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Civil Rights & Abortion Discuss State Court Says Cop Posing As A Facebook Friend To Snag Criminal Evidence Isn't A 4t at the Political Forums; State Court Says Cop Posing As A Facebook Friend To Snag Criminal Evidence Isn't A 4th Amendment Violation Getting roped ...

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Old 06-07-2018, 10:28 AM
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Post State Court Says Cop Posing As A Facebook Friend To Snag Criminal Evidence Isn't A 4t

State Court Says Cop Posing As A Facebook Friend
To Snag Criminal Evidence Isn't A 4th Amendment Violation

Quote:
Getting roped in by your public Facebook posts isn't a Fourth Amendment violation -- not even if the viewing "public" contains undercover cops. The Delaware Supreme Court [PDF] got to wrestle with an interesting question, but the public nature of conversations prevents the Fourth Amendment from being much of an issue. [h/t Eric Goldman]
Here, the defendant-appellant, Terrance Everett (“Everett”), accepted the friend request from a detective who was using a fictitious profile. The detective then used information gained from such monitoring to obtain a search warrant for Everett’s house, where officers discovered evidence that prosecutors subsequently used to convict him.
Everett posted pictures of cash and weapons. As a convicted felon, he certainly wasn't supposed to be in possession of the latter. There's a discussion of privacy settings in the court's decision, but it only shows nothing conclusive was determined by the lower court. Apparently, Everett did set his account to "Friends-only" at some point, but that most likely did not occur until after the photos used to obtain a search warrant had already been viewed.

Ultimately, the court decides the privacy settings don't really matter -- at least not as far as Everett extended them. It would have still allowed the detective to see the photos Everett posted, given that the law enforcement officer was already a Facebook friend.

Attempting to claim his privacy was violated by the three-year subterfuge, Everett's challenge partially hinged on a key omission from the detective's warrant affidavit. The detective never informed the judge he had spent three years pretending to be Everett's friend to gather probable cause for a search. If nothing else, this seems like a waste of law enforcement resources, given the only charge Everett was convicted for was firearms possession. Then again, surveillance through a Facebook account is a largely passive enterprise.

The lower court found the omission did not affect the warrant's validity and the state Supreme Court agrees. Then it moves on to address the larger issue: is a fake friend a privacy violation?
We reject Everett’s contentions because Everett did not have a reasonable expectation that the Facebook posts that he voluntarily shared with Detective Landis’s fake profile and other “friends” would not be disclosed. We observe that Detective Landis did not request or access the Photo directly from Facebook, the third-party service provider— a scenario that we need not address here. Rather, Everett made the Photo accessible to his “friends” and, by doing so, he assumed the risk that one of them might be a government officer or share his information with law enforcement.
This is true across all communications platforms, including personal conversations and snail mail. The expectation of privacy the sender might have can be "violated" at any time by the recipient of the communications. Even if the recipient is a cop pretending to be a Facebook friend, the privacy of communications is only as solid as the other participant.

The court also notes this isn't even comparable to wiretapping.
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20...iolation.shtml

The court's ruling is right on the money.
Cops are allowed to lie to people. This whole situation is reasonably comparable to an undercover sting operation.
The suspect accepted the police officer as a Facebook friend.

The Facebook aspect gives this a relatively novel twist, but that's about it.
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: State Court Says Cop Posing As A Facebook Friend To Snag Criminal Evidence Isn't

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Everett posted pictures of cash and weapons. As a convicted felon, he certainly wasn't supposed to be in possession of the latter.
Can the court add 5 years for sheer stupidity?...
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Old 06-08-2018, 06:29 PM
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Default Re: State Court Says Cop Posing As A Facebook Friend To Snag Criminal Evidence Isn't

Anything you place on facebook, or twitter, or any other social site is public information. You have a right to not incriminate yourself, but you have to be smart enough to keep your mouth shut.
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Old 06-08-2018, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: State Court Says Cop Posing As A Facebook Friend To Snag Criminal Evidence Isn't

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Originally Posted by foundit66 View Post
The court's ruling is right on the money.
Cops are allowed to lie to people. This whole situation is reasonably comparable to an undercover sting operation.
The suspect accepted the police officer as a Facebook friend.

The Facebook aspect gives this a relatively novel twist, but that's about it.
I don't like that cops are allowed to lie to people. I mean heck, lying to the FBI is a criminal offense. People get prosecuted for lying to the cops even when what they lied about was not a criminal violation.

However, I do agree that the court ruling in this situation is correct.
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