back to article Feds use phony MySpace profiles to nab bad guys

Undercover US agents are infiltrating MySpace, Facebook, and other social networking sites with false online profiles in an attempt to nab users under investigation for breaking the law, a Justice Department document reveals. The revelation exposes the Kafkaesque double standard employed by federal prosecutors, who in 2008 …

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Anonymous Coward

Reality Meets TheOnion

I recall an apparently prophetical missive on /TheOnion/, years ago, that though more men than women were using the internet, most people by far were now revealed to be (male) FBI agents posing as 14 year old girls, fishing for paedophiles.

In other news, the FBI has a long-standing habit of faking to be whatever is convenient, pushing the envelope in stooping to nab a non-FBI `bad guy'. Though I think that the actions of ms. Drew are probably criminally irresponsible, it doesn't surprise me at all the FBI would do the exact same thing and worse to `get' her, which just goes to show the high quality law bringing service they provide. But who would expect different from the country that brought us anti-ICC treaties, guantanamo bay, ACTA, and many, many more?

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Social Networking Sites Are Awash With Undercover Coppers

If that the was the situation a few years back by now it's much worse. It seems just about every police force has some kind of online anti-pedophile unit in operation (at great cost to the taxpayer, of course) - the level of threat from paedomonsters must now be so unimaginably high in all countries at all times.

And they love their social networking sites, along with the likes of Limewire, Rapidshare and Megauploads, etc. These places are swimming in undercover sting operations - so much so that it's getting difficult to imagine a scenario in which these clowns might actually run into a genuine crim, as opposed to each other.

Ah well. Jobs for the boys, etc. Gotta love the Paedogeddon.

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WTF?

double standards?!

How.. is this double standards? I believe the intention is to catch people doing illegal things.. rather than drive an innocent young girl to suicide.

What the f%"k reg?

Couldn't think of anything worthwhile to write on the subject?

There is no link! What?!

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FAIL

It's not about that

It's about double standards for law enforcement. One law for them, one for us etc.

Reading comprehension FAIL.

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Cops OK to break the law?

It is deemed illegal to impersonate someone online.

The FBI are impersonating people online.

Regardless of their intentions, they are doing exactly what they say is illegal.

Reading Comprehension Fail.

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Dead Vulture

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

it was always like this. Undercover agents are supposed to infiltrate and if necessary do things that would otherwise be considered illegal. This was always the case. Besides, the intention is to catch pedos, not to drive a young girl to suicide. It's quite a different thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Kind of

thing that would suggest that commentards on El Reg who draw heavy downvoting are actually e.g. British Intelligence operatives (like the CIA interferring in South American politics?)

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Silver badge

unprotected friending

Perhaps I'm just too naive, are the "baddies" actually practicing unsafe "friending"? Sure, it's all fun and games, just playing around until someone really gets screwed. It seems you can't trust just anyone on the interwebs these days.

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Alert

Um... Isn't this a form of "entrapment"?

Subject says it all, good definition here: http://www.lectlaw.com/def/e024.htm

A point worth considering is the "to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit;" to which we should be asking if the feds are passive posters, or leading somebody on in order to get the desired result. Given they are using false personas, who knows what other prompting they may give to achieve the desired aim.

Furthermore, I'm not really sure if a reference to the moronic behaviour of Mrs. Drew is even related to this story. It is like a "here's a worst case scenario we can use for doing something very similar in the name of 'good'", aka "think of the children", but if a 13 year old tops herself because a person she doesn't know says the world would be better without her, well, what can you say? Her life must have been pretty screwed up already. And who's to say a screwed up 17 year old won't be led astray by the feds and nicked for "offences" he may well not have committed on his own initiative.

Furthermore, and just to kick an idea around for the sake of it, if the feds do manage to get an adult male to request a nudey shot of said fake-persona, and they haul his computer off and find nothing because he isn't really into that (but figures his Facebook friend probably is) then *technically* he requested from an adult using a false persona, hence no crime has actually occurred, and secondly one could say asking a not-child for a nude picture is less messed up than posing as said not-child offering a nude picture.

Meh, this one's a can of worms alright. Exclamation mark as a warning for obstacles on the road ahead...

.

[of course, in reality, there's probably very few pervs that don't already have a disc stuffed with incriminating evidence, and if by chance they find a clean system, a serruptitious prod of a USB key with AutoRun and a couple of batch files will sort that in under a minute... can even be done on-site if the mark is distracted by the big dude with the bigger gun]

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Flame

Still Chargeable

Nope, even if the person is Mother Theresa who inadverently sent any kind of affirmative message "Yes, I will bring the orphans to the mission for prayer." to the wrong message thread amongst the overwhelming hoard of SPAM (a "suggestion" if you want a nudey pic), Mother Theresa is in jail pending bail because the very ACT of "incitement" is illegal regardless of anything else, and just as heavy a crime as raping underage farm animals.

The very fact that there is no person, no picture and no accountability on law enforcement CONTINUALLY -=*TESTING *=- that we are "lawful" citizens makes no difference whatsoever.

At least, on this side of the pond... Same too for Blighty, or so COEP keeps trying to make it...

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Happy

Can't trust anyone? Nonsense!

You can trust me.

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sorta sounds entrappy me to me

Since nobody cares about myspace anymore perhaps the feds were paid just to give myspace some well needed publicty. Myspace is one of the largest social networking failures to date.

Theres alot of other companies that tried social networking and those sites failed before we even heard of them but myspace actually had a chance at one point.

That chance is gone, perhaps now that nobody uses it the feds can friend each other.

Stats show government employees are making more then us anyhow so why not let em myspace.

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@Dave 62

The outcome is not relevent TBH, they went after the mentioned fuckwit for volitating the T&Cs of the site because they could not prove she intenianal went for that outcome (which I think was pretty clear it was tragic outcome but peoples actions are their own actions).

If they managed to nail the aforementioned fuckwit then the feds are right in the same sight picture, no ifs no buts as they were not after her for "forcing a sucide" but a T&C violation.

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Is it so bad.

I think the FBI's involvement is good if it is put to the right use. For instance trying to stop sex offenders from children on facebook, and myspace i thing is a great idea.

www.theitguyoc.com

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Grenade

yeah but no but

According to Facebook's T&C's children should not have accounts. There is a minimum age on the sign-up and any parent complaining about potential kiddiefiddlers should first give themselves a good slap for not being aware of what thier kids are up to and ignoring the T&C's as, for some unknown reason, it's fine for thier underage kids to be on there but somehow it's always the fault of sites like Facebook to exist.

They also should get another good slap for not educating thier children about the basic requirement of having a thick skin when forming some sort of presence on the web.

Many kids/people also give it out but can't take it back - forgetting that sticks and stones are a relativley short form of treatment but words can burn really deep and keep burning.

Caveat Emptor and all that stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Far better

to have a covert assassination team, surely?

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Badgers

<clever title>

Wright's First Law of Gender Discernment: Everyone you meet on the Internet is a man, possibly over 50, probably overweight, most certainly balding.

Wright's Second Law of Gender Discernment: Anyone you meet online who claims to be a woman is lying.

Wright's Corollary to the Second Law of Gender Discernment: the only legitimate and polite way to verify that someone is a woman is to meet her in person and check for an Adam's Apple.

Wright's Addendum to the Corollary to the Second Law of Gender Discernment: any attempt to verify that someone on the Internet is a woman will result in your body being found in the backyard of a man, possibly over 50, probably overweight, most certainly balding.

Wright's Qualification to the Laws of Gender Discernment: These laws do not govern the population of the Internet in its entirety; they are only valid for the population of the Internet that you will actually meet.

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FAIL

oh, now I see the connection.

ah, uhm, apologies, seeing that "Lori Drew" was charged with "three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization", Maybe there is a bit of a double-standard here.

But this was a deliberate attempt to upset the girl, whereas you would hope any FIB agents would observe rather than incite people to commit criminal acts.

At the end of the day, posing as someone else is social engineering, rather than computer mis-use. Social engineering is what Feds do, and rightly so. If you're stupid enough to fall for it, that's your problem.

Fail icon is for me :-/

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, well

You'd hope the FBI is honourable as a schoolboy, but there's plenty evidence that not all these do-gooders actualy are, certainly not all the time. Which in turn is why they're supposedly under close scrutiny for using the extra powahs they get for doing their thing. And that is also why many things the FBI is allowed to pull are pretty much unthinkable in Europe... or at least were, until them came over for a good bit of lobbying for thougher policing and all that.

It really isn't that the populace has suddenly become more criminal, despite egregious cases popping up with regularity, for who doesn't love a good scoop? Especially if it involves this nebulous, ill-understood, and therefore probably at least suspect if not outright dangerous thing called `teh intarwebz'. It does show that at least some people let things loose on the 'net they wouldn't dream of saying or doing `in real life' because they feel as safe as picking their noses in a traffic jam. Nobody's watching, right?

Since it's made up of at least nominally humans too, the same goes for law enforcement. If you're sitting on the evidence, who's to prove you didn't made it up?

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Flame

What a crappy article.

And I cannot understand how anyone can defend that nutter women.

If I want crap like this I will read the tabloids

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hmm

with spelling like 'women' when it looks like 'woman' was meant I'd suggest you might already have caught a nasty dose of tabloids.

Anyway - the idea is that the FBI cares more about 'unauthorised use of computers' than any physical harm caused. You just start to wonder who the 'nutters' really are - the vindictive, nasty, low-life, saddoes who pick on people for seemingly minor reasons or the the vindictive, nasty, low-life, saddoes who pick on people for seemingly minor reasons.

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Silver badge

This is news?

Since at least the AOL chatroom days, a heavy enforcement agency presence has been a given in social networking setups. Given the SpaceBook suitability as a stalking service, it would be only remarkable if there WASN'T a presence. It's like having an infinite number of snitches that you don't have to pay. Priceless.

It's a disappointment that they didn't nail that Drew bitch with something though. That's almost the worst bit about all this new world order stuff...we're all having our privacy raped and yet when given a clear-cut case of child abuse like this -one that resulted in a death- they fuck the prosecution up.

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Linux

Add it to the great steaming pile

Of reasons to stay well clear of all these social media fad-sites.

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Paris Hilton

I'm confused

Surely the courts ruling in that woman's favor (by overturning the verdict) would actual support the FBI's activities? (Not saying I agree with it - just thinking about "precedent")

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the logic has no logic

Even in a case dealign with trying to catch pedos all the police or federal agents needs to do is convince the perp that the picture they are looking at(A 29 year old girl) is really 12 and they will go to jail.

Heck she can be 80 and just as long as the police are convinced they think the person as how the policeman wants them to be seen as then they go to jail.

So the so called good guys lie just as much as the criminal even though they use entrapment.

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