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Canadian police forces are getting tips on how to track sexual predators and gang members by setting up fake accounts on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. "They make friends that way, they make connections that way. And they get inside that world, and go from there," said Lauri Stevens, a U.S. social media consultant who has been invited this week to teach police in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto how to make better use of such sites to fight crime. "They're seeing what people are saying about theThey're seeing what people are saying about themm," Stevens added. "And in some cases there are some very sophisticated investigations going on in the world of social media."
Is Twitter A Secret Instrument Of The State? Posted by Michael Hickins, Oct 15, 2009 10:57 AM
Privately-held Twitter has been closely linked to three incidents that we know of in which the Internet service worked closely with official United States agencies. The first was in Iraq, then Iran, and the most recent in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh case involving G-20 protesters Eliot Madison and Michael Wallschlaeger is particularly mysterious because the search warrant used by police, inferring a link between Madison and Twitter, is masked by a sealed affidavit. The warrant, which was issued at 3:25 PM on Thursday, September 24, allowed police to search Madison's hotel room, which is where they seized cell phones, PCs and a police scanner. The FBI later searched Madison's New York apartment and came away with Marxist literature and information about political associates. Whoa. The three charges against Madison and Wallschlaeger -- possession of instruments of crime (the seized electronics), hindering apprehension, and criminal use of communications facilities (the Internet) -- hinge on whether or not the two used their equipment to help protesters disobey lawful police orders. "There is no evidence they prodded anyone to disobey any lawful orders," Claudia Davidson, one of the attorneys representing the men told me today. If the case ever comes to trial (a hearing is set for November 17), plenty will be said and written about the overreaching search warrant and the denial of Madison's Constitutional rights (especially where the Marxist literature and political associates are concerned.) But the answer to the question that interests me now -- how did the police connect Madison to his alleged Twitter handle, g20pgh, -- remains cloaked behind a judge's seal. Davidson told me she plans to file a motion to unseal the affidavit.