Rather Than Blaming Twitter, NY Police Using It To Track Gang Activity

from the good-for-them dept

We've seen way too many stories of law enforcement officials blaming online tools like Craigslist, rather than using them proactively to help fight crime. Luckily, it appears that more and more folks in law enforcement are smart enough to know better. Robert Ring alerts us to a story about how gangs in New York are using Twitter to communicate and coordinate, but rather than blaming Twitter, the NYC Police Department is using it as a handy tool to find out what's going on:
Investigators are monitoring the traffic in hopes of sweeping up gangbangers before the bloodshed - and searching Twitter after attacks for clues.

"It is another tool ... just like old phone records," a police source said. "We can go through them [messages] to track these guys."
Nice to see these tools being used properly by law enforcement, rather than yet another public freakout over the wrong thing.
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Filed Under: gang activity, law enforcement, new york, police, twitter
Companies: nypd, twitter


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  1. identicon
    MN, 2 Dec 2009 @ 4:51am

    This is a good thing?

    I agree that it's good that LEA aren't blaming Twitter, but the government spying on it is not, unconditionally, a good thing. Like other forms of surveillance, Twitter snooping must be subject to oversight and transparency concerns, lest it be used for the wrong purposes. Welcoming police surveillance of Twitter or any other form of communication is like welcoming them to put a camera on you 24/7 and wait for you to accidentally break any one of the nation's 10,000 laws (most of which are suspect or contradict other laws).

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