April 7, 2012

Facebook User Data Subpoena Response

Below is an example of what Facebook account report looks like when law enforcement officials make formal subpoenas for user profiles.
  • The Facebook User Data Subpoena Response document comes a newspaper called Boston Phoenix in its feature on how digital sleuthing led to detectives tracking down Philip Markoff, a man accused of robbing two women and murdering a third, having initially made contact with them through Craigslist.
  • The Phoenix got this Facebook User Data Subpoena Response document as part of the Boston Police Department’s public release of its investigation case file. the Boston Police Department had originally got the data by user data subpoena from Facebook
  • 3 Privacy concerns that stand out :
    • Facebook passes a pretty comprehensive record of time spent on the social network, wall posts, messages, photos, contacts and a record of all of Markoff’s past activity are included.
    • The Facebook file contains much more than info on Markoff: it also intersects with a bunch of people who had nothing to do with this investigation and hence makes privacy on social networking sites a messy issue. 
    • Police, in this case, didn’t redact anything from that Facebook file when passing it on to the Phoenix. Police were comfortable releasing Markoff’s unredacted Facebook subpoena because Markoff is dead. But the very-much-alive friends in his friend list were not subpoenaed, and yet their full names and Facebook ID’s were part of the document. So Phoenix took the additional step of redacting as much identifying information as they could

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