back to article EFF seeks answers from Facebook police

As law enforcement agents increase their reliance on Facebook and MySpace to nab suspects, legal watchdogs are demanding that officials disclose exactly how they use social networking sites. In a complaint filed Tuesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued five US agencies that failed to respond to freedom-of-information …


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  1. corestore
    Black Helicopters


    I've reveived (but NOT accepted) a couple of suspicious friend requests from very attractive women, with whom I had no friends in common and no obvious connection. I suspected some kind of spam or scam operation but... I wonder what they think I've done!

  2. Steve Evans

    Friend whores

    So don't be a friend whore, or if you must accept every friend request, learn how to use the different privacy levels and group features.

    Personally I keep my friend list down to about 100 people tops, and regularly have a cull of the pointless, inactive or annoying ones, this can even include relatives.

    Oh, and it does help having a common name too.

    Privacy theory sponsored by wood for the trees research :-)

    1. Marvin the Martian

      Privacy through common name

      Yes, it's been shown that security through obscurity is a new, effective, and exciting paradigm. You too can now take up its best practices, ideally through my fancy new guide at an introductory offer of 20$ on Amazon (45$ thereafter). Hurry!

      PS. I also have a large rivercrossing contraption for sale on my eBay shop.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Their evidence: ...

    a picture on Facebook of him with a can of beer in his hand!

    Big deal. I've got a picture of my 4-year-old daughter not just holding, but actually drinking from a can of Strongbow. What does that prove, exactly?

    In fact, the can was empty, of course.

    (Incidently, as I understand it, the law in the UK allows a 5-year-old child to consume alcohol at home under supervision. Does US law at least make an exception for wine consumed as part of the Christian Communion service?)

  4. Winkypop Silver badge

    Guys, guys!

    It's Facebook ok?

    It's unnecessary.

    Do not use.

  5. Mitch Kent
    Thumb Up

    This is why...

    ...people like ORG and EFF get my money.

  6. John H Woods


    Of course, if he'd been holding a 9mm semi-auto that would have been fine, but a beer can? OMG. Good job he wasn't showing a nipple as well.

  7. multipharious
    Big Brother

    Star Chamber

    Privacy rights in the USA are atrocious. Due to the overwhelming documentation of our lives by security cameras and even our own, I would say that a review as related to the 5th Ammendment to the Constitution is in order. In addition, while Law Enforcement may view the consent to search and seizure as a Friend acceptance it was not implicitly granted any more than a police officer disguising himself as a plummer and then rifling through drawers once inside your home. It still needs the test of the 4th Ammendment of both probable cause and/or consent. The framers of the Constitution understood the concepts and failings of a government that lead to tyranny, and failure to reasonably protect citizens from testifying against themselves and subjecting them to warrantless searches under duplicitous circumstances would have been damn high on the list.

    What it comes down to, and what I find interesting is Germany's take on surveillance: just because you can doesn't mean you should. Total Überwachen is prohibited, and is invoked to block draconian observation.

  8. g e

    underage drinking

    You'd need a vide to prove that at least, not a picture.

    That's just proof he held a beer can with unspecified contents, if any.

    Presumably the kid didn't think about this before fessing up ?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's sad if people are no longer able to post photos of themselves doing stupid stuff on Facebook. But in the olden days people would often get caught by the photo lab when they took a photo of themselves doing something illegal, and of course there are those caught out when they take their computer to be repaired and the technicians happen to notice the photos on the hard drive, those sacked when their boss sees what they've been posting online, and the possibility of photos being stolen, left on a computer that's sold, or passed on by a disgruntled ex-lover, so the moral remains: if you do something naughty, don't take a photo of it! Don't be an idiot, people!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    that the Wisconsin Police go trolling (oops - trawling) for underage kids on facebook........

    1. Steven Hunter


      "Privacy rights in the USA are atrocious."

      Why on earth would anyone expect to have *any* right to privacy *in public*. And yes Virginia, the Web is de facto public.

      Posting information about illegal activities online is the equivalent to performing the same illegal activities in you home in front of the window with the curtains wide open. If the police happen to walk by (or indeed even if the camp out on the street in front of your house which may be more analogous in this case). So either don't break the law or do it in private.

      PS: The police are allowed to trick you into providing evidence and/or probable cause under US law (eg: undercover work).

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surveillance Society

    Everyday I see more & more headlines about the increasing use of surveillance techonology by law enforcement & other agencies to keep a tab on people. It is happening in just about every supposedly free democratic county in the world (recent articles I've say these things are happening in places as far-flung apart as India & the Netherlands). It is an extremely frightening development when the whole of the Western world adopts a route that led to tyranny & eventual revolution in Eastern Europe. Unfortunately governments think technology will answer all their problems about terrorism & crime, while being at the same time keep tabs on their populations. I suspect in years to come there will be civil unrest unless the way ordinary members of the public (e.g. in the UK) are hassled & surveilled by the police is stopped.

    1. Bitsucker
      Big Brother

      Increasingly intrusive surveillance is here to stay

      For a roadmap to the future, check out this Feb 09 Grauniad article on the more intrusive future of surveillance:-

      As far as putting personal data on Friendface, several friends have to disclose their websites/Facebook pages to their employers. They have (at least) one 'tame' Facebook identity for disclosure, and another for their real interactions. I believe that the only data that Facebook demands is a unique name & date of birth, both of which can be invented easily. Anyone who puts something online that they'd be afraid of Plod (or worse) getting hold of must be reckless or deranged.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Help the Police...

    ... grass yourself up!

    (AC just in case...)

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Facebook begone!

    I got rid of my facebook after having it for around a year, I then realised( becoming more security conscious) that facebook was just a big brother honeypot, even when your profile is set to private.

    So I didnt want it anymore, and went looking for the "delete" account option... what there is none??, you have to deactivate it what bloody good is that?, I want it deleted not deactivated!!.

    So I emailed "bigbrotherbook" and asked them why I cannot delete my account they sent me a new link that didnt actually work, and I read numerous reports of the same "delete" link not working either, what was facebook playing at?, that went on for a week and then finally after another 10 emails did I get a new "delete account" link, it then told me if I dont log in within 16 days my account would be gone. my good god!!.

    Boy oh boy what a hard task that was to actually "delete" it if you can actually call it deleted that is, bet it isnt.

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