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Tag: facebook

Mueller Meets With Google and Facebook to Discuss Wiretaps

Robert Mueller/file fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III headed out to California earlier this week, not to let his hair down, but to meet in Silicon Valley with top executives from several companies including Facebook and Google to discuss a proposal to make it easier to wiretap Internet users, the New York Times reported.

The Times, citing “several people familiar with the dicussions”, reported that Mueller and the FBI’s general counsel, Valerie Caproni, were scheduled to meet with senior managers of the different companies.

“I can confirm that F.B.I. Director Robert Mueller is visiting Facebook during his trip to Silicon Valley,” said Andrew Noyes, Facebook’s public policy manager told the Times. FBI spokesman Michael Kortan, also acknowledged the meetings.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES ON INTEREST

The Nigerian Letter Scam Has Finally Found Me on Facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Nigerian letter scam has officially arrived — at least in my case — on Facebook, the most popular social network.

The other day I received a personal message on Facebook. This fella has a lot of money for me. Millions. He wants me to help him get the money out of the account.  How the scam usually works is: He’ll ask me to send some money for legal fees to free up the millions of dollars. And then he’ll ask for some more.

The Facebook message said this:

Attn: Allan Lengel,

Please reply via this email address
(barrjohnsonmorris@hotmail.com) or call me
Phone+228-9177735

I hope all is well?,indeed i am very sorry for distracting your attention .I am Barrister Johnson Morris personal attorney to Late Mr H.C Lengel,a national of your country, Who died and left some huge amount of money with a bank here in Africa, valued at US$ 20.5 million dollars. I have contacted you to assist me and get it transfered. Please Reply to My Private Email for More Details (barrjohnsonmorris@hotmail.com)

Regards
Barrister Johnson Morris.
(barrjohnsonmorris@hotmail.com)

First off, I wouldn’t know what to do with all that money. Secondly, who the hell is Mr. H.C. Lengel?

I used to get messages like that all the time via email when I was a reporter at the Washington Post. More often than not, I’d reply by saying something like: “this is fantastic, I’ve been waiting for a break like this. Please call me asap.” I would often then leave the person the FBI Washington Field Office number.

I usually never heard back from the person again. Except in one instance, someone wrote me back and said: “Mr. Lengel, how dare you give me the FBI number.”  I responded: “How dare you try to scam me.”

I never heard back from him again.

Read more »

Detroit Political Consultant Sam Riddle Gets 37 Months

Sam Riddle/facebook

Sam Riddle/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Detroit political consultant Sam Riddle, who created drama by defying court gag orders and posting comments on Twitter and Facebook, was hit Wednesday with a 37 months federal sentence for bribery and extortion, the Detroit News reported.

Riddle, 64, admitted bribing former Southfield City Councilman William Lattimore, tax evasion and extorting businesses when he worked for the now imprisoned Detroit City Council Member Monica Conyers, wife of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi.) She was convicted on public corruption charges.

He vowed to return to politics and teach a new generation to avoid mistakes, the News reported.

“You can shackle my arms, you can shackle my feet, but you can’t shackle my soul,” he said, according to the News

Fed Agents Going Undercover on Social Networks like Facebook

istock illustration

istock illustration

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department document asks the simple question: Why Go Undercover on Facebook, MySpace, etc.?

Then it goes on to explain: “Communicate with suspects/targets” … “gain access to non-public info” … “map social relationships/networks.”

The document, part of a Justice Department PowerPoint presentation, shows how some federal and local law enforcement agents are quietly creating fictitious accounts on social networks like Facebook and MySpace to get dirt on suspected criminals. The presentation recently surfaced in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in a San Francisco federal court.

Some federal and local law enforcement agents are quietly creating fictitious accounts on social networks like Facebook and MySpace to get dirt on suspected criminals

“This is just the way people meet these days — electronically,” James Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told AOL News. “It wouldn’t be any different than calling someone on the phone, say, in an undercover capacity. If we can meet them on Facebook by creating a fictitious account, that’s great. ”

Even so, the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco filed the lawsuit in December against about a half a dozen federal agencies to create a public dialogue on the matter and make sure agencies have guidelines for agents, according to Marcia Hofmann, a senior staff attorney for the foundation. The Justice Department, Homeland Security, Treasury, the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are included in the suit.

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Some agencies don’t readily appear to have guidelines and some have offered to produce them in coming months to satisfy the demands in the lawsuit, according to Hofmann.

“This on one hand is a very clever use of these tools, but it makes you wonder when enterprising agents come up with these ideas, what is appropriate and what is not,” she said. “I don’t want to speculate as to what they do and they don’t do. I do think there should be a public debate whether it’s ethically sound or not. There should be some transparency.”

Initially, social networks like MySpace, which first surfaced in 2003, and Facebook, which launched in 2004, and Twitter which arrived in 2006, were simply for hip high school and college-aged kids. As social media’s popularity soared, law enforcement began to realize that there was more to these networks than idle gossip and photos of cats, dogs, proms and beer parties.

Now, some federal agents privately talk, almost in amazement, about how much information is available on social networks and how careless criminals are. They say some information can be obtained without even going undercover.

In fact, they say some criminals — and noncriminals as well — fail to select the right security settings to block non-friends from seeing photos and other personal information on sites like Facebook. And besides, anyone can see a person’s friend list without “friending” the person.

twitter4

“It’s not like we have to dig very deep,” said one federal agent who has not created fictitious accounts but knows of others who have. “Facebook is the best. They videotape themselves. They have pictures with guns, posing with gang members. There’s addresses of homes. We tend to go after what’s there.”

Another federal agent says he’s amazed how freely some criminals post information on social networks.

“I’m surprised by the recklessness of it,” the agent said. “I would think they would be smarter. That’s why we only catch the stupid ones. ”

Still, even before the recent documents surfaced publicly about fictitious accounts, some federal law enforcement agencies readily admitted to being aware of criminals using the social networks.

On Jan. 27, for example, the Drug Enforcement Administration in Los Angeles issued a press release about the indictment of 20 suspected members of the Riverside Street Gang with ties to the Mexican Mafia. The release noted that the members use “MySpace.com to communicate about gang business, and they use rap music videos and recordings to deliver a message of violence and intimidation.”

myspace-images3

DEA Agent Sarah Pullen of the Los Angeles office said of the probe, “Any time you have visual evidence that is available, it is extremely helpful in conducting an investigation. It would be the same as a piece of mail or a photo; anything that shows evidence of a crime.”

In Washington, federal law enforcement agencies have responded to the issue of agents creating fictitious undercover accounts with carefully worded responses.

“The Department of Justice and our agents follow applicable laws, regulations and internal guidelines for investigations, regardless of whether those investigations occur online or on the street,” Laura Sweeney, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said in a statement to AOL News.

“Just as we’ve done successfully in identifying and prosecuting child predators online, we will continue to use publicly available information individuals post online about their illegal activities, or false statements to law enforcement officials, in our investigations. To do otherwise would be negligence on our part,” Sweeney said.

Paul Bresson, an FBI spokesman, noted, “Simply said, law enforcement needs to be able to constantly adapt to the changing world around them while maintaining its ability to use all lawful and available tools at its disposal to gather potential leads to solve crimes.”

Interestingly, the Internal Revenue Service provided a document in the San Francisco lawsuit that states employee guidelines for the Internet. “You cannot obtain information from websites by registering … fictitious identities,” the document said.

“I think it’s interesting the IRS has drawn the line, and the Justice Department has not,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Hofmann said.

There has been limited public outcry about the prospects of agents creating undercover accounts since the Justice Department document surfaced.

But Hofmann mentioned the La Crosse, Wis., police department, which reportedly created a fake Facebook page using an attractive, blond-haired woman to lure students and find out about underage drinking. The department did not return a call for comment.

The La Crosse Tribune reported in November that Adam Bauer, a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse sophomore, had nearly 400 friends on Facebook and added the attractive woman. Shortly after, police had Facebook photos of him drinking, and he was fined $227.

After his court appearance in November, Bauer told the paper, “I just can’t believe it. I feel like I’m in a science fiction movie, like they are always watching. When does it end?”

Your Facebook Friend Could Be an Undercover Fed

facebook-logoBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department document asks the simple question: Why Go Undercover on Facebook, MySpace, etc.?

Then it goes on to explain: “Communicate with suspects/targets” … “gain access to non-public info” … “map social relationships/networks.”

The document, part of a Justice Department PowerPoint presentation, demonstrates how some federal and local law enforcement agents are quietly creating fictitious accounts on social networks like Facebook and MySpace to get dirt on suspected criminals. The presentation recently surfaced in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in a San Francisco federal court.

Some federal and local law enforcement agents are quietly creating fictitious accounts on social networks like Facebook and MySpace to get dirt on suspected criminals

“This is just the way people meet these days — electronically,” James Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told AOL News. “It wouldn’t be any different than calling someone on the phone, say, in an undercover capacity. If we can meet them on Facebook by creating a fictitious account, that’s great. ”

Even so, the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco filed the lawsuit in December against about a half a dozen federal agencies to create a public dialogue on the matter and make sure agencies have guidelines for agents, according to Marcia Hofmann, a senior staff attorney for the foundation. The Justice Department, Homeland Security, Treasury, the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are included in the suit.

For Full Story

Fed Agents Going Undercover on Social Networks Like Facebook and MySpace, Justice Dept. Report Says

facebook-logoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Well, social networking isn’t just for socializing anymore.

An internal Justice Department document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows federal agents are going undercover on such social networks as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter to investigate cases, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reports that agents are logging on to identify ” suspects, identify a target’s friends or relatives and browse private information such as postings, personal photographs and video clips.”

The social networks also allows investigators to check on suspects’ alibis “by comparing stories told to police with tweets sent at the same time about their whereabouts. Online photos from a suspicious spending spree — people posing with jewelry, guns or fancy cars — can link suspects or their friends to robberies or burglaries,” AP reported.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties group, obtained the Justice Department document in connection to a lawsuit, AP reported.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Authorities Expect Fraudulent Haiti Fundraisers to Hit Facebook and Twitter

facebook-logo
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The social networks like Facebook and Twitter, which have revolutionized communication among the masses, is likely to be fertile ground for con artists trying to cash in on Haiti fundraising scams, according to USA Today.

The paper reports that authorities are bracing for that  possibility.

So far, authorities have gotten more than 170 complaints about fundraising scams linked to earthquake relief, USA Today reports.

“We’re seeing a lot of computer-based fraud — unsolicited e-mails, bogus websites,” David Nanz, chief of the FBI’s economic crimes unit told USA Today, adding, they’re also seeing “traditional stuff (in which) people are just raising money on the street fraudulently.”

To read more click here.

Social Networking and the Courts: One of the Curses of the Internet

The Internet has been a blessing and a curse for the justice system. This is one of the curses.

facebook-logo

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Al Schuler, one of 12 jurors weighing the fate of a 23-year-old charged with killing a homeless man in Maryland, was confused by the word “lividity” and what role it might have played in explaining the circumstances of the victim’s beating death.

So, one night after deliberations, the retired engineer did what so many people do in the digital age: He looked up the definition on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. “It was just a definition, like going to the dictionary,” Schuler said. “It was very innocent.”

A Maryland appeals court didn’t think so. In throwing out the defendant’s first-degree murder conviction and ordering a new trial, the court ruled that Schuler’s inquiry violated an Anne Arundel County judge’s order prohibiting jurors from researching the case.

Schuler’s query is just the latest example of how modern technology and an information-saturated culture are testing centuries-old notions of how juries and judges mete out justice. The issue garnered national attention recently in Baltimore, where five jurors were accused of using a social-networking site to inappropriately discuss the ongoing trial of the city’s mayor.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST