Yes, Friends Can Share Your Facebook Profile With The Police

from the and-it-doesn't-violate-the-4th-amendment dept

Jeff Roberts has the details of a ruling in which a judge said that if one of your friends shares your Facebook profile with the police, they haven't violated your 4th Amendment rights. This actually seems pretty straightforward and reasonable. Unlike some other recent rulings, this isn't a case where police are getting access to information that some others might have access to through other means. Individuals can share what they know with law enforcement, and if you reveal criminal activity to them, that's fair game. It seems like the real lesson here is, if you're (a) going to commit crimes and (b) brag about them on Facebook then (c) you should probably know who your friends are.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    identicon
    Mark, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 8:51pm

    It seems like the real lesson here is, if you're (a) going to commit crimes and (b) brag about them on Facebook then (c) you should probably know who your friends are.
    I'm probably going to be flagged for aiding and abetting, but wouldn't this make more sense.

    It seems like the real lesson here is, if you're (a) going to commit crimes and (b)
    brag about them on Facebook then (c) you should probably know who your friends are.

     

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      Chargone (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 8:56pm

      Re:

      ...

      other than adding a line-break type dealy there...

      did you actually change anything that i'm missing?

      because it looks like you just repeated what Mike said there.

       

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    Mark, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 8:53pm

    It seems like the real lesson here is, if you're (a) going to commit crimes and (b) brag about them on Facebook then (c) you should probably know who your friends are.
    I'm probably going to be flagged for aiding and abetting, but wouldn't this make more sense.

    It seems like the real lesson here is, if you're (a) going to commit crimes and (b) DON'T brag about them on Facebook then (c) there is no c.

     

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    THEMIS KOUTRAS (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:29pm

    about law

    I THINK THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT IS THE MOST IMPORTENT THING IN ALL THE COSMOS WITHOUT IT PEOPLE RUN THERE OWN LAW THIS IS GRATE IF THEY OBAY GODS LAWS BY NATURE BEING TRUE FAD INCOME CHRISTIANS WHICH THEY BRAKE NO LAWS BUT IF THEY ARE NOT THIS BECOME CHAOS EVEN THOSE FAKE CHRISTIANS NOT THE TRUE ONES BUT THE FAKE ONES CAN KILL ROB SO ON CREATING EVIL CONTINUESLY IF THERE WAS NO LAW IN OUR PART OF THE COUNTRY THERE IS FREEDOM WHERE WE CAN DO WHAT WE WONT TRUE YOU CAN BECOME A PERSON THAT DOES LEAGUEL THINGS OR NOT NOW THAT IS FREEDOM YET WITH THE LAW OF FREEDOM SO SHOULD THE LAW BE PERMITED TO DO WHAT THEY WONT SINCE THEY UPHOLD THE LAW THEY CAN ARREST THOSE THAT DONT DO LAW BECAUSE THEY SAID SO BEEN CHARDGE BUT WITH THIS LAW OF FREEDOM OF HAVING NO LAW MEANS THAT THE LAW SHOULD BE OBSERVED OBAYED MORE AND NOT LESS LIKE SOME PEOPLE MAY MISSINTERPRITE BECAUSE THERE ARE NONE ABOVE THE LAW NO NOT ONE BUT GOD NOW GOD CAN DO WHAT HE LIKES WITH THIS LAW BEING GOD GOD NEVER DISOBAYS HIS LAW HE PROVED THAT THROUGH JESUS CHRIST THEREFORE EVEN THE LAW BETTER WATCH OUT AND OBAY TO THERE BEST IN OTHER WORDS THE LAW IS FOR ALL AND FOR THE LAW AS WELL AS GOD NOW TO OBAY THE LAW IS SIMPLE LIKE YOU WORSHIP GOD HE THEN SEES YOUR HEART IF HE IS PLEASED THEN HE IS BECAUSE YOU OBAY IF NOT HE WILL HELP YOU LEARN TO OBAY AND IT WORKS LIKE THIS I FOUND OUT IN JAIL PEOPLE ARE ARRESTED WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT WE DO AT THAT TIME AS LAW IS CNSERNED OTHEWIZE WE WILL DO LAW AND NOT CRIME A PRECHER IS SENT IN THE JAIL EVENTIOLY AFTER EGNORING HIM/HER FOR GOD KNOWS HOW LONG WE COME TO OUR SENSES AND LEARN THE LAW WE THEN REPENT BECOME TRUE CHRISTIANS AND WHEN WE LEAVE REALEASED FROM SENTENCE WE GO STRAIGHT TO HELP OTHERS SO CRISTIANS THEN ARE LEAD TO HELP OTHER BECAUSE CHRISTIANITY HAS SUCCESS BY THE LAW SYSTEM JESUS CHRIST CAME TO SET PRIZONERS FREE MEANNING THOSE THAT REPENT AND TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND NOT THE ONES THAT HERT THE PUBLIC SO AS EVERYONE KNOW OR SHOULD KNOW CRIME IN SO ON IS MAD A ILNESS THE LAW KNOWS THAT BUT UNTIL GOD FINDS A CURE THEY GOT TO BE PUT AWAY THAT IS CRIMINALS SO ON SO THE DEASESES DONT SPREAD THERE IS A CURE IT IS CALLED COME TO YOUR RIGHT MIND OF THINKING REPENT FROM EVIL TURN TO JESUS BECOME A CHRISTIAN AND DONT GO BACK TO YOUR OLD WAYS OF EVIL.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:34pm

    This makes common sense to me and it is a civic duty to actually report first hand knowledge of felony's to appropriate authorities.

    In fact not reporting used used to be a misdemeanour in common law countries under the offence of misprision (of felony). It has now been removed from the whole of the UK and Australia (think NZ & Canada too) though you guys in the US still have it in the federal books under 18 USC §4 (though it's more an active concealment instead of pure failure - so more abbetting).

    But it all goes to show if you want things private DONT PLACE THEM ON FACEBOOK or the internet! Since the only real secrets are the ones known by less than two people.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:47pm

    Your best friend, your worst enemy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:51pm

    https://developers.google.com/bigquery/

    Maybe he should have used the Google's Bigquery to see the outcome of such things before he did it :)

    On an unrelated note have anybody read the white paper about Google's Dremel?
    http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/08/google-dremel-versus-hadoop/

     

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    Wally (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:52pm

    "It seems like the real lesson here is, if you're (a) going to commit crimes and (b) brag about them on Facebook then (c) you should probably know who your friends are."

    I would probably change C to "you're a bleeding moron" but I digress. Mike, I think you put it a tad more delicately than I could :-)

     

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      Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 4:38am

      Re:

      I agree with this. Anyone who commits a crime and posts it on Facebook (or any other social site, for that matter) is an idiot who deserves everything they get.

      I thought it was hilarious last summer when the people looting in London put up videos of themselves doing so on Youtube.

      Then there are people who claim disability benefit or are claiming injury to collect insurance and post videos of themselves rock climbing/playing football etc.

      Do they not realise just how stupid they are?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:56pm

    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/08/two-connected-car-studies/

    What if, it is not your friend doing the talking but your car?

    And a funny one.

    Impersonating a cop to get out of tickets it is not protected speech this one too seems a good ruling.
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/08/impersonating-cops-ruling/

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:06pm

    Wired is on a roll today, geezus.

    http://www.wired.com/business/2012/08/your-digital-life-for-a-donut-the-price-of-paying-w ith-your-phone/

    By the looks of it the micropayment sector is about to become a warzone.

    Everybody and their cat are gearing up to launch some kind of service in the sector except the entertainment industry apparently that has a focus elsewhere LoL

     

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    Devils_Advocate (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 7:46am

    Couple of thoughts...

    Maybe it's me, but this matter doesn't appear totally black and white.

    First of all, the post and some of the commenters appear to be saying it's okay for others to reproduce the contents of someone else's FB PROFILE for police, based merely on an ASSUMPTION that a crime has been displayed.

    Q. Isn't there a "slippery slope" argument to that kind of reasoning?

    Q. Would it not make a difference if the FB user in question was only sharing with a limited circle of friends?

    Q. If you were in this person's limited circle of friends, would you not confront your friend about his actions, before possibly violating his privacy, along with the trust he had in you?

    Q. Are we talking about only those that openly share, with everyone, actual, BONA FIDE criminal activities, which are not "open to debate", and which they may be bragging about? Or, are we saying it's okay for people to pass judgement on anything they THINK might constitute a crime, and rat that friend out by exposing an otherwise private page (should the privacy settings be set to not expose it to "everyone")?

    Just a few thoughts that came to mind when I read this.

     

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      dennis deems, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 8:00am

      Re: Couple of thoughts...

      Well it's clear from the article that the "friend" was really a police informant, so of course he's not going to confront the guy before violating his trust. It does seem a slippery slope to me. I give ten friends keys to my FB page or keys to my apartment. What's the difference, constitutionally, when one of the friends passes the key along to the police?

       

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    dennis deems, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 7:52am

    broadcast to the wider world

    The article said:
    Colon’s legitimate expectation of privacy ended when he disseminated posts to his "friends" because those "friends" were free to use the information however they wanted-including sharing it with the Government.

    To support this position, Judge Pauley III cited a case that confirmed the government can listen in on phone calls without a warrant provided that one of the people on the call gives it permission to do so.


    But Wiki P sez:
    In Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), the Supreme Court ruled that a search occurs when 1) a person expects privacy in the thing searched and 2) society believes that expectation is reasonable.

    In Katz, the Supreme Court ruled that a search had occurred when the government wiretapped a telephone booth.[22] The Court's reasoning was that 1) Charles Katz expected that his phonebooth conversation would not be broadcast to the wider world and 2) society believes that expectation is reasonable.


    I'm no constitutional lawyer but these seem a bit contradictory. My facebook profile is limited to friends precisely because I don't want it "broadcast to the wider world". That expectation is unreasonable?

     

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      velox (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 8:55am

      Re: broadcast to the wider world

      Katz v. US says that the government can't tap your phone call without a warrant. It does not say what the person on the other end of that phone call is allowed to do after you talk to them. If you use the phone to discuss a crime you have committed, the other party is allowed to tell the police.

      The case Judge Pauley discussed was US v. Barone, 1990. The Barone case said that if your "friend" on the other end of the phone call is willing to tell the police what you have said, then there is no difference between that and allowing the police to directly listen in as you talk to your "friend".

      In this current case involving facebook, Judge Pauley is concluding that when your "friend" allows the police to see information on Facebook it is no different than if your "friend" had allowed the police to listen in on your conversation

       

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        dennis deems, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:04am

        Re: Re: broadcast to the wider world

        The case Judge Pauley discussed was US v. Barone, 1990. The Barone case said that if your "friend" on the other end of the phone call is willing to tell the police what you have said, then there is no difference between that and allowing the police to directly listen in as you talk to your "friend".

        Thanks for clarifying. That 1990 decision strikes me as quite bizarre. Has there been no criticism of it? I searched a little bit on the webs but found nothing.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2012 @ 7:15pm

      Re: broadcast to the wider world

      So much for the "Katz don't exist" theory.

       

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    btr1701 (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:05am

    Common Sense

    > if one of your friends shares your Facebook
    > profile with the police, they haven't violated
    > your 4th Amendment rights

    Not even a close question. Of course your friends haven't violated your 4th Amendment rights if the rat out your FB profile to the cops. Has nothing to do with computers, FB, or fancy new technology. The reason is simple: the 4th Amendment only applies to actions by the government, not private citizens.

    If someone breaks into your house to steal your TV and finds evidence of a murder (dead body, Silence of the Lambs dungeon, whatever), and they run away and tell the cops about it, you can't have the evidence suppressed by claiming the thief violated your 4th Amendment rights because he didn't have a warrant when he broke into your house. Only the cops need a warrant to make evidence admissible.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2012 @ 7:27pm

      Re: Common Sense

      A person would have to be a real idiot to go to the cops and say, "Hey, you're not gonna believe what I found in this guy's house when I broke in to steal his TV!". Reminds me of a case a few years ago when a guy broke into the apartment below his and found naked pictures of his sister, went to the cops about it, and ended up being charged with the burglary. Not smart.

       

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        btr1701 (profile), Aug 22nd, 2012 @ 8:05pm

        Re: Re: Common Sense

        > A person would have to be a real idiot to go to the cops
        > and say, "Hey, you're not gonna believe what I found
        > in this guy's house when I broke in to steal his TV!".

        Happens all the time with snitches. They find out stuff while committing their own crimes and trade it to the officers that handle them for consideration.

         

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      deems, Aug 22nd, 2012 @ 10:47am

      Re: Common Sense

      Except that a "friend" giving cops access to my FB page isn't analogous to a burglar running to the cops and reporting about something he claims to have seen in my house. It's analogous to him inviting the cops in my front door and leading them on a tour of my home.

       

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        btr1701 (profile), Aug 22nd, 2012 @ 8:06pm

        Re: Re: Common Sense

        > It's analogous to him inviting the cops in my front door and
        > leading them on a tour of my home.

        Only if your home is owned by Mark Zuckerberg and is located on his corporate campus.

         

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    Mike Rowe, Aug 19th, 2012 @ 7:56am

    Three felonies a day ....

    Let's not forget that we all commit three felonies a day. See threefelonies.com for more info. ;-)

    The solution to this problem is not to use Facebook or any other social media.

     

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