back to article Woman says narco-cops used her PICS to snare drug lords on Facebook

A woman is suing the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), alleging that the agency impersonated her online in order to lure suspected criminals. Sondra Arquiett claims that a DEA agent used photos taken from her mobile phone to create a fake Facebook page, which the agency then used to help corral drug suspects. According to a …

  1. Flat Phillip

    "bad actors doing bad things"

    Are they talking about miming "I will survive" while wearing too many sequins? Some things should be banned!

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    3. Chairo

      Re: "bad actors doing bad things"

      Are they talking about miming "I will survive" while wearing too many sequins?

      No, I am quite sure they are talking about "trying to evade profiling and thus reducing our loot ad revenues".

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "bad actors doing bad things"

      I know some of these 99 percenters. They are bad actors that post about animays and memes.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ello ello ello!

    Is Facebook still a thing?

    ^ Not my real name

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Paid by the hour...

    ..and they can't be bothered to do proper identity fabrication to catch bad guys. Instead they use a real person's images, endangering that person. This can only happen if the agents involved feel no risk to themselves from doing so. That's the real scandal here; 'law enforcers' now feel free to screw over whomever they like whilst cutting corners in pursuit of their next bonus/pay rise.

    And recourse to the courts only results in 'make good' money from the taxpayer's pockets, with the perps escaping the slightest exposure, let alone any actual punishment.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Paid by the hour...

      This is why they are having a fit about encrypted phones. No more cloning the contents of any phone they feel like and using the contents for anything they want.

    2. Ralph B

      Re: Paid by the hour...

      > This can only happen if the agents involved feel no risk to themselves from doing so.

      I rather imagine they thought it was highly unlikely that she would ever find out that they had used her photos. I wonder how she did find out.

      [Goes off to check the complaint]

      Jeez, the cops used her real name as well as her photos for their "fake" Facebook entry.

      Lock 'em up!

  4. John Tserkezis

    Perspective people.

    Unless I'm missing something, a drug user is offeneded the narks used her (or the likeness of her) to catch other drug users or dealers, and she's offended by that.

    Not surprised. If the narks take your dealer away, you can't buy drugs anymore, and you're going to be pissed at the narks for that.

    1. dogged

      Re: Perspective people.

      From the article - "she was arrested in New York State on drugs charges".

      Not, you'll note, "she was convicted in New York State of drug charges". Innocent until... Not to mention that no detail is given about these charges. It could have been a quarter of weed. It could have been some under the counter meds.

      Would somebody who (to our knowledge) has not been convicted of any offence but was once arrested for something this trivial be fair game in your opinion?

      If so, are you a law enforcement official?

      1. Alfred 2
        Unhappy

        Re: Perspective people.

        'Not, you'll note, "she was convicted in New York State of drug charges". Innocent until... Not to mention that no detail is given about these charges. It could have been a quarter of weed. It could have been some under the counter meds.'

        Not to disagree with you, but even if she had been guilty of illegal possesion of drugs, presumably for personal use looking at the charge sheet, they had no right to do what they did. The DEA were, as others have pointed out risking her life by using her details this way.

        I only hope the weasel who set her up faces criminal charges.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: dogged Re: Perspective people.

        "....,Innocent until... Not to mention that no detail is given about these charges......" She was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and plead guilty, so she was guilty of a serious criminal offence.

        The funny bit is El Reg seems to be a bit behind the curve here - she has already settled with the DEA (http://www.newsweek.com/feds-settle-over-fake-facebook-profile-used-drug-case-301096).

    2. Diogenes Silver badge

      Re: Perspective people.

      Offended ? Offended ? Something more than offended - by using her likeness the authorities may have endangered her life.

    3. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Perspective people.

      That's all completely irrelevant.

      The allegation is that they used her private images for an illegal and unauthorised purpose, namely one that had no bearing on the case she was arrested for.

      Futhermore, this put her in danger of reprisals.

      Under US copyright law alone the unauthorised use carries millions in civil penalties, before considering anything else.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: Perspective people.

        By my count the following offenses were committed by the DEA: 1 count of identity theft, multiple counts of reckless endangerment (children in the pictures could also become targets) and multiple counts of copyright theft. Did I miss anything?

        Oh for those who think it matters, the results of her case are here but I'll sum up: entered a guilty plea to "Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine Base" sentenced to time served plus probation.

    4. SolidSquid

      Re: Perspective people.

      They didn't just use her image, they created a whole profile around her and included photos of her daughter and niece. Plus like others said, no mention of her being convicted of anything, just that she was arrested, they cloned her phone and later decided to use that data to pull in drug dealers. This wasn't something where they got her to agree to act as an informant, and worst case scenario she could have ended up *meeting* one of these scumbags and they think that she spent the last week flirting with them

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Perspective people.

        perhaps they asked her "nicely" to sign here and here and here in return promising to drop the charges and let her go. And then she went to a person of law...

    5. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Perspective people.

      Err No. As a random civilian, I would be concerned, offended too, about the possibility of some Mexican Gentlemen showing up on my front porch with a blowtorch and pliers to enquire into my involvement in their friends being ratted out the the DEA.

  5. Kevin Johnston

    Forced to use their real name?

    So how do you go about differentiating between the various people called John Smith (or for our colleagues over the water John Doe)?

    1. John Gamble

      Re: Forced to use their real name?

      "So how do you go about differentiating between the various people called John Smith..."

      Not using John Smith's photo, nor photos of John Smith's children, would be a good start.

  6. Lionel Baden

    750k ????

    She needs a better lawyer.

    for once i really believe there should be a stupidly high payout to ensure this never ever happens again.

    I really feel disgusted that a law enforcement agency would go ahead and do something like that.

    I fear the day it happens here in the UK, or it probably has and gag orders issued :(

  7. alain williams Silver badge

    Copyright ?

    If nothing else this is breach of copyright .... people get sued for millions by the record/... companies for doing just that.

    1. solo

      Re: Copyright ?

      Agreed. I had hear that a rect with rounded edge is a copyright. Then how come a face combined with her name is not. Go for 1 Billion+ (ask Lucy Koh).

  8. Elmer Phud
    WTF?

    You know I'm bad, I'm bad

    Chamon motherfuckers -- eeee heee.

  9. Frankee Llonnygog

    Wait!

    You can use fake names on the internet?

  10. Stretch

    She should sue her parents for calling her Sondra.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WORKS 4 ME

    I hope the arrest and prosecute more associated drug crims.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WORKS 4 ME

      and I hope they arrest people in the internet with such a horrible grasp of the most basic english language concepts. I'm surprised you found your way here successfully.

      Aside from her crimes, it is out of order for them to use any of her images, let alone those of her children for very obvious reasons.

      What level of crime do you think is acceptable for someone to use your image then? Say you have a speeding ticket, points on your license etc, does this make your images fair game to be used to trap other people into committing crimes? Can we involve images of any children or family members too? Using your logic you would be fine with this no?

      Idiot!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WORKS 4 ME

      I hope more DEA agents gets shot, droned and bombed. It's supposed to be a "war" after all!

  12. Andrew Foster

    Mathematically impossible?

    How exactly can the "99% of those who do use fake names" all be Aston Kutcher?

  13. Steven Roper

    Luckily she doesn't live in Australia

    since our fucking government has just passed laws making it perfectly legal for ASIO to do to innocent Australian citizens what the DEA has done to this woman.

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