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CRedskinsRule 03-16-2010 07:01 AM

Do you know who your friends are?
[url=http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100316/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_feds_on_facebook]Break the law and your new 'friend' may be the FBI - Yahoo! News[/url]

Interesting how the title phrases it in such a way as to make it sound like the FBI is reactive in its online behavior.

U.S. law enforcement agents are following the rest of the Internet world into popular social-networking services, going undercover with false online profiles to communicate with suspects and gather private information, according to an internal Justice Department document that offers a tantalizing glimpse of issues related to privacy and crime-fighting.
The Justice Department document, part of a presentation given in August by top cybercrime officials, describes the value of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and other services to government investigators. It does not describe in detail the boundaries for using them.

"It doesn't really discuss any mechanisms for accountability or ensuring that government agents use those tools responsibly," said Marcia Hoffman, a senior attorney with the civil liberties foundation.

The group sued in Washington to force the government to disclose its policies for using social networking sites in investigations, data collection and surveillance.

Covert investigations on social-networking services are legal and governed by internal rules, according to Justice Department officials. But they would not say what those rules are.
Good to know that the government is our friend.

tryfuhl 03-16-2010 07:20 AM

Re: Do you know who your friends are?
1) Don't talk to people that you don't know, especially if they're asking questions
2) Don't feel pressured if a LEO is trying to get you to talk, even if they say that they already know stuff or have evidence
3) Even if someone you know is badgering you just don't talk about it
4) Do NOT post up pictures that you link you to something, even if you had no involvement; be careful with your status updates, etc. it's not only the cops, but your job/other contacts who will be looking at you
5) Exercise your privacy controls on social networking sites

tryfuhl 03-16-2010 07:27 AM

Re: Do you know who your friends are?
The Justice Department document raises a legal question about a social-media bullying case in which U.S. prosecutors charged a Missouri woman with computer fraud for creating a fake MySpace account effectively the same activity that undercover agents are doing, although for different purposes.

The woman, Lori Drew, helped create an account for a fictitious teen boy on MySpace and sent flirtatious messages to a 13-year-old neighborhood girl in his name. The girl hanged herself in October 2006, in a St. Louis suburb, after she received a message saying the world would be better without her.

A jury in California, where MySpace has its servers, convicted Drew of three misdemeanor counts of accessing computers without authorization because she was accused of violating MySpace's rules against creating fake accounts. But last year a judge overturned the verdicts, citing the vagueness of the law.

"If agents violate terms of service, is that 'otherwise illegal activity'?" the document asks. It doesn't provide an answer.

Facebook's rules, for example, specify that users "will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission." Twitter's rules prohibit its users from sending deceptive or false information. MySpace requires that information for accounts be "truthful and accurate."

A former U.S. cybersecurity prosecutor, Marc Zwillinger, said investigators should be able to go undercover in the online world the same way they do in the real world, even if such conduct is barred by a company's rules. But there have to be limits, he said.

In the face-to-face world, agents can't impersonate a suspect's spouse, child, parent or best friend. But online, behind the guise of a social-networking account, they can.

"This new situation presents a need for careful oversight so that law enforcement does not use social networking to intrude on some of our most personal relationships," said Zwillinger, whose firm does legal work for Yahoo and MySpace.[/quote]

This is what drives me wild about it all

CRedskinsRule 03-16-2010 07:39 AM

Re: Do you know who your friends are?
Makes you want to go look at Big Ben's facebook, don't it?

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