Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Social networking sites increasingly helpful in solving crimes

ABC News has as story April 14 about how law enforcement can use social networking sites, especially Facebook, to solve crimes.

The story, by Ki Mae Heussner, is titled “Found on Facebook: Sleuthing 2.0, Cybersleuths Solve Crimes, Recover Lost Items,” link here.

The story discusses how victims connect on Facebook to share clues and how police departments set up Facebook accounts and pages to seek help from the public.

Since about 2005, the media has reported several instances where criminals implicated themselves on social networking sites, which led to their apprehension.

But the most sinister possibility is that clues for hits or very disturbing incidents might be found buried on Facebook, Myspace, blogs (which could be faked), or, particularly, comments made on discussion forums, and sometimes these could be matched up to “wallpaper” contents or other material posted on social networking sites. It’s possible that clues regarding international terrorism and drug cartel activity could be found here. I don’t know whether local police departments or investigative agencies (FBI, etc) are fully equipped to follow these kinds of clues now, or whether they need to hire more agents who are “social networking” and Web and even P2P savvy. I have a feeling that they need to look harder to the under 25 generation to build up their investigative possibilities (or maybe even over 65).

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