Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

British Police Use Facebook to Gather Evidence

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the nothing-at-all-creepy-about-that dept.

Privacy 128

Amy Bennett writes "Move over police scanner and most-wanted poster. The Greater Manchester Police force has created a Facebook application to collect leads for investigations. The application delivers a real-time feed of police news and appeals for information. A 'Submit Intelligence' link takes a Facebook user to the police Web site where they can anonymously submit tips. Another link leads to the videos on YouTube featuring information on the police force, ongoing investigations and other advisories." As reader groschke writes, though, "Their access to user data raises significant civil liberties problems. They may be able to see more of your data than your friends or network members can — and you also expose your friends' data when you add the application. All without needing a subpoena or warrant."

cancel ×

128 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Twofo Live! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133160)

Twofo Live! [twofo.co.uk]

Bu... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133168)

All the criminals are on myspace... ?

No . . . not really (4, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133172)

They may be able to see more of your data than your friends or network members can -- and you also expose your friends' data when you add the application

Unless Facebook has given these people a special little hack into their API they can't get any more then any other facebook app can, and depending on your privacy settings, can turn out to be not much at all.

and... (2, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133188)

If you really object, you could, y'know, not install it in the first place.

I might give it a look, if only to get a handle on what all the knee jerk armchair reactionists are complaining about

Re:and... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133244)

As other slashdot articles about Facebook app privacy issues have pointed out, when a user adds an application, that application gets access (by default) to all of that user's *friends'* personal information, not just their own. They have to go digging through the privacy settings to opt out of a bunch of things to limit access to their own private information when one of their friends adds an application.

Re:and... (2, Insightful)

Khaed (544779) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135588)

Or you could not put private information up on a website.

Seriously, people. It's a social website, a public website, and it doesn't need any of that information -- it's not like you have to use facebook to make internet purchases. I've never understood people who put information at places like that. Of course your privacy is going to be invaded. That's the damn point of the site... if you don't want the world to know it, don't transmit it over an unsecured connection to a website with a crummy privacy policy...

Re:No . . . not really (0, Flamebait)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133384)

Yeah this is just idiots being paranoid.

Re:No . . . not really (5, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133402)

Hmm... Facebook will need some new options in a few of their option boxes:

Seargent Smith, please indicate how you know Mr. Badguy:
( ) We went to school together
( ) We hooked up
(x) I arresed him on felony charges

Re:No . . . not really (-1, Troll)

ultranova (717540) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133466)

Since this is the British police we're talking about, better include "I shot him without cause" there. And since it's the British police we're talking about, something like "I arrested him and threw him into prison for 20 years for false accusations of membership in IRA, Al-Qaida, or some other shadowy organization" might also be appropriate.

Re:No . . . not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133550)

Since this is the British police we're talking about, better include "I shot him without cause" there.
Considering the British police are mostly unarmed, that would seem at least as applicable to the American police, though they might also need "I beat him up for being black^WAfrican American" as an option.

And since it's the British police we're talking about, something like "I arrested him and threw him into prison for 20 years for false accusations of membership in IRA, Al-Qaida, or some other shadowy organization" might also be appropriate.
Absolutely, because if it was the American police, after "threw him into prison" you'd have to add "in Syria, where he was tortured".

Re:No . . . not really (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133566)

And no one still mentioned the old favourite:

"He accidentally fell down some stairs over and over again with his hands cuffed behind his back."

They loved that during the 80's.

Re:No . . . not really (4, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133574)

Maybe I lived the sheltered life down in Devon, but neither of those things are exactly common occurences.

If you're referring to the fact that the police are actually fallible, meaning they aren't criminal-catching robot people who get it right 100% of the time, then I think you're the one with the problem here, not them.

Mistakes are made, things happen, and sometimes it's really, really shit and someone dies because of it. However, to pretend that the few mistakes they make cancel out the incredible amount of solved crimes they manage, even under the incredible crippling that the Labour government has inflicted on them with their target-based performance system, is disingenuous.

Re:No . . . not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133780)

The problem is not really that mistakes happen, but that when a police officer does something outright illegal on purpose he/she is never brought to justice.

Re:No . . . not really (3, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134070)

However, to pretend that the few mistakes they make cancel out the incredible amount of solved crimes they manage, even under the incredible crippling that the Labour government has inflicted on them with their target-based performance system, is disingenuous.
Erm... Go to your local police force's website and download their annual report. It contains figures for the amount of crime they've solved.

I hate to break it to you, but unless the crime is something pretty serious (think armed robbery, murder), the solving rate is depressingly low. As in no higher than 30% for many forces.

Re:No . . . not really (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134248)

Actually, I do keep a tabs on the rate for my local force, and the figures look far, far better than that.

YMMV of course depending on the area you live in.

Re:No . . . not really (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134338)

TBF, last time I looked it up, Devon & Cornwall were one of the better forces.

Most of the forces covering more urban areas had figures more like what I said originally.

Re:No . . . not really (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134588)

Those figures have nothing to do with your original post, which appeared to suggest that the police are institutionally corrupt and spend their time shooting and locking people up random people.

Nice attempt at moving the goalposts, though.

Re:No . . . not really (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134614)

Those figures have nothing to do with your original post, which appeared to suggest that the police are institutionally corrupt and spend their time shooting and locking people up random people.

Nice attempt at moving the goalposts, though.
Say what?

Go back up and check the comment authors, brains.

Re:No . . . not really (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134666)

Maybe I lived the sheltered life down in Devon, but neither of those things are exactly common occurences.

Perhaps not as extreme as the examples given, but the so-called anti-terrorism legislation is widely abused and used far too often for things that have absolutely nothing to do with terrorism.

For example, just a few days ago, there was a story on our local news about how a local council literally had spies watching a family covertly for several days to determine whether they really lived within a school catchment area. They did. The surveillance was apparently triggered by a random tip-off that someone might be abusing the system, and instead of doing something like, say, going around to the house to knock on the door and see if they were home, they used authority under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to watch the people like something out of a crime movie, keeping logs of their movements and parked discreetly down the road from their house. Don't even ask how much public money was spent on that. The council officials whose organisation did this weren't even repentant after they were caught at it, mumbling some rubbish about the need to make sure the school admissions system isn't being abused. In other words, we have small-time local authority officials invoking anti-terrorism legislation to spy on ordinary families living on ordinary streets at vast expense and with huge invasion of privacy because of some random tip-off that the family might be doing something slightly out of order in applying for a school place. Do you really not see a problem with a legal framework that allows this?

If you really think this sort of thing is rare, just look at the statistics for how many people are arrested or stopped and searched under anti-terrorism legislation and compare that figure with how many people are even charged with (not necessarily convicted of) a terrorism-related offence. Then consider that those little mistakes have a way of completely screwing up someone's life (you try living with the stigma of your friends and family thinking you might be a terrorist for the rest of your days) and consider that the conviction rate is so low that it makes the headlines pretty much any time a couple of people are successfully prosecuted, and it's far from clear that a "greater good" argument applies here either.

they do (-1, Offtopic)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134922)

A few mistakes DO cancel out the good they do. One officer in one second can take away someone's life just because he felt threatened, even if the threat is unjustifiable. Police die at a lower rate than garbage men and farmers, yet are cowardly enough to unjustifiably shoot people on a near-daily basis. Someone being murdered by a government official sworn to uphold the law is 100X worse than someone being murdered by a criminal. And one murder that, for example, takes away 70 years of potential life from the victim -- does indeed to more evil than 100 cops working all day.

Please tell me all the stories chronicled here are just a misrepresentation of reality:
http://del.icio.us/ClintJCL/AbuseOfAuthority [del.icio.us]

Re:they do (0, Troll)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135194)

Well, initially I couldn't get on your link because it crashed Opera when I tried to load it.

So, I switched to Firefox just to humour you and wish I hadn't bothered - why don't you try reading the part that says BRITISH police and come back when you're not a moron.

oh silly me (0, Troll)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135250)

I forgot that a cop in another country is a completely different entity than a cop here! No resemblance in any way, shape, or form. Please forgive me for my apples and oranges comparison. (More like oranges and mandarin oranges, actually.)

Re:oh silly me (0, Troll)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135382)

I said come back when you'd stopped being a moron, not keep blabbering away and making yourself look even more stupid.

If you don't understand how two entirely different cultures can have two police forces that react differently to violent situations, especially when the armaments of those forces vary wildly, then I'm not going to sit here and explain it to you at length.

I will give you a hint though - in Britain, they don't give every PC Tom, Dick and WPC Harriet a firearm to wave in the face of criminals, and they're also taught to practise restraint.

If this seems rather rude of me, that's because I haven't been taught to practise restraint, and also I get pissy when I have someone crash my browser to make a largely irrelevant point.

cops in UK have guns now (-1, Troll)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135442)

That's pretty funny that you think 2 of the most similar cultures on the planet can be called anything close to "entirely different cultures".

You also don't seem to pay attention to the fact that whenever bad things start happening in the UK (like having a camera on every street corner, turning on cell phone microphones when calls aren't being made, or forcefully collecting DNA from arrested people, even if they are innocent), those same tactics are employed in the USA, usually within 3 years.

You also seem to be under the poor misconception that no UK police are armed. Um, that guy they shot in the head on the subway? Remember him? Or did you just conveniently forget.

Furthermore, this article wasn't about police shootings. It was about police using Facebook to lift information that they really shouldn't have. Facebook applications have already lied to users in many ways -- like when you click X to remove a story from your feed, it's still in the feed that your friends all see, so you are mis-led into thinking you buried a story. Or the Blockbuster lawsuit, where they are putting people's faces next to movies, representing them as liking a movie when they don't necessarily do.

The point being, police are dicks. And your failed empire of a country is most definitely not immune to the dickery of authority -- after all, it's why we succeeded from you: http://del.icio.us/ClintJCL/abuseofauthority+uk [del.icio.us]

Re:oh silly me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23135472)

That is probably the most ignorant post I've ever read on slashdot.

Re:No . . . not really (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133950)

Since this is the British police we're talking about, better include "I shot him without cause" there
It seems that you are referring to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes. The fact that this remained headline news for several months should probably serve as an indicator that it's not something that's exactly common.

Re:No . . . not really (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134148)

I'll second that. US cops accidentally shooting a foreigner wouldn't make the national papers.

Re:No . . . not really (1)

krewemaynard (665044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134564)

US cops accidentally shooting a foreigner wouldn't make the national papers.
Riiiiight...Amadou Diallo [wikipedia.org] would like a word with you...

Re:No . . . not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134454)

Since this is the British police we're talking about, better include "I shot him without cause" there
It seems that you are referring to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes. The fact that this remained headline news for several months should probably serve as an indicator that it's not something that's exactly common.
I think there's some debate as to whether or not he was shot without cause. Most people would say knowingly fraternising with terrorists was a good cause, but most still wouldn't shoot the guy. Perhaps the officer in question had lost a relative in the bus bombings ... we'll never know.

It would seem strange to me that a guy that has chance to shoot people who, by any common-mans term is known to be guilty (murderers, paedophiles, armed-robbers, even terrorists) any day of the week suddenly decided for no apparent reason to shoot a person he believed to be entirely innocent and posing absolutely no threat to anyone.

Could happen but I don't believe everything the press tries to spin our way.

Re:No . . . not really (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134730)

The fact that this remained headline news for several months should probably serve as an indicator that it's not something that's exactly common.

Well, that's OK then. If systematic failures by the police in co-ordinating their teams, sharing their intelligence, communicating reliably in a fast-moving situation, authorising the use of lethal force using weapons and tactics denied to most of us, not jumping to conclusions based on poor observations of basic facts and applying a little damn common sense only result in the death of an innocent man once in a while, I guess we don't need to worry about how often the same failings, abuses and incompetences result in something less serious or might result in another fatality. He was an illegal anyway, and we still have the death penalty for them, right?

The Future of Policing (4, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133838)

TELEPHONE TRANSCRIPT:

Victim: Burglars have been at my house and it's been ransacked and my five year old daughter has been kidnapped!

Police officer: Hold on, how do you spell your name again *tap tap tap tap* .. oh wait, Google's working now.. whew!...

Victim: There's blood on the kitchen floor and..

Police officer: Yeah yeah.. whatever.. oh, I found pictures of your daughter, she was on facebook.

Victim: Facebook?

Police officer: But I'm afraid we have no leads. She hasn't used her facebook account for a while.. oh well, sorry about that.

Victim: So when am I going to see a police officer?

Police officer: Well you can chat to me online.. do you have Yahoo?

*CLICK*

Slashdot 1937 (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135266)

The police now have a phone number meaning people can phone them up and report crimes. And people can give the police your telephone number so that they can phone you up and ask questions!

Time to take the tinfoil hats off this is a tool for people that want it to report stuff to the police, not so different to a telephone number.

Re:No . . . not really (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134002)

"They may be able to see more of your data than your friends or network members can -- and you also expose your friends' data when you add the application"

They don't see any of MY data, because I don't use Facebook.
It's a simple choice between vanity or privacy.

Just one question - ISP caches (1)

rootpassbird (1276000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134548)

ISP caches are probably the place easiest to get information from - controlled by a few, behind-the-scenes, no-public-interactions, probably physically located in dubious lands (no laws, monarchies, like tax-havens).
Then why all the fuss about APIs and popular websites?
The good thing about Facebook is that everyone knows that they can be broken into by sufficiently skilled crackers.
People know. That's important.

Re:No . . . not really (1)

manwithmanyquestions (1235714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134738)

But I think the bigger problem is that the Facebook app effectively recruits users to become moles for the police. In the US, federal wiretap laws, etc. maintain that, generally, law enforcement cannot use information gathered online w/out a warrant at trial. Yet, courts have carved out an exception to this rule in cases where a third party Internet user obtains incriminating information from a user online and hands it over to authorities. For instance, child pornography found on a user's hard drive by a third party hacker using a P2P client, was deemed admissible at trial. To the extent that the Manchester App denotes a trend towards actively recruiting users to investigate and report on the activities of others, I think the US should seriously reconsider what sort of evidence is permissible under the fourth amendment. And this includes information handed over by foreign authorities - i.e. Manchester Police - who themselves obtained it from a third party.

FIRST POST! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133178)

FIRST POST!!!!!!!!!!

Re:FIRST POST! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133198)

you failed by four minutes!

Uhhh...so? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133182)

Dear god no! You reveal information to a public web site, and the police can read it without a warrant!

I'm as slippery slope as the next guy, but I see a huge difference between information placed on Facebook and limitles wiretaps. Or unreasonable searches. Or your passenger having $10 in pot can lead to the police taking, and selling, your car.

If you're trying to dodge an arrest warrant, well, perhaps you shouldn't be posting on Facebook, or driving erratically, or advertising on TV, or accepting that offer for free (insert whatever tickets/crap the police come up with).

Re:Uhhh...so? (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133242)

Dear god no! You reveal information to a public web site, and the police can read it without a warrant!

Well at least somebody gets it.

Re:Uhhh...so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133540)

Actually I believe that you don't actually get it. Since the advent of Web 2.0, there as been a concept of keeping private data on public web servers; think webmail. I would certainly object if LEO accessed my google hosted, emails without a warrant.

Although I don't use them my understanding of social networking sites, such as Facebook, is that you enter your personally data and then set up a set of rules as to who can have access to it. This almost certainly does not include LEO. Of course, this is the users view of how things work and is almost certainly not how the site owners view it.

Re:Uhhh...so? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133604)

It's not 'without a warrant' though. You have to install the app and give them permission which parts of your data that you want them to have access to.

Re:Uhhh...so? (1)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133806)

You have to install the app and give them permission which parts of your data that you want them to have access to.
Yes and no. Bear it mind that there is a two-part process:

1) You must actively choose to install the program -- that is, you must opt in to get the app. However,
2) once installed, you must opt out of various privacy negations. By default, this app will have FULL access to everything you have posted.

Re:Uhhh...so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133414)

That's what I thought too. Come on, if you care at all about your privacy, don't even think of using Facebook.

Come on, the sole purpose of Facebook is to make money from your information. It's really not that complicated. You provide information about yourself, your habits, your friends, etc. Facebook mines it and sells it to companies and/or authorities and makes money of it. End of story.

Re:Which is why... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133992)

...I make shit up on my personal pages and use doctored images for alibis. Also, I make fake pages of people I don't like and make up incriminating evidence.

Actually I don't because I don't have an online social site anymore blog or Facebook, but my point is that if people were smart, they'd not post incriminating information and if they were really smart they'd make shit up. Back in the day before Myspace and even Livejournal I had an E/N blog which I realized family and friends were reading so I would make up impossible crazy stuff to throw them off or I'd write babbling posts that make no sense.

Ergo, using online sites to collect evidence might not be the best idea due to misinformation or self delusions.

Re:Which is why... (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134904)

Given the hyperbolic nature of so many social-networking-site posts, they'd be more accurately regarded as the fiction section of an online public library, not a factual reference.

However, the cops and the courts don't always care, so long as they can label it "evidence".

People are making it way too easy (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133184)

At least let your wannabe police overloads work for the data they need to rule over you.

Re:People are making it way too easy (1)

s7uar7 (746699) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134320)

Exactly. They're getting nothing out of me until they've beaten me at least twice at Scrabble.

Anonymous? (5, Insightful)

daliman (626662) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133202)

Somehow I have my doubts that any "anonymous" tips would really be all that anonymous...

someone please distill what facebook actually does (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133206)

they get people to enter information about themselves and then record everything they can think to record, analyze the data, and .. what? sell the results to advertisers?

Re:someone please distill what facebook actually d (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133618)

I'd assume the adverts are targeted yes, but I don't actually know because I have an ad-blocker installed. You can install 'applications' and then choose how much information you wan the application to install, and then you get asked (or sometimes required, which is a pain in the ass) to invite a bunch of friends to install the app. Bebo does the same thing.

Re:someone please distill what facebook actually d (1)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133836)

I'd assume the adverts are targeted yes, but I don't actually know because I have an ad-blocker installed. You can install 'applications' and then choose how much information you wan the application to install, and then you get asked (or sometimes required, which is a pain in the ass) to invite a bunch of friends to install the app. Bebo does the same thing.
I also have adblock installed, but when I occasionally browse facebook from other computers, I noticed something interesting: after changing my Relationship Status to "In a Relationship" (from the previous "Single"), I suddenly stopped seeing adds for "meet a woman" websites. They vanished completely, whereas before it was all I ever saw.

Could be a coincidence. Could be.

The problem is with facebook, not the police (5, Informative)

explodingspleen (1267860) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133210)

"Their access to user data raises significant civil liberties problems. They may be able to see more of your data than your friends or network members can â" and you also expose your friends' data when you add the application. All without needing a subpoena or warrant."

Alright, we obviously don't understand what either of these are.

A subpoena is a court order for information. If you are able to provide it and don't, there will be trouble. This doesn't mean such information can't be handed over voluntarily at any time.

A warrant grants a privilege to the police to forcibly obtain information they would otherwise not be allowed to obtain through force. But you don't need a warrant when you have cooperation.

The best example I could give probably is this: you need a warrant to tap someone's phone line. You *don't* need a warrant to put a microphone on an undercover agent and try to cajole the information out of the guy, or to bug a hotel room and arrange a meeting there, or to go knocking door to door at the guy's neighbors' houses making inquiries.

Your problem should be with "Facebook" who is currently selling out its homies to cash in as an informant.

Re:The problem is with facebook, not the police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133458)

Your problem should be with "Facebook" who is currently selling out its homies to cash in as an informant.
Facebook is "selling out" on this somehow? They don't get a nickel (directly*) from app developers when an app is written or launched or used. If this is selling out, then where's the money? Sheesh, if people free develop an app and other people willingly install it, how's facebook to blame?

* Ok, they get some more page views from a popular app, but that's not tied to any particular app developer, so they don't really care who develops the app.

Re:The problem is with facebook, not the police (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133628)

Yeah, perhaps the article could have been better titled "British Police use web-enabled phones, PS3s and George Foreman Grills to Gather Evidence"

The Fifth (1)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133672)

Don't worry, it's not self-incrimination until the court forces you to friend the detectives.

Re:The problem is with facebook, not the police (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134366)

While you're technically true, one line "You *don't* need a warrant to put a microphone on an undercover agent and try to cajole the information out of the guy" is false in certain areas. Some states require both people to know that they're being recorded, others require only one person, and others, like mine, only require that someone along the way, be it you, the other guy, or some telephone company, know.

Taken way out of context (2, Funny)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133212)

Since this is obviously suppose to be about helping the police catch criminals, I fail to see the problem here..

Re:Taken way out of context (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133328)

Dude, *everything* is always supposed to be about helping the police catch criminals. Have you ever seen a politician say "we want to limit your freedoms for no particular reason other than that we can"?

I'm not sure whether this particular story is big or not, but to say that it isn't because the police claim it's only about catching criminals... that's breathtakingly naive.

Pretty simple here people. (2, Insightful)

Ethan Allison (904983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133248)

You add the application, and you give it a bunch of permissions. You don't like that? Don't add it. End of story, now shut up.

Re:Pretty simple here people. (2, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133428)

... and you have to forbid all your friends to add that application too.

Re:Pretty simple here people. (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134084)

Alternatively, don't put something on the web that you wouldn't be happy showing to a room full of strangers, regardless of so-called "privacy" options (which have been shown time and again to be broadly meaningless).

Why do you hate freedom so much? (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133262)

Your free to not install the app. your free to not even be on facebook. this might end up catching crooks.

i'm not seeing how this is a privacy or civil rights issue. how about these people put their efforts to a better cause.

The obvious recursion is ... (3, Insightful)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133268)

So now children on Facebook will assume that it is safe to give information to a person who poses as a policeman or someone who has a similar logo. Children should not be asked to defend themselves. Let the police do their own work. I guess it gives them an excuse to browse the internet while they are having a donut. Yep Sarge, this pron site has lots of leads.

Re:The obvious recursion is ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133284)

I wonder how long until the first scammer starts posting with a police logo to blackmail children into paying cash money to the scammer or else they will reveal to their parents that they smoke weed or whatever.

I mean, #1 is don't post anything publicly that you wouldn't say to your own mother (says the AC, ha ha).

But I'll bet this can be exploited, and will be in the future.

Re:The obvious recursion is ... (3, Informative)

ultranova (717540) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133492)

So now children on Facebook will assume that it is safe to give information to a person who poses as a policeman or someone who has a similar logo.

If a policeman is asking you questions, the chances are he's investigating either you or someone you know. Consequently, it is never safe to give information to a policeman, unless you know that they aren't trying to get you or anyone you care about.

The same, of course, goes to anyone and anything that can be rasonably expected to be trying to "catch" people: all intelligence agencies, insurance companies, private investigators, people in the middle of a nasty divorce, etc.

Re:The obvious recursion is ... (2, Informative)

Angostura (703910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134610)

Yeh, right. Two weeks ago, the police came around and asked me whether I had heard any shouting from next door, because a woman had been beaten up. Clearly I should have told them nothing. I didn'tknow it was part of a ruse to get at me.

Re:The obvious recursion is ... (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135082)

If a policeman is asking you questions, the chances are he's investigating either you or someone you know. Consequently, it is never safe to give information to a policeman, unless you know that they aren't trying to get you or anyone you care about.
Yeh, right. Two weeks ago, the police came around and asked me whether I had heard any shouting from next door, because a woman had been beaten up. Clearly I should have told them nothing. I didn'tknow it was part of a ruse to get at me.
Do you know if you care about the people next door?

And do you know if the law requires you to lend assistance to people in distress? If you heard shouts and did nothing, you might have been criminally negligent in your duty to intervene.

Re:The obvious recursion is ... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133678)

If your hasn't been trained to 'defend themself' online, they shouldn't be online. The same as you wouldn't let your kid wander around some shady area of town alone unless they had .. well.. I can't think of any training or weaponry that would be sufficient for me to be happy with any kid I know wandering around alone.

Re:The obvious recursion is ... (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134474)

So now children on Facebook will assume that it is safe to give information to a person who poses as a policeman or someone who has a similar logo.
Those kids are already giving their details away to anyone who creates a "send a monkey/whatever to your friends" app.. I trust the police more than I trust a randomly chosen web programmer.

Maybe this isn't such a bad thing after all... (1)

Greyor (714722) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133336)

...we could always have the Manchester police force try to help us locate Karl Pilkington [pilkipedia.co.uk] ! They might even be willing to help put up posters [blogspot.com] to help catch him if Facebook users are willing to help. Sorry, I couldn't resist naming that famous Mancunian, given the fact that we're discussing Manchester.

Quick everyone (1)

Devv (992734) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133388)

remove the mob wars application!

And There's a Civil Liberties Issue How? (4, Insightful)

OakLEE (91103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133434)

I'm as much a civil libertarian as the next guy, but let's get one thing straight:

Nobody has any expectation of privacy (reasonable or otherwise) in information they put on a website that is publicly accessible to other people.

If you write on a friend's facebook wall about how you got this "killer deal on pot" or how you "got this totally awesome handjob from a local hooker" and police find out and charge you, it's your own damn fault for being an idiot.

Furthermore, if you buddy wants to play confidential informant and sell you out to the government, that's a problem between you and your buddy, not between you and the government.

If you don't want police (or anyone) prying into your business, don't make information about said business publicly accessible.

Little extra problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133542)

Doesn't it strike you as rather critical that they prove it was you who posted the information in the first place? I can see some nice juicy court cases come up otherwise..

Re:And There's a Civil Liberties Issue How? (3, Insightful)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133878)

If you write on a friend's facebook wall about how you got this "killer deal on pot" or how you "got this totally awesome handjob from a local hooker" and police find out and charge you, it's your own damn fault for being an idiot.

Actually, it's the law's fault for making these harmless actions crimes.

licence to goof around at work? (3, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133452)

Ahhh, right. So now all the Manchester police can claim to be following up leads when they're caught playing around in facebook at work. No wonder the general public is so hacked off - when police stats. show that they spend less than 13% of their time actually out of the police station, catching criminals.

I wonder what the quality of the "leads" they get will be. I would expect it's more likely to be from disaffected children using facebook who are annoyed with something their friends have done and report them out of spite.

Personally I think this looks like one of those great ideas that was dreamed up to make them look trendy and "in touch". I'd give it 6 months before it's quietly dropped under an initial tide of spam, false leads and time wasters, followed by complete and utter apathy.

Re:licence to goof around at work? (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133498)

So do you manage by spreadsheet as well? because 13% of the time "catching criminals" is pretty meaningless.

Re:licence to goof around at work? (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133562)

No wonder the general public is so hacked off - when police stats. show that they spend less than 13% of their time actually out of the police station, catching criminals.
This isn't really the police's fault. Government 'targets' are set in the most meaningless fashion possible to ensure that real crimes remain unsolved and less policeman have time to actually go out and arrest criminals. When they do, it's worth just as much to them to give a guy a caution for having weed on them, as it is to stop a pub brawl or prevent a murder.

The damage needs to be repaired at the source before the police can finally prioritise to doing real work.

And yes, I agree this idea is useless and shortlived, but it is certainly not an invasion of privacy.

Re:licence to goof around at work? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133712)

I don't think it's any more useless than facebook itself. You don't always know if something's gonna be a flop or not until it all pans out. If I lived in Manchester I'd have a better informed opinion of whether it will in fact be useful or not. To some citizens (nosy people and busybodies) it will probably be quite fun.

Re:licence to goof around at work? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133704)

13% of who's time? Patrolmen on the beat, or the receptionist's or chief constable? How does being outside help them get their mounds of paperwork filed as well (which is a lot of the reason that I cba to be a policeman even though I then get to 'legally' drive fast and double park - well.. that and the pay sucks)?

Re:licence to goof around at work? (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134074)

> 13% of who's time

Consider this:

Police officer: person who is difficult to recruit, needs training to be responsible for special powers (arrest, driving too fast etc.) expensive to run due to equipment needs.

Administrator: very common, easy to recruit, no special training needed, cheap to employ.

It makes no economic sense to use police officers to do menial administration tasks. An efficient organisation would have people using their specialisations and leaving the unqualified work to cheaper, lower grade staff.

There's no great secret here, it's called comparative advantage and has been the mainstay of all successful commercial enterprises for over 100 years. The thing is that since the police have neither any competition, nor incentive to improve efficiency they can afford to waste people's talents by having the wrong people doing the easy tasks while very few to the actual policing.

Re:licence to goof around at work? (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134622)

Consider this, you said "13% of time out of the station" are you claiming that any time inside the station must be "menial administration"?

Hear our Voices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133616)

I get the feeling this anonymous tip site will soon be getting a visit from another "Anonymous". Spamming their system in protest, anyone?

other sites... (3, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133638)

The police already tried this on MySpace. All they found were glittery ponies.

Re:other sites... (0, Redundant)

mei_mei_mei (890405) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133824)

LOL!

Dear everyone else (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133656)

We hope you take this as a sign that you should stop using Facebook.

Sincerely, Internet users who don't care for circlejerks.

If it's on the web... (2, Insightful)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133852)

...then it's public information. Electronic publishing by its very nature precludes any rights, real or imagined, to privacy. But, like any other information on the internet, it's to be taken with a pinch of salt. I for one wouldn't trust for evidence.

The Evil Empire ..The Axis of Evil .. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23133870)

the claiming of .. the seizing of .. the power .. the Authority .. the RIGHT ..

to enact legislation .. to pass laws .. to the setting of the social standard .. to the setting of the moral standard .. by a so-called democratic process of representational governance ..

established by a simple majority .. which in most cases is far less than 50% of the populous .. especially when close to 7% of the living population of america have been incarcerated .. and were Blacks constitute only 12.9 percent of america's total population, but black prisoners account for 46 percent of the total in jail in the nation .. especially with regard to the function of establishing and controlling acceptable social standards by the threat and use of punishment .. with the act of enforcement by the use of overwhelming force and detention .. it is totally arbitrary .. it is elitist ..it is a lie .. it is pure EVIL ..

outlawing naturally occurring and predisposed human behaviours is the cause of crime .. with the creation of criminals the effect .. they are not naturally occurring .. they are made .. with the result being just another form of taxation .. and employment for those who with a predilection and liking for the dominating others ..

it is purely a legal issue .. NOT a moral issue ..

a so called free and healthy society .. needs/requires a certain level of tolerance for non-violent crime .. zero tolerance is not freedom .. non-violent criminals must have a reasonable/fair chance of getting away with the crime .. especially if a society is going to claims any degree of personal freedom .. individual autonomy .. individual freewill .. individual liberty .. the RIGHT of self determination ..

without an organized religious/moral framework or construct .. all concepts of ownership .. of a desired standard or level of social behaviour .. is purely a legal/conceptual issue .. it is not a moral issue .. is purely abstract .. if the criminals do not have a fighting chance to succeed .. if the odds are to great on side of enforcement by the use of overwhelming force and detention ..

then we are/have become completely and totally enslaved to and by an arbitrary standard of social behavior and have left behind any ability and or RIGHT to claim any degree or capacity for individuals to exercise their freewill ..

zombies in the truest sense of the word .. not mindless hunger for violence and blood lust .. but total intellectual slavery ..

only an intellectual claim too freedom .. when in fact there is none ..
 

What are we really policing here? (3, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134050)

Since it seems unlikely people on Facebook are going to confess to be being a major drug trafficker, or show video clips of their last home invasion rape and robbery, I can't really see the value to society of wasting law enforcement resources clogging up the criminal justice system with the parade of Facebook petty crimes.

I don't know about the UK, but here in the states our criminal justice system is full. We have enough people in jail, more than enough people getting tagged with arrest records over fairly minor infractions. We need law enforcement to focus on the big problems and not be looking for reasons to dump some otherwise law-abiding person into the criminal justice meat grinder because they copped to some petty crime in Facebook.

And we need to de-criminalize a wide swath of drug possession crimes. We're spending billions keeping people in jail for a few oz's of pot. It's really quite insane.

Re:What are we really policing here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134244)

It's not for policing facebook, it's for allowing Manchester facebook users to report crimes.

Re:What are we really policing here? (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134518)

And we need to de-criminalize a wide swath of drug possession crimes. We're spending billions keeping people in jail for a few oz's of pot. It's really quite insane.
Got any evidence to back up those vague assertions?

As my home was burgled by kids looking for stuff to sell so they could get their personal few oz's of pot (great for when you're chilling out in someone's car you've stolen, vandalising the local shops, trashing peoples homes, etc..) I say lock them up, if we don't pay now we pay more later.

Their punishment? Well they got told off and had to do a few hours community service. My experience may be randomly skewed, but I don't think anyone is going to jail for small time possession in the UK.

We do however spend too much on prisons but we have to bite the bullet and spend a heap more to fix that. Letting people off just removes the deterrent and you might as well just have anarchy.

Now get off my lawn, I'm off to buy a shotgun!

Re:What are we really policing here? (1)

alshithead (981606) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134672)

"Got any evidence to back up those vague assertions?"

You can easily find the evidence yourself. You are the one who seems not to believe it. Try using Google with a search term like; "U.S. state criminal penalties marijuana".

"My experience may be randomly skewed, but I don't think anyone is going to jail for small time possession in the UK."

I wouldn't know if your experience is randomly skewed but you are comparing apples to oranges. The poster stated they are in the US, not the UK. I have a friend in Washington DC who did 30 days in jail for a $10 bag of pot. That seems excessive even though it was his second conviction.

Re:What are we really policing here? (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134838)

sorry but as the article was about the Manchester police, I thought it was the Manchester, UK police and hence that the conversation was UK focussed.

I forgot that the US is the centre of the universe for a moment there ;0)> apologies

Re:What are we really policing here? (1)

alshithead (981606) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134934)

I thought he stated pretty clearly that he was referring to the USA. Long before his post the US was brought into the discussion which shouldn't be surprising. I would bet most Slashdot folks are US citizens and most of us here in the US haven't traveled to the UK. There often is an attempt to parse a discussion in a framework we are familiar with as opposed to one we are not.

I thought the Vatican was the center of the universe?

Re:What are we really policing here? (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134962)

And on a 3rd conviction in California, thanks to our wondrous "Three Strikes" law, he could find himself doing a mandatory 25 years.

One judge stated that he was strictly enforcing the Three Strikes provisions to demonstrate just how ridiculous such a law is (meant for violent repeat offenders, but technically applies to even the most minor felonies). All well and good for demo purposes. Not so good for the poor bloke whose only "crime" was a 3rd incident of possesion of more than 1 ounce of pot (or whatever the felony-possession level is now).

Re:What are we really policing here? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134566)

Since it seems unlikely people on Facebook are going to confess to be being a major drug trafficker, or show video clips of their last home invasion rape and robbery, I can't really see the value to society of wasting law enforcement resources clogging up the criminal justice system with the parade of Facebook petty crimes.

I know of at least one case in the U.S. that was solved because the perpetrators posted a video of them committing a crime. I believe it was a murder case (although it may have been a gangrape). I think I read about a second case, but I'm not as sure of that.

If it was only the police force (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134094)

Any third party application you add to Facebook doesn't need a subpoena or warrant to access your personal and friend information back to the organization or company. That's the scary part. I would rather the police get it, however any of my foolish friends who sends the app to 25 friends (including myself) to get their love test results has exposed my information and possibly contextual relevancy about myself to god knows who, possibly even criminal organizations, and no doubt commercial entities who will target and market me to the hilt.

anonymous tips (1)

Udo Schmitz (738216) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134550)

link takes a Facebook user to the police Web site where they can anonymously submit tips

What could possibly go wrong?

Ripper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134722)

You would not belieeeeeeeeeeve the RIPA hoops the police would have to jump through to even read someone's personal data through a Facebook app, let alone use it in an investigation.

And no, we don't just do it anyway. And randomly harvesting it from any old account just because the technology exists? Fuggedaboudit. Seriously. Doesn't happen.

An excuse to use facebook in work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23135112)

This is just an excuse for the police to use facebook in work. Oh well, I guess everyone else is doing it.

Facebook, Police and secrecy (1)

Braindead61 (1276388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135606)

WHAT is the problem???? If you got nothing to hide, what you scared of? You got a credit card? A driving licence? A blood doner card? A bank account? A post office account? What the hell do you think they DON'T already know about you. Grow up, get into the real world!!!!!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>