FBI - the new friend on Facebook

March 17th, 2010 - 10:10 pm ICT by Pen Men At Work  

webMar 17 (Pen Men at Work): US investigative agencies will be using disguises on internet again. A decade ago they kept a watch on chat rooms of MSN and AOL to nab sexual predators. But the giant leap in crime and technology has made earlier attempts by security agency look insignificant. Those text-only chat services are old-school compared with today’s social media, which contain mountains of personal data, photographs, videos and audio clips.

The FBI is going undercover with false online profiles to communicate with suspects and gather information on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter. There have been some instances where the agency was able to track suspects in a case they were working on. Among other purposes: Investigators can check suspects’ alibis by comparing stories told to police with tweets sent at the same time about their whereabouts.

Though local police have their apprehensions about this latest practice of FBI. They think that investigations might get messed if more than one agency is investigating the same person and can prove counterproductive for both.

The Justice Department document, part of a presentation given in August by top cybercrime officials, describes the value of Facebook, Twitter and other services to government investigators but it does not describe in detail the boundaries for using them.”It doesn’t really discuss any mechanisms for accountability or ensuring that government agents use those tools responsibly,” said Marcia Hoffman, a senior attorney with the civil liberties foundation. So user of these social networking sites fear invasion in their privacy.

Next time before accepting a friend’s request from a stranger think twice as it might be an undercover FBI agent.

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