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Toronto Police Use Facebook Picture in Online Lineup 227

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-your-privacy-settings dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A 28-year-old woman was recently accused of assault and arrested based on a thumbnail photo from her profile pic on Facebook. Artist Lizz Aston was identified in a lineup after police used a picture from her Facebook profile. From the article: 'In an interview she said, "I told the officer I was at an art opening for a friend, then went home with my boyfriend because he injured his knee. We stayed in for the rest of the night and I did research on the computer for an art installation I was working on. The officer didn't care ... I don't think the police looked into it further." Aston said, the officer "read me my rights. I was searched, finger printed and processed."'"
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Toronto Police Use Facebook Picture in Online Lineup

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  • mistake #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:15PM (#39579917)

    You talked to the police officer.

    • Mistake #0 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:23PM (#39579995) Journal

      You put your pics online

    • by superwiz (655733) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:34PM (#39580077) Journal
      Why mistake? Yesterday she was an unknown artist. Today she got her name on Slashdot.
    • Re:mistake #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:10PM (#39580347) Journal

      Bears repeating: never talk to the police. They are not your friend, and they are not there to help you. They are there to close out a case as quickly as possible. Don't give them any ammunition to close it on you.

      • Re:mistake #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DaHat (247651) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:18PM (#39580403) Homepage

        I dissagree... the police are fine to talk to when you go to talk to them about something... a basic (but not legally binding) opinion/clarification of a specific criminal law, a break in in your home, a stalker, reporting unsafe drivers, a lost purse you found on a sidewalk (all things I've done... including #5 yesterday)... it's when they come knocking at your door and you are in their sights you alas have to be extra careful due to the whole "Anything you say can and will be used against you" bit.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          If the situation has gotten so bad that being arrested yourself would still be preferable to the situation continuing, THEN go talk to the police. Until then, keep your trap shut.

          • Re:mistake #1 (Score:4, Insightful)

            by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @01:42AM (#39582103) Journal

            You're way too paranoid. I'm not even slightly concerned about phoning up the local PD to let them know that a traffic light is malfunctioning. I end up reporting malfunctioning lights at least a couple of times a year around here.

            I'm also not even slightly concerned about phoning the police to report a car accident, calling 911 to report a fire beside the road, etc.

            If the situation involves you in more than a tangential way, regardless of whether you're contacting them or they're contacting you, then and only then does the "don't talk to the police" rule kick in. It does not apply if you are merely a witness who happened to notice something hinky (unless you were somewhere you weren't supposed to be or were otherwise committing a crime at the time).

            • Re:mistake #1 (Score:4, Interesting)

              by silentcoder (1241496) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @04:17AM (#39582513) Homepage

              I can't speak for all countries but in mine at least if you are the first driver to pass an accident scene you are legally obligated to stop, offer help AND (if possible - i.e. you have a cellphone) phone the police. Failing to do so can be charged with aggravated assault if anybody was injured (as you didn't attempt to get them helped).

              On the other hand if you're any car AFTER the first you are legally obligated to just drive past and NOT stop (in the interest of not blocking up the scene so emergency personnel can actually get to the victims). Not that I've ever really seen this one enforced...

              • That's a pretty terrible law as described. Short of calling emergency personnel (no real need to stop to do that), the average person is likely to make a situation WORSE by trying to help. Unless a car is on fire and you're pulling people away from danger (at which point you are putting yourself IN danger, which seems unlikely to be required by law), a person without medical training may likely aggravate injuries by failing to handle an injured person properly and/or injure themselves in the process of
                • I should clarify, there is no requirement to actually do anything, just stop and, if possible, make a phone call.

                  It's more about being on the scene so that the EMS people can find it more easily, if they get lost,they can call you. As soon as they arrive, you're free to leave. Of course if you have CPR training I would say you are morally obliged to offer assistance but there is no requirement to do so. Your obligation as the person to discover the scene is just to stop and do all you can to get emergency s

                • That's a pretty terrible law as described. Short of calling emergency personnel (no real need to stop to do that), the average person is likely to make a situation WORSE by trying to help. Unless a car is on fire and you're pulling people away from danger (at which point you are putting yourself IN danger, which seems unlikely to be required by law), a person without medical training may likely aggravate injuries by failing to handle an injured person properly and/or injure themselves in the process of trying to help.

                  That's why I had to do a first aid training course in order to get my driving license. Within a few hours you can get just enough training to keep a person alive until someone with real medical experience appears on the screen.

                  On the other hand, I was told this definition of a civilized country: In a civilized country, when you see a traffic accident, you stop and help. In an uncivilized country, you don't stop. By this definition, the USA is not a civilized country.

        • I dissagree... the police are fine to talk to when you go to talk to them about something... a basic (but not legally binding) opinion/clarification of a specific criminal law, a break in in your home, a stalker, reporting unsafe drivers, a lost purse you found on a sidewalk (all things I've done... including #5 yesterday)... it's when they come knocking at your door and you are in their sights you alas have to be extra careful due to the whole "Anything you say can and will be used against you" bit.

          Don't forget that "filing a complaint against an officer" counts as putting you in their sights.

        • by JWSmythe (446288)

          In the US (I know, the story is about Canada. I believe similar laws apply), statements made before the Miranda warning is given, and not in a line of questioning, is a spontaneous confession.

          For example, if you walk up to an officer, and say "I just shot someone", that can, and will be used against you.

          If he asks "What's going on here?" , and you say "I just shot someone", it also will be used against you.

          If he asks "Did you shoot John Smith behind the Kwik-E-

        • Re:mistake #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sco08y (615665) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:35AM (#39582409)

          I dissagree... the police are fine to talk to through a lawyer

          FTFY. Basic principle: if there's no tangible benefit that outweighs the risks / costs, don't bother. In most situations, the question that makes it clearest is, "is it worth paying a lawyer or some professional to discuss this?"

          The reason isn't that cops are bad or crooked. Your mistake is you think, well, I'm a good person, so I should report bad people to the cops, and the end result will be Justice!

          But you have to look at it from the cop's perspective: they don't see a dispute with a good person and a bad person. It's almost invariably two lying assholes, and if one person looks honest, he's probably just a better liar.

          And from your perspective, this other person is a bad person; you tried handling it like adults, but they are so anti-social that you want to call the cops on them! Base on prior behavior, you would expect that they're going to lie their asses off with the intent of using the law against you as a weapon.

          But let's look at your examples:

          a basic (but not legally binding) opinion/clarification of a specific criminal law

          I think this perfectly illustrates the principle. You're wasting your time and theirs. "Not legally binding" means "worthless." You also undervalue actual legal advice. At my present job, I took my employment contract to a lawyer and we went over it for an hour. For $250, I've got a professional opinion of what I've legally agreed to, not what the HR guy thinks I agreed to. The practical benefit is that if we get into a dispute, there's a much greater chance that we can resolve it like adults, and I can say, "no, this is what my lawyer says it means."

          a break in in your home

          After you've consulted your homeowner's insurance company, sure, file a police report. Your insurance company actually has extensive experience with that area of the law and can advise you on how to safely report the break in. And the report may be necessary to collect the insurance, so there's a tangible benefit.

          a stalker

          Stalking is invariably a case where two parties have a history of grievances against each other, and that's *exactly* the case where you want a lawyer to help resolve it as quickly as possible. The police are useless: they just want you to quit bothering them. (And, to be fair, can you imagine anything more awful than dealing with domestic squabbles?)

          reporting unsafe drivers

          Which is going to accomplish what? Again, if it's not worth the hassle and expense of a lawsuit, don't bother. And, again, driving is an area where you routinely get grievances on both sides. On the odd chance the police actually do something about it, this driver can lie to them and get you in trouble for filing a false report.

          a lost purse you found on a sidewalk

          Hell no! Good God, what if there are drugs (or any kind of residue) in the purse?! Or it was related to a serious crime? And there are *no* benefits, to you or anyone else. Most likely, that person is going to do the logical thing of retracing their steps, or someone else who is capable of not randomly dropping things they've strapped to their body can make use of it.

          I might ask a cop for directions or report a traffic light being out, because that's something that is immediately useful.

          Classic example that I actually did: I once called a police station because a buddy of mine had gotten drunk the night before and disappeared. What did they do? Told me to call hospitals to see if anyone checked in, and that they weren't going to do anything because (you have to admit this is true) idiots get drunk all the time and disappear. Call us again if he's gone for 72 hours or more.

          No benefit to me or anyone else whatsoever, and if he actually had disappeared, their primary lead would have been the idiot who called them.

          • by yoshi_mon (172895)

            But you have to look at it from the cop's perspective: they don't see a dispute with a good person and a bad person. It's almost invariably two lying assholes, and if one person looks honest, he's probably just a better liar.

            The problem is that it is worse than that. A cops motivation is not tied to you being innocent, rather once they make the decision to arrest someone they now have put their career on the line to make sure that person is found GUILTY.

            And look, to those good LEOs who actually do care about justice thank you. But again as a rule once a cop decides to arrest to you they are basically on board with the fact that you are GUILTY and their job is not to protect your rights, not to protect you even, it is to make

          • I might ask a cop for directions or report a traffic light being out, because that's something that is immediately useful.

            You sure you want to do that? [wbaltv.com]

      • Re:mistake #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Darinbob (1142669) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:34PM (#39580515)

        The trouble is that this attitude perpetuates the us-versus-them state of affairs that has been growing. If we want to get back to having police serve and protect then we have to stop treating police as a whole as the enemy and instead single out the bad actors. If people just have a knee jerk reaction that all police are self serving and say so loudly at every opportunity, then the police will become more insular, more resentful of the general public, and the problems will exacerbate. There's nothing like telling the young idealistic police officer new to the job that he's an asshole; it's a great way to make friends.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Dunbal (464142) *

          If we want to get back to having police serve and protect

          The police do serve and protect. Only you are under the misguided assumption that it's YOU they serve and protect. No, the police exist to serve and protect government, and they are one of the fingers on the hand of power that said government will use to crush anyone and everyone that poses an inconvenience. The world has ALWAYS been this way. To government you, the individual, have absolutely no value. You only exist to fill statistics, fill government coffers, absorb enemy ammunition, shoot a rifle or fil

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Ogive17 (691899)
            I'm curious to know where everyone grew up that they have such a negative view on all police officers.

            While I may be a bit biased due to my dad being a retired cop, I had a few "run-ins" with the local police during the 90s (my teenage years) doing typical teenage stuff with friends. The only reason we ever had these run-ins was due to nosey people who didn't like the idea that a group of kids might be out having innocent fun, making movies (cops called twice on us even though we had permission from the
        • by ArchieBunker (132337) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:18PM (#39580769) Homepage

          The courts have ruled several times that the police are under no obligation to protect you from anyone.

          In a few months that young idealistic officer will be tasing the elderly/children and lying through his teeth while under oath in court.

          There are no good police until there are no bad police. End of story.

          • by msimm (580077) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @11:01PM (#39581391) Homepage
            By your logic, there are no good people until there are no bad people. It's fine and dandy to lump people together glibly, but I don't see how it's intelligent or insightful.
            • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @12:47AM (#39581891)

              It's fine and dandy to lump people together glibly, but I don't see how it's intelligent or insightful.

              This is slashdot.

            • by T Murphy (1054674)
              I think proper wording would be "there are no good cops in a police department until there are no bad cops". While a cop in LA has no influence over what kind of cops work in New York, cops within a department are responsible for one another.

              If someone beats another man half to death and leaves him on the street, it doesn't reflect upon me if I'm unaware of the situation, but it certainly reflects poorly upon me if I do nothing despite being a witness, or even if I just come upon the victim later and do
        • by Kagato (116051)

          It's not that cops are assholes. It just there's no good that comes from cooperating with the police. Ever. That's a reflection of a series of badly formed laws that started during the war on drugs and continued through the patriot act.

          The crux of the problem is even if you didn't do anything, making false statements to the police is a crime. Often with a bigger penalty than whatever Johnny Law came accusing you about. So now your freedom depends on the recollection of you versus the recollection of an

          • by Spamalope (91802)

            So now your freedom depends on the recollection of you versus the recollection of an officer.

            Essentially it's an offense if any part of any statement you make doesn't perfectly match every witness statement. If your recollection is correct and the officer's is wrong, you've committed a serious crime.

        • Re:mistake #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Zibodiz (2160038) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @12:13AM (#39581691)
          Not all police are bad, it's just that 95% are giving the other 5% a bad name.
          • Not all police are bad, it's just that 95% are giving the other 5% a bad name.

            What do you base that on? Sure, it's a glib remark, but what are your experiences with the police? Every time I've encountered them, I've found them helpful, polite, and courteous. Maybe it's just my good fortune to always interact with the 5% though.

            • Re:mistake #1 (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Zibodiz (2160038) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @07:46AM (#39583429)
              First off, it was a joke.
              That having been said, I (and several friends and family members) have been harassed by police mercilessly at times. I've had friends who were Sheriff's Dept, and will testify that some are great guys -- but I have never met a city or sate police officer who was even courteous. Oh, except for one, who (after giving me a ticket for not slowing down quickly enough coming into his town of 500 people) said "Thanks, have a great day!" in a snarky voice.
              I have a clean police record (except for breaking curfew when 13, and minor traffic violations), don't have an offensive bumper sticker or anything, wasn't a partier or any nonsense like that (c'mon, I'm on Slashdot), yet at one point, I was pulled over by police 8 times in two months, and given a ticket every time for one thing or another, including a failed headlight at 1am (even though we lived in a small town, where no stores were open at that time, and it had just failed that night -- I worked a night shift, and was on my way home), and a $400 ticket for not having insurance, because I couldn't find the slip fast enough (the cop gave me less than a minute to find it -- and the EXACT SAME OFFICER had pulled me over a week or so previous, so he knew I had insurance). I've been accused of being drunk more than once while on my way home from work, simply because it was 1am and I was a 20-something guy in a car alone.
              And my bad experiences don't just extend to traffic incidents. I was walking in the park one day when I saw a cash box laying in the edge of the lake, so I called the police to report it. Before calling them, I walked over to it (didn't touch anything), to make sure it really was a cash box, not a tackle box or something. When they showed up, they accused me of being involved in the theft, then once I had convinced them that I wasn't, I was severely chewed out for the fact I had left footprints near the scene ('disturbed the evidence', even though I stayed about 10 feet away).
              Oh, and another time, I was given a $45 ticket for 'uncertainty' (can you believe that's a crime!?!? I don't recall what the 'actual crime' was, but that's why the cop told me he was giving me the ticket.) because I went about 35 in a 45mph construction zone while in Denver, CO, while trying to get to my hotel. At the time, the city traffic made me nervous, as I had only driven in small towns.
              So yeah, I think I'm justified in my distrust of the police.
        • Re:mistake #1 (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday April 05, 2012 @01:49PM (#39589037) Homepage Journal

          The trouble is that this attitude perpetuates the us-versus-them state of affairs that has been growing.

          And who is responsible for the "us vs them?" That's right, the cops. If the cops don't want an us vs them attitude they should start acting professionally.

          Illinois outlawed the death penalty and set half of its death row free when it was revealed that half of death row inmates were there on trumped up charges. And people wonder why folks are leery of cops?

          John Burge, now in prison for lying under oath, presided over a Chicago police department that routinely tortured false confessions out of people who had been arrested, and you wonder why there's an us vs them?

          Wake up, apologists like you are a big part of the problem.

      • Kind of like level 1 and 2 tech support

  • Myspace (Score:5, Funny)

    by smc170 (2609895) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:16PM (#39579923) Homepage Journal
    Use Myspace! You could throw someone off a bridge and nobody would ever look there!
  • So what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kenja (541830)
    You make information public, it will be used publicly. Why shouldn't they have used a profile picture?
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by mpoulton (689851) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:23PM (#39579989)
      You didn't read the article. She was arrested SOLELY based on a person's identification of her Facebook picture, completely out of context. She was not present at the alleged altercation, and had a solid alibi. They proceeded anyways.
      • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

        by LordLucless (582312) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:33PM (#39580067)

        I think you're missing the point.

        The headline's trying to beat-up the Facebook connection, to tie into the anti-Facebook zeitgeist that pervades Slashdot. The actual story is that police didn't actually investigate thoroughly, and ignored all other evidence. That would have been a problem even if they'd used, say, a photo from a school yearbook, or from a publicity shot from her art exhibition.

        In short, the summary's trying to turn the story into a "OH NOES! Facebook is the end of privacy!" when really it's a "OH NOES! Police are sloppy and lazy" story.

        • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Dr Herbert West (1357769) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:44PM (#39580155)
          "Police are sloppy and lazy" is not a story, or news of any kind. I respect police officers in general because I know they have a shitty job where they see the worst of everyone, all the time-- but I also know when invesitgating a crime they will always look for the easiest explanation that requires the least amount of paperwork, and preferably does not require them to get out of a squad car.

          Oh, and... don't ever talk to cops. They sent this person an email and she voluntarily went down to the station to "help" with the investigation? Silly rabbit. The only way you'll get me down to the station is if I'm served a warrant, or bailing a buddy out of jail.
          • by Dyinobal (1427207)
            Yep if she had a lawyer present when they initial questioned her with regards to the crime in question she wouldn't of been arrested. They wanted to do a 'peace bond' which means they wanted her to get worried and nervous and cave. It didn't matter if she did it or not, so long as they could show a 'case closed' and solve on their records. It is all a numbers and percentage game for them.
          • by haruchai (17472)
            See the worst of everyone all the time? I'm pretty sure the soldiers in Afghanistan & Iraq have it much worse and they can't get away with the bullshit that cops do on a regular basis.
        • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by stephanruby (542433) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:42PM (#39580581)

          Yes, the actual story is that the police didn't do their jobs, but that's certainly not anything new and it's certainly not the only story.

          Another underlying story here is that given a big enough sample size, it's highly probable to find someone who's going to be a doppelgänger of the person you're looking for. This goes for a search on looks, partial fingerprints, or even partial dna.

          Historically, this hasn't been much of a problem, but as technology advances -- getting larger and larger samples sizes of data is becoming easier and easier even for the average police man, so this kind of problem is only going to grow and grow as time goes on.

        • Well, it's both, right? The cops can't use the photos if they're in an album on your bookshelf. Or if they're displayed privately.
      • by Osgeld (1900440)

        I wasnt there and my boyfriend can back me up is about as solid as unset pudding

      • visual identification is pretty strong evidence.

        by your logic, as long as i can find a buddy to lie for me, i can commit any crime i want. doesn't matter if anyone sees me or not, as long a my buddy corroborates by alibi.

        • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Cwix (1671282) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @10:23PM (#39581201)

          visual identification is pretty strong evidence.

          Go read this:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyewitness_identification [wikipedia.org]

          Then come back and apologize for making shit up.
          But since I know you wont here's a snippet. A quote from a Supreme Court Justice.

          Justice Brennan also observed that "At least since United States v. Wade, 388 U. S. 218 (1967), the Court has recognized the inherently suspect qualities of eyewitness identification evidence, and described the evidence as "notoriously unreliable"

        • by j-beda (85386)

          visual identification is pretty strong evidence.

          I'm not so sure - the few studies I have seen indicate that eye witness identification is actually pretty shitty.

    • by perpenso (1613749) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:31PM (#39580051)
      Its not clear if the police used facebook. The victim of the assault *may* have used facebook on her own and then went to the police with the photo. From the article:

      "When she called an officer told her "there was an altercation at the bar, two girls got in a fight and the girl who was assaulted has pointed you out as being her assaulter through a photo on Facebook.""
    • I must say, if any authorities tried to identify me by my FB avatar pic, they would be trying to book a trip to Tatooine:

      Oo-Tee-Dee!!! [photobucket.com]

  • "On the INTERNET!" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:19PM (#39579955) Homepage Journal

    That's all this story is, really. It's not a Facebook problem, it's a bad police work problem. People have been misidentified from photographs as suspects in a crime, and suffered as a result, since as long as there have been such things -- and police have been refusing to admit any wrongdoing, in this or any other aspect of their work, for at least as long.

  • Police use photos all the time to get witnesses to ID suspects. What difference does it make if the photo comes from Facebook, a driver's license, a mugshot, or a candid shot taken by a police detective across the street? What does the fact that it happened to come from Facebook have to do with anything at all? It sounds like a routine witness identification. She'll still get a trial and can present her alibi there, and the jury will decide which side is more credible.
  • by russotto (537200) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:28PM (#39580041) Journal

    In a lineup, you get a bunch of people who match the general description given by the witness, including one who you suspect. You then ask the witness to identify the guilty party out of them. You can do it in person or with photos.

    In this case, they apparently showed the victim a bunch of pictures of people who had "friended" the bar, got an ID based on that, and failed to investigate further -- just arrested, charged, and let her try to prove her innocence, which she was fortunately able to do.

    • by perpenso (1613749)

      In this case, they apparently showed the victim a bunch of pictures of people who had "friended" the bar ...

      Is that what happened? Or did the victim check the friends of the bar on her own and then go to the police saying "this person attacked me"?

      • If this is the case, she may have a possibility for claiming defamation of character against the person who accused her and the police officer who failed to follow up by doing a proper line-up with properly taken images. If she is picked out a second time, it's time to dig deeper, like verify her alibi before arresting her. Of course, procedure in Toronto may be different than in the US.

        The biggest problem isn't that the charges were dropped. Rather, she now has to answer affirmatively on a job applicati

        • by perpenso (1613749)

          ... what if the story hits the papers or online news media? ...

          Like slashdot or the news site that the slashdot article linked to? ;-)

        • by russotto (537200)

          The biggest problem isn't that the charges were dropped. Rather, she now has to answer affirmatively on a job application that she has been arrested and then explain herself.

          Really? Canada allows employers to ask about arrests without convictions? A little searching online seems to indicate otherwise. It's not quite illegal to do so in the US (though it is in some states), but it's risky enough (can result in an Equal Opportunity Commission complaint) that most employers don't.

          Worse yet, what if the stor

    • by BitterOak (537666) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:58PM (#39580267)

      In this case, they apparently showed the victim a bunch of pictures of people who had "friended" the bar, got an ID based on that

      Please read the article more carefully. It says no such thing. What the article says is " 'I was recently accused of assault and arrested based on a thumbnail photo from my profile pic on Facebook,' she wrote on the very same Facebook page. 'Please let this be an eye opener.' " Nowhere does it say the police were the ones that used Facebook to identify her. It could well have been the victim that did so. Also, it doesn't say anywhere that she friended the bar, as you assert.

      Further on, the article says "She said she received an e-mail in January from a Toronto Police officer in 14 Division 'asking me to contact them about an incident that occurred at The Piston (on Bloor St. W., Nov. 19, 2011).' " Now this is just bizarre. Since when did the police e-mail suspects inviting them to come in and be arrested? And who in their right mind would accept such an invitation? I think there must be more to this story than we're seeing.

      • by russotto (537200) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:10PM (#39580349) Journal

        Since when did the police e-mail suspects inviting them to come in and be arrested? And who in their right mind would accept such an invitation?

        Stupid criminals and innocent people. It's true there are a lot of the former -- and the cops don't believe in the latter.

      • And who in their right mind would accept such an invitation?

        an honest, upstanding citizen interested in helping? crazy, i know.

      • by Yaztromo (655250)

        Please read the article more carefully....Also, it doesn't say anywhere that she friended the bar, as you assert.

        Ahem...

        She described it as "outrageous" that someone could "scroll down the friends list for the bar and point out someone that had brown hair and bangs"

        Yaz

      • by ThreeGigs (239452)

        Sorry, but _you_ need to read more carefully and thoroughly.

        FTFA:
        "She described it as "outrageous" that someone could "scroll down the friends list for the bar and point out someone that had brown hair and bangs" and that would be enough to enter someone into the justice system."

        Note the "friends list for the bar" bit. Meaning, she must have friended the bar to be on its friends list.

        You seem to have failed at either reading comprehension, or simple deductive logic.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Of course it wasn't a lineup. Lineups aren't used in Canada for the purposes of identification, and the SCC(supreme court) ruled that it's illegal to do so. The only proper way is to use a photo for investigation. Using photo's like that, is the proper way. Whether digital or out of a photobook full of random pictures.

    • You don't have to do that, ever. You are innocent, until proven guilty by a court of law. To be proven guilty, someone else must convince a group o gullible people called "jury" that you in fact committed a crime, or if you're lucky, a bored judge that has a case load that will keep them busy for the next 120 years at least, if they have to actually listen to every relevant argument that can be made in those cases. If you feel the urge to refute anything that will be given in evidence against you, best keep
  • If facial recognition on a dataset is used to find potential matches this seemingly would increase the chances of a false identification being made. After all, some people do look alike, and the more similar they are, the more likely a human witness would get it wrong when presented with those artificially limited choices.

    /sit down citizen
  • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:33PM (#39580073)

    Mistaken eyewitness identification is one of the leading causes of false arrests and convictions. The average civilian is absolutely terrible with memorizing and correctly identifying the actual guilty suspect.

    Even worse is that most police lineups and photo arrays (or photo lineups) are presented as a "multiple choice" test. Where the victim or accuser feels like they must choose someone rather than admit that they don't recognize anyone or are unsure. They'll just pick the closest person that they think fits the person that they saw earlier. And earlier might be hours, days, or even weeks or longer. Academic studies have shown that if you give the average person a lineup of random innocent people that most people will finger one of them for the crime.

    And of course we have police that coach someone going into a lineup. "Here we have suspects one, two, three *cough* FOUR, and five. Please identify which suspect you think robbed the convenience store". "Uh....it was person number four".

    And lastly, one of my best friends is a cop,and he says as a joke that they put cops into lineups all of the time. Then they bet if the civilian will identify the cop as the shooter or rapist or whatever. I know one department even had a jackpot where if you went into a lineup and got chosen as the criminal you got a free golf club.

    • by bitt3n (941736) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:04PM (#39580301)

      if you went into a lineup and got chosen as the criminal you got a free golf club.

      my department does this, and you're absolutely right about how bad people are at identifying perps. you wouldn't believe how many homicides I had to pull off before I got my goddamn nine iron.

    • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:32PM (#39580501)
      To be the fair the one time I was involved in identifying a suspect the police handed me a huge book with a bunch of pictures and to select the two guys I saw. I selected one correctly, and I didn't select the other suspect they had. It was enough how ever to put the one of the pair in the area and they managed to get him to cave on his buddy. I was in no way coached though and the detective was very professional about it.
    • They'll just pick the closest person that they think fits the person that they saw earlier. And earlier might be hours, days, or even weeks or longer. Academic studies have shown that if you give the average person a lineup of random innocent people that most people will finger one of them for the crime.

      And that, kids, is why you don't wear a beard or keep long Jesus hair. Remember, the Son Of God Himself was innocent, but with the way he looked he still got fingered in a lineup and ended up on th

  • Of course not. They don't care if they arrest an innocent person. It's up to the defense lawyer to free you from jail, not the police.

    How Police Get the Innocent
    "In nearly every case, interrogators fed the suspects those details, sometimes even correcting them when they botched a fact. Many of the suspects were mentally impaired or ill, while others were underage or simply caved to police pressure." --- http://www.newser.com/story/100509/how-police-get-the-innocent-to-confess.html [newser.com]

  • by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me@noSpAM.hotmail.com> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:54PM (#39580241) Homepage Journal

    If you lived in the US apparently you would be strip searched to top off the evening...

  • by inject_hotmail.com (843637) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:00PM (#39580287)
    FTFA:

    "She said she received an e-mail in January from a Toronto Police officer in 14 Division "asking me to contact them about an incident that occurred at The Piston (on Bloor St. W., Nov. 19, 2011)."

    And then she did? WTF! That's the last thing anyone should do.

    So...you received an Internet message from someone claiming to be a cop? Step #1: Ignore it. There's no way on god's green earth that anyone should respond to a frickin' electronic message from a cop. Clearly the cops didn't think it was important enough to send a car around to her place. If she ignored it, it probably would have went no where. The only possible first step is contact a lawyer. She believed she'd be cleared because that she is innocent? What?! Is she new? Since when has that ever happened? Cops are interested in closing the file...if your name is in it, or someone else's, it doesn't matter.

    DO NOT TALK TO POLICE [youtube.com], especially on purpose. Talk to your lawyer, have your lawyer talk to police.
  • She was a suspect, the police arrested her, then let her go. No charges laid yet. Her only alibi was "The guy I sleep with will say I was with him the whole night, we left the art opening early (in time to commit alledged assult) because he hurt his knee, which you'll have to take his word for."
  • by Nethead (1563) <joe@nethead.com> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:12PM (#39580363) Homepage Journal

    There is no need to talk to the arresting cop, there is nothing he can do. He's got a warrant with your name on it and he has to bring you in for booking. That's really all there is to it and there is nothing that you can do at that point that isn't going to cause you actually pain, and another charge. The cop has no choice. What is he going to do, go back to the detective that got the warrant and say you convinced him you didn't do anything? The judge signed the warrant, you beef is with him now.

  • by mc6809e (214243) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:20PM (#39580423)

    I'm concerned about using digitally compressed images and video for anything serious like trying to positively identify a person involved in a crime. It's claimed that lossy compression schemes only remove unimportant details, but I'm not so sure that's the case. There are also times when removing information can also introduce artifacts.

    What happens when the compressor causes a fine identifying scar to disappear? Or worse, maybe a new feature appears as the result of artifacting which matches the feature of someone else?

    Images and video are often damning evidence. How do you convince those viewing the images or video that they can't always trust what they're seeing?

    I remember once arguing with someone over details that appeared in the digitized images of Obama's birth certificate as a result of artifacting. To someone unfamiliar with distortions introduced by lossy compression, claims that what they're seeing in a image isn't really there sound like complete BS.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      it's more of how easy it is to go as the victim and decide who is the perp and then have multiple images of the alleged perp you can give to the police and say this is the guy who did it.

  • Where else will you find pictures of people doing silly things while intoxicated in bars? Brilliant detective work!
  • The cop's job is to get people in trouble. In a perfect world, it's the people that deserve trouble that get it, but even then, the very best you can hope to get from the police is to be left alone. There's no need to characterize cops as bullies or incompentent - even the good cops have to look at citizens as potential targets. The course of action when the cops want to talk to you is immediately get legal counsel, then follow that counsel in dealing with the police.
    As for us v them - police are no lon
  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:04AM (#39582181) Homepage

    She didn't even get stripsearched.

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