Thank god for stupid people posting the stupid things they do on Facebook. If you know me, you know I’m all about online privacy and protecting your identity and anonymity. For example, I don’t think employers should stalk potential employees on Facebook or Twitter. And I especially hate when law enforcement pretends to get all James Bond, making fake social media accounts and re-wiring Xbox’s to nab people. But I digress…slightly. I do appreciate law enforcement taking action when, for whatever reason, a father locks his daughter in a dog cage, photographs it, and yes, uploads them to Facebook. Well, in that case it was the son/brother who did the uploading — but I’m glad he did!
Stories like this have been popping up with increasing frequency. Here’s a guy who taped his daughter [Has FB picture]. On a less violent note, Facebook pics helped cops catch a guy who stole a wedding ring from the jewelry store. And here’s another “Facebook Photos Lead to Robbery Arrest” story.
There are a handful of these types of stories. I’ve even heard of parole or probation officers coming across their parolees/probationers on Facebook, and fortuitously noticing some incriminating pictures, and, often, some grammatically-challenged status messages indicative of how much said offender cares about the law or his current predicament. For the record, that stuff can be used for the record.
My Facebook profile is pretty well locked down. I try and maintain it so that I know who can, and cannot, see the various elements of my profile. I cringe thinking I might not have control over that. But, if you leave your door open, people are going to come in. I’m glad that law enforcement has begun using social media to search for offenders, because they’ve essentially asked for it, and it is quite beneficial to society. I’m sure a lot of law enforcement agents — even those people in the fancy cybercrimes divisions — are not all total experts when it comes to computer forensics (read: “Facebook stalking”), but it is a valuable tool when it comes to fighting crime. Although it is not quite so great when it comes to preventing anything, for now it helps facilitate the administration of justice.