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Here's What Facebook Sends the Cops In Response To a Subpoena 153

An anonymous reader writes "Facebook already shares its Law Enforcement Guidelines publicly, but we've never actually seen the data Menlo Park sends over to the cops when it gets a formal subpoena for your profile information. Now we know. This appears to be the first time we get to see what a Facebook account report looks like. The document was released by the The Boston Phoenix as part of a lengthy feature titled 'Hunting the Craigslist Killer,' which describes how an online investigation helped officials track down Philip Markoff. The man committed suicide, which meant the police didn't care if the Facebook document was published elsewhere, after robbing two women and murdering a third."
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Here's What Facebook Sends the Cops In Response To a Subpoena

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  • by danbuter ( 2019760 ) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @06:50PM (#39609315)
    Maybe they should have deleted his girlfriends name and location from this stuff, before publishing it to the net.
    • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @06:59PM (#39609363)

      Or really anyone he befriended on facebook.

      The girlfriend might have been basically screwed on the deal no matter what, since as his girlfriend some of her information might have been out there anyway.

      It does seem like the article in question is very perturbed by the way the police released the info though, and didn't sanitize everything, leaving reporters to do it, who may not have realized that people can be linked via their unique facebook id's in the URL string etc. I suppose that's a good argument for an addendum to the facebook legal document pile, that if you release this information, the following other information should be redacted so as to not endanger the privacy of people not covered by the existing request.

      • by History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @08:00PM (#39609613) Journal
        If you friend somebody you make that information public, it's how social networks, you know, network socially. They're presenting that information in an unpleasant context, yes, but it's still public.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2012 @09:01PM (#39609855)
          unless, of course, you set your privacy to 'friends only'. anyone getting information beyond that is still a breech.
          • by tbird81 ( 946205 ) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @09:50PM (#39610033)

            Not if your friend essentially releases that information (by committing crimes, then committing suicide). You've got to chose your friends well - even your Facebook friends.

            I've got a screenshot of Clayton Weatherston's Facebook main page. He's a narcissistic economics tutor who stabbed his girlfriend to death and her mother tried to get into the room - on his birthday.

            The year afterwards, there were still people wishing him happy birthday, oblivious to the fact that this guy was in police custody awaiting trial for a very well publicised and terrible murder. That's what Facebook friends are like.

            There were two med students I knew who still had him friended - they didn't even know how they knew him. They were clueless that their name was associated with one of the most hated people in NZ.

      • Well, remember, this is the same police department that shut down a city because of Lite-Brites. [wikipedia.org] Like a neanderthal confronted with a wheel, don't expect too much out of them.

  • After robbing two women and murdering a third, I'd be very surprised if the police cared about anything.
    • by Elbereth ( 58257 ) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @07:05PM (#39609393) Journal

      Allegedly. Innocent until proven guilty.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        In the Police States of America, it's the other way around.
      • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @08:57PM (#39609839) Journal

        Allegedly. Innocent until proven guilty.

        If you're not a lawyer, a judge, or a juror, you have no obligation to maintain an artificial neutrality with regards to someone's guilt or innocence.

        Innocent in the eyes of the law != innocent.

      • by blackest_k ( 761565 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @04:30AM (#39611199) Homepage Journal

        In normal circumstances, it is wise to proceed with caution before accusing somebody and generally the evidence isn't presented to be viewed by the general public.

        However in this case i am confident that the identification by one of the women robbed, the dead girls blood on his clothing the shell casings left at the murder scene that matched the gun found in his apartment along with the disposable phones he used for contacting the women ...

        The evidence is solid enough to be sure that he did in fact commit the crimes he was accused of. Plus there is no chance of being sued for deformation what with the guy having committed suicide while awaiting trial.

        There were a few interesting points made, while he used disposable phones to contact the women he also had his regular phone with him which tied him to the same cells used by the disposable phones at the same times which was useful in identifying him as a suspect. He also made the email account he used to contact the girl he murdered from his home ip address.

        The police nearly made a mess of things when they brought him in as after interviewing him there wasn't enough evidence to charge him, but luckily while he was in custody being questioned one of the women who was robbed identified him with absolute certainty which enabled the police to search his apartment and find the physical evidence. Without her identification of him they almost certainly would have had to let him go and give him the opportunity of disposing of the physical evidence.

        The facebook stuff is interesting in that it shows what information facebook holds about someone even after that information has been "deleted". However in this case nothing facebook released gave any evidence towards the criminal case.

        The guy was a medical student so it is reasonable to assume he was highly intelligent, he also seems to have had a gambling problem.

        His choice of who to rob was probably made on the basis he thought that the services these women offered was likely to mean they would have money from earlier clients and less likely to report a robbery. The article also mentioned he had a collection of women's underwear under his mattress so maybe it was more than just getting money to pay his debts.

        Did he rob other women who didn't report the crime?

      • What history book did you get that statement from?

    • Dang, I was going to make a snarky comment but somebody beat me to it about dangling participles.
  • Direct link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2012 @06:54PM (#39609343)


  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @06:55PM (#39609349) Homepage Journal

    "The man committed suicide, which meant the police didn't care if the Facebook document was published elsewhere, after robbing two women and murdering a third."

    Indeed, if the cops are going around robbing and murdering, why should any of us worry about a Facebook profile?

    • No, clearly it was the Facebook document that robbed two women and murdered a third.

      • Oh God, I didn't think of that angle. That's even more terrifying. WHO WILL STOP THE KILLER FACEBOOK PAGES?!?


          Nancy Grace to the rescue once again!

          -------- SNIP --------

          Please note: the following text is inserted to defeat the "lameness filter," which apparently got triggered even though I'm simply verbatim quoting the text from the parent post.

          Capicola ball tip shankle boudin. Salami short ribs ground round shankle leberkas frankfurter. Fatback ball tip pig pork chop. Boudin flank t-bone, pork loin biltong leberkas chuck ham frankfurter. Cow bresaola spare ribs prosciutto. Leberkas drumstick sirloin, chuck turkey

      • by asylumx ( 881307 )
        If we tried to turn the entirety of Facebook into paper documents... it would kill us all!
      • by Thing 1 ( 178996 )
        Actually it appears it was elsewhere. I knew it! Always those people coming from somewhere else... (I.e., starting wars is easy.)
    • by Lumbre ( 1822486 )

      Indeed, if the cops are going around robbing and murdering, why should any of us worry about a Facebook profile?

      Let's hope they aren't tagged in hundreds of photos; that would mean hundreds of pages in the report. Captain Planet and the Planeteers would not be happy.

    • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @03:48AM (#39611101)

      On a serious not, I think it is worrisome that the police did not care. To me even a convicted criminal has rights to privacy. I understand that many people say that as soon as a person is convicted (I am not even talking mugshots of arrested people) they should lose all their rights.

      I hold myself to higher standards and will defend the privacy rights of everybody, including the worst mass murders and my ex-girlfriend.

      If nothing else because of the "First they came for the criminals ..." slippery-slope.

      If I want to defend MY privacy, it means I must respect YOURS as well. The moment I get an excuse not to respect yours (e.g. you are a convicted killer) you will find an excuse not to respect mine.

      The fact that my phone-number is in the phone-book does not mean you can write it on the wall in the mens-room.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2012 @07:01PM (#39609367)

    to a formal subpoena?

    • by tftp ( 111690 )

      Slashdot has very little to provide beyond public comments that the account holder wrote. There is probably only the email address that isn't public, and preferences (which don't have much value.)

      The IP address may be logged, but I doubt that all the millions of HTTP requests per day are logged for more than a day, even if that. Slashdot has no duty to keep logs, and it costs money to do so, and it creates a legal obligation to make those logs available. Why to have them then?

      • You forgot about the "anonymous" comments.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2012 @07:28PM (#39609497)

      What does slashdot provide...

      1x Bag of Hot-Grits
      1x stained 1979 signed photo of Natalie Portman
      2x pairs of Cmdr Tacos underpants (slightly soiled but usable)
      2x bags of Pickled Onion Chips (crushed)
      1x Copy of Linux for n00bz (2nd edition)
      1x Pony (pink natch)
      1x ????
      1x PROFIT !!

  • Private Messages (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Celexi ( 1753652 ) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @07:01PM (#39609369)
    Is it just me, but it doesn't include private messages? or is it because there were none?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      They were requested. I'd expect some kind of response from Facebook even in the very unlikely event that he didn't have any. My guess is the reporters omitted them or never received them from the police.

    • Re:Private Messages (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rgbrenner ( 317308 ) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @07:27PM (#39609491)

      Is this the same data people get when the request a DVD (under EU laws)? Because if it is, then I'm having a hard time imagining what the problem is... It's basically everything the user has posted on the site + their IP address/last login.

      Were people really surprised that the stuff they stored on Facebook was stored on Facebook?

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        It doesn't include everything about the user, so it would be an incomplete record under EU law.

        Which is in itself interesting :)

        • Is it incomplete? It has their entire profile... so what do you think is missing?

          • by Cederic ( 9623 )

            It lacks configuration settings, at the very minimum. That tlels me it's not complete, without necessarily knowing what else is missing.

          • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

            Is it incomplete? It has their entire profile... so what do you think is missing?

            the entire profile is just the entire information the person has entered. under eu data laws you should be able to get all the data they're keeping on you - that means data they have generated from your behavior too, the data they use to decide which ads to show you etc.

  • Never had an account. Never will. I'm glad I've stuck to my guns this long and I hope others will push forward as well. I wonder if this correlates to me never having a girlfriend.
    • Re:account (Score:5, Informative)

      by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @07:44PM (#39609545) Homepage

      If you read the Boston Phoenix article, it was actually the IP address he used to sign up for his throwaway hotmail account, followed by the street address associated with that from Comcast that identified him. Then they did further field work to establish that it was him, and not a neighbour or passer-by who had hacked into his wifi network. The Facebook profile in this case didn't produce any useful information.

      • This really seems useless to me, and a waste of resources. The only thing this may be useful for is people who have their profiles set to be viewed by friends only. I guess it could be useful if you are trying to track someone who is on the run by monitoring IP addresses, and for the really dumb criminal, their check-ins, but a savory criminal would just need to use some VPN service or something else to mask their IP address. I mean, seriously, that seems to be the only bit of useful information in here at

        • Well IP addresses aren't always useful. If you connect to the Internet using a cellphone, the cellphone is allocated an IP address typically in the 10/8 range and connects to the internet via a NAT connection. There are more cellphones in the world than routeable IP addresses. Then all the IP address logged by the website would tell you is which network they used and approximately which county they were in, or for a larger city, which district or group of districts.

          Facebook profiles do sometimes produce u

          • Except my cell phone includes the model of the phone and the android version in it's User Agent string. There are probably other identifying things that it sends.

        • God save them if they ever get mine. I use facebook to host almost all my photos. Including ones I scanned in of family from back through the '50s. I'd say I have 10k+ photos distributed among various albums

          • Same here. I want to know how they are going to "print" my videos! I probably have 5k - 10k photos myself, and over 100 videos, and I have been on FB since 2004. I just downloaded my profile a couple of months ago, and it was about 4 gig

      • I'm fairly certain he worked for facebook at the time his account was last checked into, since 172.23.*.* is not routed on the Internet, being RFC 1918 compliant. Or did facebook log in to his account themselves?
        • by pikine ( 771084 )
          His IP address is seen starting at page 55 of the document,, which is indeed a comcast address.
  • What does the information they provide to paying parties (advertisers) look like?
  • Based on the documents, it looks like Facebook even was able to provide deleted wall posts and friends.

  • So do you think our old-media friends will ever point out when a Facebook or other tracking/logging program proves someone wasn't committing a crime because he was at home at the time of the incident?

  • by mindcandy ( 1252124 ) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @08:27PM (#39609735)
    Compared to what some of the European folks that were using DPA to harass Facebook and getting reams of data, this seems pretty tame .. perhaps it's because FB was just responding the subpoena as written?

    Nothing in TFA should surprise anyone that has any experience in enterprise IT .. think about your average webserver and what it logs by default.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is a gross violation of privacy. The material was clearly only disclosed in connection with a criminal investigation and at least on Facebook's part, clearly marked confidential and not for release. Then a public agency releases it! Dead or not, the entire family has been smeared by this release, apparently including dead ones. This is a violation of something and if it is not in itself criminal, it should be. However I think it is.


  • by tbird81 ( 946205 ) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @10:05PM (#39610097)

    "How's Boston going for you? How's Bean Town?"

    Phil M:
    "Well, I've got a rheumatology exam, and I pulled a black 9mm Luger pistol, not far inside the door. Began to bind her hands with white plastic flexcuffs, but before I could complete this, she fought back. In our subsequent struggle I hit her in the skull with my gun, causing injuries I'd describe as serious but not fatal. I then shot her three times. One bullet lodged in her hip, while two bullets went straight through her, piercing her heart and lung. It's also quite cold here at the moment."

    "Really? I heard that it sometimes rains in Boston? I got an oncology exam coming up myself."

    Phil M:
    "Lol, sometimes. About 55 here I think."

    • I don't care if this guy had an IQ of 145. He's still a dumbshit for posting that. Imagine the follow up.

      "So how's your day? Still working overtime?"

      "I shot an animal today. First round made him a bit twitchy, second finished the job.

      "That's never good. I hope you feel better"

      "Drinking my problems away much like I always do. Good thing my ex-wife left me. I would have done the same in her place"

      And we sacrifice for humanity for...what? Scum of the Earth and the effects

  • Interesting that there doesn't seem to be a password in that report. Since a lot of people use the same password for everything, you would think that would be demanded.

    Or maybe they actually hash the passwords like they should.
    • by karlm ( 158591 )

      Following the large number of very public password disclosures in the past couple of years, failure to hash passwords (salted by username, user ID and/or random nonce) should be considered gross negligence.

      Are there any proposals to standardize a password column type for SQL databases? If the column is write-only but comparable for equality against a varchar/string then the implementation details of hash algo and salting are hidden. The sad thing is that proper password storage could be made a lot more i

      • by u38cg ( 607297 )
        I suppose the problem is, who the hell wants to take on responsibility for implementing that? Plus if you did, it presents a massive attack surface for anyone that comes up with an exploit...
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Or maybe they actually hash the passwords like they should.

      You're suggesting Facebook did something to protect user privacy?

      • I'm damn sure they do. Think about it, if any Joe Random Hacker could get that info, what would they have left to sell?

        In a nutshell, I'm sure they want to make sure their assets are protected.

  • by Zoinky ( 915530 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:00PM (#39612693)

    The one thing that struck me is how much easier it is to navigate that profile in their subpoena response than it would if I was looking at it when using Facebook through a browser. They should really consider adding a "Subpoena view" view on their website, kind of like a "Print view", but even better yet!

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:44PM (#39612935)

    The man committed suicide, which meant the police didn't care if the Facebook document was published elsewhere, after robbing two women and murdering a third.

    I don't know about this case. But there have been those who were falsely accused. And now the real perp. gets a look at what the cops know (and don't know). So he's got a chance to move the other bodies.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein