Government Technology Featured Article
July 19, 2012
Busting Crime Using Social Media
By Julie Griffin, Contributing Writer
Some criminals are comically indiscreet about their crimes. Such was the case with 26-year-old Travis Nicholaysen of Washington and 20-year-old London Ely of Philadelphia. While Nicholaysen was on the lam, he updated his Facebook (News - Alert) status to indicate he was now ‘single.’ Local law enforcement, spotting an opportunity, later encouraged his friends to coax the fugitive via Facebook to turn himself in. Before this incident, London Eley of Philadelphia made international headlines and faced serious criminal charges after numerous users spotted her post on her Facebook page requesting a hit on her baby’s daddy.
These two situations probably gave law enforcement and prosecutors a lucky break due to their conspicuity, but reports indicate that law enforcement is now tuning into social networking sites more often in order to gather inconspicuous evidence of crimes. A survey conducted by LexisNexis (News - Alert) Risk Solutions reveals that four out of five law enforcement officials from various ranks have used social media in their investigations. Furthermore, 74 percent of law enforcement officials, who have not used social media in the past, state that they plan on doing so in the near future.
There are continuous debates by citizens and U.S. legislators over how information on social media should be treated, and it seems that these issues are difficult to resolve. Just as one jurisdiction points to the Social Networking Online Privacy Act (SNOPA) to reach a decision, another jurisdiction will declare that Facebook’s ‘like’ is not protected by the First Amendment. Although law enforcement did not need to try hard in order to obtain information from either Nicholaysen or Eley, what happens if crime-implicating data is hidden by various privacy settings?
In a recent case involving a man charged for jaywalking during an Occupy protest on the Brooklyn Bridge, the judge ordered that his tweets were to be turned over to prosecutors as evidence to his crimes. Twitter (News - Alert), who originally protested the subpoena, was resigned to comply with Judge Matthew Sciarrino’s order due to his belief that, “If you post a tweet, just like if you scream it out the window, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy." It seems as though there will be more concrete laws regarding law enforcements rights to information on social media in the near future.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO click here.
Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Brooke Neuman
LATEST GOVERNMENT TECHNOLOGY NEWS
Research and Markets: Personal Accident and Health Insurance in Hong Kong - Key Trends and Opportunities to 2018
Research and Markets: The Big Data Market 2014-2020: Big Data vendors will pocket nearly $30 Billion from hardware, software and professional services revenues
Research and Markets: Global Facial Recognition Market Outlook 2020 - 2D Facial Recognition, 3D Facial Recognition, and Facial Analytics Analysis of the $1.17 Billion Market
Research and Markets: Global Telemedicine Market and Services Industry Forecasts and Opportunities, 2020
VIVINT ALERT: Johnson & Weaver, LLP Files Class Action Complaint Against Certain Officers and Directors of Vivint Solar, Inc.; Investors Encouraged to Contact the Firm