“Let’s face it: There’s been, not just in New York but throughout the country, very strong anti-police, anti-criminal-justice system, anti-societal initiatives underway,” Bratton. “One of the unfortunate aspects sometimes is some people get caught up in these and go in directions they should not.”
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch directly blamed New York City Mayor Bill di Blasio for the murders.
“There’s blood on many hands tonight. Those that incited violence on the streets under the guise of protest that tried to tear down what NYPD officers did every day. We tried to warn it must not go on, it cannot be tolerated,” the police labor union president said. “That blood on the hands starts at City Hall in the office of the mayor.”