back to article Scotland Yard pokes crooks on Facebook

Scotland Yard has set up a team to monitor social networking websites such as Facebook and YouTube for snippets of intelligence from clueless crooks who brag about their exploits online. Officers from the Met's newly established Open Source Team surf websites and infiltrate chatrooms, without disclosing their identities, to gain …

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Silver badge

The Daily Mail missed a trick

I'm surprised the Daily Mail didn't blame the internet or YouTube for the criminal's activities. After all, they would do it fast enough if it was child pornography.

The truth of course is that criminals who use the internet are usually in 99% of cases too stupid to cover their tracks. The internet actually helps identify and solve crime.

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Gun

"Mach 10"? I believe you mean MAC-10, better known as the Uzi. Wouldn't that be a machine-pistol, by the way? SMGs are generally bigger.. e.g. the iconic MP5

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Stop

Wow! Lookit that SPEED!!!

"In one example a subject found on MySpace was pictured in a car park carrying what appeared to be a Mach 10 sub machine gun."

An SMG that goes 10* the speed of sound? Or possibly a mis-spelling relating to the Ingram MAC-10?

</pedant>

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Huge Success

So the entire team, labouring endlessly 24/7, have managed to find one single case where they obtained a successful conviction. For some twat waving a weapon around that would be visible to anyone in the vercinity, who was on, say, foot patrol. Well done. Where are we going to put all these new felons?

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Boffin

@ Aditya Krishnan

Not wanting to appear as pedant or a gun nut, but a Mac-10 and an Uzi are very distinctly different weapons...

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Stop

Covert monitoring...

Obtaining personal information in a covert manner? Wonder if this is covered by RIPA

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Flame

@ aditya

The Uzi and the Mac 10 are different weapons:

http://images.google.com/images?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=mac%2010&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&um=1&sa=N&tab=wi

and

http://images.google.com/images?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=uzi&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&um=1&sa=N&tab=wi

They just look similar. One is made by ingrams, the other was developed by the IDF if I'm not mistaken...

Just thought I'd say...

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Boffin

Uzi

No, an Uzi is an Uzi, not an Ingram MAC-10. A Mini Uzi looks quite similar.

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Black Helicopters

@ AC

"Obtaining personal information in a covert manner? Wonder if this is covered by RIPA"

Just to say, No its not covered by RIPA as the person voluntarily gave up this information by posting it on a publically available site. The option is there for information to be witheld at their request when they create their profile so information they dont specifically request (tick box) to be witheld is made public and is anyones for the taking.

Lesson to be learnt - never give out or let any personal information get posted on the internet

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Alien

Jobs!

Any idea if there are jobs going in this area i won't mind trawling through sites and getting paid for it.

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Happy

@AC again

Yes there are jobs going in this area. Im doing it right now and it pays really well

:-)

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Uh Huh

Good grief how much dross are they going to have to sift through to catch one or two retards who commit crimes then post it up online saying LOOK AT ME! for the whole world to see and how much will this cost us tax payers.

How many "Real jobs" would that pay for in terms of getting police feet on streets.

And maybe I'm cynical but the first thing that sprung to my mind was that it will start a new sport.

Chav scum trying to "bait" cops into a fully armed raid on their house by posting totally "legal" pics of them posing with toys in their garage for the street cred of seeing who can get the most armed police out.

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Stop

Re: Jobs!

"Any idea if there are jobs going in this area i won't mind trawling through sites and getting paid for it."

Have you ever viewed any pages on MySpace?

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Anonymous Coward

I don't know what is more bloody scary!

The fact that plod are roaming cyberspace posing as normal people on Facebook - or that some scumbag gets to charge 'round London with a MAC-10 and only gets 10 months in the Big House for it!

WTF is this country coming to? We need high visibility policing with "throw away the key" sentences for certain crimes. I dare say wielding a machine pistol should be one of them!

Faming incredible!

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Silver badge

So many weapon experts here!

http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=19990419

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Conviction

The kid was stupid if he had a picture of him in his back yard with the Mac-10 instead of a public car park (even a private car park would have been alright) he would not have been commiting a crime.

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Alert

It wasn't a real gun

Throwing away the key seems a little over the top, considering it wasn't a real gun. Not an Uzi, nor a MAC-10, or anything capable of firing bullets.

If the police had spotted him offline, he'd probably have been shot by them. I mean it might have been a table leg in a plastic bag.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm busy:

1.) Photoshopping everyone I don't like in various poses with an array of weaponary.

2.) Creating fake facebook profiles for the aforementioned people.

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Happy

Talking of the Mail...

I think some people must work for them. So much complaining about how its a waste of time and money. You don't know how much this costs, how much use it is or anything.

It seems like a very good idea to me.

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Black Helicopters

@Richard

Are you checking out our comments now? In which case I'd like to apologise in advance for laughing at the govt.

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Flame

Pah!

Not that I would ever use Facebook anyway but...

Is this really a good use of resources?

And how much effort do they put into an investigation before they kick your door in?

After all, I could have pictures/video of myself doing 155mph on the A9 on my way to work in the morning. Would they bother checking it was done legally on the A9 Autobahn?

Or maybe the imagery of me in my office clothes, shooting with a Bundeswehr spec. G36 and a P8 in an unidentified industrial location? Would I get an armed response unit at my door? Or would they know that it was all fine and legal at the time?

Or what if there was something there completely made up?

Or something that someone else had invented to stitch me up?

Personally I think there's enough crime out in the real world that needs to be dealt with. If material on Facebook or wherever is a problem, they can deal with it when it's reported. Spending all day trawling for it is a waste of time.

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Maybe ......

Sadly, there are more than enough low-life morons willing to 'big-up' their exploits to probably make such endeavours worthwhile. In any event such work would almost certainly be undertaken by civilian employees (that now make up to 50% of some Force's establishments).

Hitherto, such own-goal revelations have only tended to come to light once an investigation's run its course and usually then only by chance. Yes, of course there's issues of identity and intent but that's normally the case in practically every inquiry.

As for the justification on resourcing grounds, that's not always easy or straight forward to quantify. Your average murder enquiry, for example, will invariably require a prodigious investment in time, money and resources, and I mean truly huge. It all depends on the circumstances and it doesn't take much imagination to postulate seemingly unsolvable crimes; script writers do it all the time: random victim, no witnesses, no suspects etc, its seldom easy.

I've been involved in cases where numerous hunches, bogus confessions and plain old red herrings have led to an excess of 5000+ written statements being recorded, not to mention a couple of years hard slog, before good fortune leads to an offender. In such circumstances, every potential lead eventually becomes followed, no matter how tenuous. So an ongoing drip-feed of You-tube etc scrutiny may indeed pay dividends in the long term, though at first thought, it'll probably be about as elusive to quantify as trying to gauge the precise effects of crime prevention. Someone has clearly made a business case for it, I'll be interested to see how it pans out.

Incidentally, I never cease to be amazed that the higher a crime's profile, the more the deranged flock in their droves to 'confess' to it, regardless of consequence.

And with regard to the oft assumed harmlessness of imitation or replica weapons: firearms used in crime are seldom discharged, they don't have to be as the mere threat of use is sufficient. This effectively removes any practical difference between the real and the pretend as numerous successful armed robberies will evidence. Here, its the criminal's intention which is paramount. It gets really tough to deal with when they tell you they have a loaded weapon but you can't see it properly (in cover, darkness, under a coat etc). You really don't want to be stood out in the open when that happens as you very quickly start running out of options; but that's another story.

Furthermore, its not always obvious deciding when someone should be taken seriously or not. An unarmed colleague of mine once stupidly convinced himself that the small gobby 13 year old in the playground only had a toy gun until the little sod suddenly shot him in the cheekbone with a .22 pellet; I think that's called learning the hard way.

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