Skip to comments.Feds mine Facebook for info
Posted on 04/25/2011 12:14:22 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
DETROIT Federal investigators in Detroit have taken the rare step of obtaining search warrants that give them access to Facebook accounts of suspected criminals.
The warrants let investigators view photographs, email addresses, cell phone numbers, lists of friends who might double as partners in crime, and see GPS locations that could help disprove alibis.
There have been a few dozen search warrants for Facebook accounts nationwide since May 2009, including three approved recently by a federal magistrate judge in Detroit, according to a Detroit News analysis of publicly available federal court records.
The trend raises privacy and evidentiary concerns in a rapidly evolving digital age and illustrates the potential law-enforcement value of social media, experts said.
Locally, Facebook accounts have been seized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and FBI to investigate more than a dozen gang members and accused bank robber Anthony Wilson of Detroit.
To be honest with you, it bothers me, said Wilson, 25, who was indicted Tuesday on bank robbery charges after the FBI compared Facebook photos with images taken from a bank surveillance video. Facebook could have let me know what was going on. Instead, I got my door kicked down, and all of a sudden Im in handcuffs.
Federal investigators defend the practice. With technology today, we would be crazy not to look at every avenue, said Special Agent Donald Dawkins, spokesman with the ATF in Detroit.
(Excerpt) Read more at stltoday.com ...
If there’s a search warrant, then what’s the problem. I’m actually surprised they didn’t just say you have no expectation of privacy on Facebook and sieze the information without a warrant.
Maybe they are accessing accounts that have a high privacy setting. So they need assistance from facebook to access the account.
I would argue that one does have expectations of privacy on Facebook for any information that has been set to be visible to "Friends Only."
Remember, the government once claimed they don’t need a search warrant to get your emails at your ISP (Warshak v. United States), and even earlier claimed it didn’t need a warrant to tape conversations at pay phones (Katz v. United States).
More recently, they are downloading everything from your cell phone at traffic stops.
It is not just the Feds mining Face Book/FB. Scam artists around the world are mining FB for data posted by the not too bright to create that FB poster in an email fraud scam.
On the first Monday of this month, a friend, a CEO and owner of a midsize business, had an identity theft that more than likely came from FB.
An UK scam artist pretending to be that friend sent out an email to at least 50 people claiming to be my friend, and that he and his wife had been mugged in London. They supposedly lost everything, credit card and cash wise in the mugging and his wife was injured. Their pass ports were in the hotel safe, but the hotel manager refused to let them leave without paying for their bill.
In spite of doubting what had happened, just in case, I sent an email back (hijacked/phoney email address for the scam) and told my friend to go to the American Embassy and contact our local US Reps office.
I immediately got back a thank you and a plea for $1865 to be sent by wire to the Western Union Office. I sent back that a retired SAS friend would be delivering a special package to the scammer.
Over 40 personalized emails had been sent to people this friend knew around the world. The info came from FB. Fortunately no one sent any money that we know of. My friend has cancelled his FB acct.
One of our younger relatives got the same email with a different FBer. A very wealthy guy, who has been involved in professional sports on the west coast for decades.
The other scam is to find grandparents on FB with the first names of their grandkids. The scammers look the naming of Grandkids that are listed as in college. The grand parents get an email from a poser saying that Ernest was in an accident and is at a hospital. However, the ER will not treat Ernest until the grandparent send a couple of thousand $’s to cover the cost.
How I know about the Grand Parent Scam in my area, came from a friend who has a shop in a local strip mall. She went to a store to send a package which also provides Western Union so the illegals can wire money back to Mexico.
When she entered the store, she heard a set of Grand Parents crying and screaming that they had to send a couple of thousand $’ to a WU office in their grandson’s college town.
The store owner refused to do this as she knew this was a scam. She had her clerk call for a cop. The cop came in and told the crying grandparents this was a scam. They didn’t believe him until he took them to the station and showed them copies of similiar emails. All were scams which took money from the grand parents retirement funds.
I know a guy under investigation by the feds and the local media used his Facebook picture for the story.
Jokes on them. 94% of all Facebook accounts are fake, created soley to rack-up extra points for Bingo and Farmtown.
They can have my ringtones when they pry them from my cold, dead... oh wait.
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