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NYPD Creates Fake Social Media Profiles To Track Loud Parties, Underage Drinking 135

v3rgEz writes Is that Facebook friend request from the cute girl in third period, or an undercover officer looking to bust up the next high shool kegger? That's the question more students in New York City might be asking, as newly released documents from the NYPD disclose its process for agents creating undercover social media aliases with the aims of uprooting terrorist plots, tracking "political activity," and other nefarious crimes like underage drinking or pre-meditated loud partying. Fake profiles must be approved by bureau brass, unless it would "seriously impair" an investigation or risk life or property damage.
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NYPD Creates Fake Social Media Profiles To Track Loud Parties, Underage Drinking

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  • Uh, don't post... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TWX ( 665546 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @03:42PM (#49006937)
    ...what you don't want want other people to read?

    This isn't condoning the actions of the NYPD, but I always figured that it was common sense, don't write down or otherwise document what you don't want others to know or find out about...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by s.petry ( 762400 )

      Fully agree. Further, I don't really see this as a legal issue (rarity for NYPD, really!)

      IMHO, this is like having an undercover agent fake name. Where I do have questions is in their disclosure for the exceptions, and how many exceptions there are (neither of which were published in the article).

      • Well, so long as it's a fake identity, sure.

        But if they're impersonating a real person that's identity theft, at a minimum.

        • the photo is of a real person I would assume no? even if the name doesnt match the face its wrong, and against TOS (not that that has ever mattered)
          • Well, ToS are a whole different ball of wax of questionable legal significance even to normal users. And if the person in the photo gives their permission, or is a complete fiction (CG, sculpture, whatever), then you're probably in the clear. But if they don't... well *then* they have a problem.

        • Doesn't really matter. It's okay for police to break the law when enforcing the law. Generally these actions are authorized by the supervising attorney and reviewed. It must not be dangerous, there must be a good reason, and it must be relevant to the investigation underway.

          There's nothing illegal or unethical about the actions of the police in this case. If you don't like the crimes the police were investigating, well, change the laws. But the police procedure was routine and appropriate.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I have a fetish for cops posing as teenage girls. Is there a porn site for that?

      • I have a fetish for cops posing as teenage girls. Is there a porn site for that?

        Why don't you create one and let us know how it works out in, say 20 years to life?

        • I have a fetish for cops posing as teenage girls. Is there a porn site for that?

          Why don't you create one and let us know how it works out in, say 20 years to life?

          You know how they have those TV shows where they lure perverts? Well, they lure those people to the houses with promises of underage sex, or at least promises of a minor home alone. If they lured someone to the house with promises of overage sex, and they got there and found a kid and said "uh no" and turned around, the cop dressed as a tree might still tackle them but they'd actually have a worthy defense in court.

          Having a fetish for any kind of cop seems deviant enough to qualify for therapy, though

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      1. Get a group of people together to create fake "we're having a party at X's place at YPM", where X is a cop at another precinct.
      2. Post videos of the Swatting on YouTube.
      3. PROFIT!!!

    • while this is the best possible point out there. didnt cops just get in trouble for this not to long ago??? and didnt facebook ban those accts for being against TOS????
      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        Facebook can claim that it's against their ToS all they want, but if they don't have a real mechanism to put a stop to it then all of the claims of ToS violations are meaningless.

        Think about it another way, if a person is banned from a retail store because of inappropriate but not necessarily illegal behavior, there's not a whole lot that the retail chain can do to enforce that ban, especially if they're huge and compartmentalized. It's difficult to enforce a ban even at the store that an infraction(s)
    • How do you to prevent your friends from posting the same information? Ordinarily, I wouldn't mind shouting from the rooftops that I am going to a party. I wouldn't even care if cops heard me. But if the cops are going to survey my friends' casual posts -- "Going to a party at Brent's!" -- and guarantee flashing lights out front once their algorithms pinpoint where it is, that a bit different. It's less like having a cop reading information you have put up on a flyer and more like the cops having wireta

      • by aitikin ( 909209 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @04:49PM (#49007293)

        It's less like having a cop reading information you have put up on a flyer and more like the cops having wiretaps on all of your associates. Which would be fine, with a good reason and a court order.

        Since when does facebook offer a reasonable expectation of privacy? If you don't want it to be public, it shouldn't be on facebook.

    • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @04:45PM (#49007273) Journal

      ... of America dropping deeper and deeper into the abyss of absolute fascism

      ... this isn't condoning the actions of the NYPD ...

      I feel sad that you choose to limit it within the very narrow context of 'action of NYPD'

      The sad fact is that the United States of America, thanks to NYPD and all other local / state / federal law enforcement agencies is becoming more and more like what the Stasi did in Eastern Germany, or the secret police of the Nicolae Ceausescu regime of Romania, or under the CCP in China, or the Kim's secret police in North Korea, ...
      If the sentence 'uprooting terrorist plots, tracking "political activity"' fails to alarm any of the Americans, the future of United States of America is bleak

      I mean, please read that sentence again

      They actually use the term "terrorist plots" and the term "political activity" in the same fucking sentence!

      What kind of America is _that_ ?

      Aren't Americans supposed to be free to associate or join with any political activity, especially in the Land of the FREE??

      What the fuck has happened to the freedom of association?

      Or has America turned into a place where local law enforcement agencies such as NYPD, and all other agencies from the States as well as from the Federal level, get to dictate who can mix with whom now??

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lgw ( 121541 )

        Calm your taco: none of this is new or different, except the "on a computer" part. I thought we were over "on a computer" freak-outs?

        HS and college parties have always had narcs. Either undercover officers, or informers who were in the social scene and would ruin parties for fun. In college, we'd always learn who they were by the end of the year, and plan accordingly, but there'd be a new crop of them the next year.

        This is just that, "on a computer". A fake profile is easier than a CI, enabling more sur

        • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

          Or, ditch the "nothing to see here, move along" pablum. In the 80's, cops weren't armed with military hardware, and the FBI wasn't running around trying to turn activists into terrorists with paid informants. In the 90's, the NSA might have liked to spy on everyone's communications (see Clipper Chip) but most people didn't have email, much less cell phones, much less Twitter or Facebook.

          HS and college parties have always had narcs.

          And the police department's with limited resources always had to send an ac

          • by lgw ( 121541 )

            Police aren't raiding HS parties to pad their budget with asset forfeitures, AFAIK, it's just a nuisance crime that they don't want to be bothered with in the first place. At least at my college, there was never any shortage of willing narcs to have all parties covered, unless you worked to keep it secret. I suspect HS parties are about the same.

            Yes, there are real problems with police overreach, but this just doesn't seem like one of them.

      • They actually use the term "terrorist plots" and the term "political activity" in the same fucking sentence!

        All terrorist plots are political, otherwise it wouldn't be terrorism. So political activity really is where you'd get earliest warning of possible terrorism. That's not the problem. The problem is that the government likes to crap all over the Constitution.

      • Pretty sure it's the same America that put all of its Japanese citizens into camps, destroyed the lives of scientists because they had left-leaning friends, tested experimental drugs on the poor, incarcerated and military without their knowing, and practiced eugenics on "undesirables."

        The America you remember never existed except in propaganda.

      • Aren't Americans supposed to be free to associate or join with any political activity, especially in the Land of the FREE??

        Ask anyone who was hounded out of their job in the 1950s by Senator Joe McCarthy for going to a cocktail party where communist party members may have been..

        This shit has been going on for a long time.

    • by slashdot_commentator ( 444053 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @08:11PM (#49008155) Journal

      The NYPD does this to islamic prayer groups, why wouldn't they do it to teenagers?

      "First the came for the Socialists, but I was not a Socialist..."

  • Undercover investigation should be possible, and if you're the kind of criminal who boasts to people you don't know, you get what you deserve.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How am I supposed to think with all that loud noise next door?

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

    nobody knows that you're a pig.

    • by alen ( 225700 )

      some of us don't want concerts next door to us. if you want a legit show, go rent a legit venue and sell tickets

      • Damn straight - only people with $$ deserve to have fun!

      • I'm 55, I can tolerate a concert next door on a Saturday night provided it finishes at a reasonable hour (say midnight), what I don't want is 500 drunken teenagers rioting in the street. Drunken brawls tend to spill into the street when large numbers of gatecrashers turn up to a party a kid has advertised on FB. I'm all in favour of cops watching FB for potential riots but pretending to be a dateless college girl is just silly, it would be far more effective to simply warn the party organiser publicly that
  • this thing could just be the thing to do it.
  • Old news (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @04:04PM (#49007073)

    From 2013 Cops Are Creating Totally Bogus Facebook Profiles Just So They Can Arrest People [businessinsider.com] where they also point out that this is against FB's TOS

    Tangential to this in 2014 Justice Dept. will review practice of creating fake Facebook profiles [washingtonpost.com] (Which talks about Federal LE, most famously brought to light by the DEA creating the fake FB profile in the woman's name in order to nab suspects.

    Feds pay $134,000 to settle DEA agent's fake Facebook case [timesunion.com]

    • by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @04:36PM (#49007225)

      The DEA case is different in that they impersonated a real person without her permission.

    • FaceBook may be the group that puts an end to this because it will KILL THEIR BRAND. Just as the police seem to target "urban" locations over suburban for drug raids -- targeting Facebook social party announcements will cause people to create their parties on other platforms.

      And we have to ignore the fact that drug addiction has been proven to be more the result of having an empty life over properties of the drug.

      While I don't want my kids getting involved in the drug scene, or have risky behaviors, I'd say

  • by Stan92057 ( 737634 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @04:13PM (#49007111)
    I'm kinda confused here. Why do they need to create a fake profiles/Images to watch political activities?? Last i checked being a part of any political activity isn't against the law. Being in a gang isn't a political activity nor is terrorism.
    • If you are a part of any anarchist, white supremacist, or otherwise socially/politically subversive group, the Bureaus treat you as fair game for stalking. No Matter that it is your right to have/speak those views, they will harass/arrest youfor any minor infraction or even engage in entrapment. This is tthe lesson learned since Ruby Ridge and numerous instances since.
  • by qeveren ( 318805 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @04:14PM (#49007117)

    Everywhere you go, in all things.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      I heard this twice before in my life. Both was from people living in East-Germany when the wall was stil up.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        That is not an accident. It is also not an accident that these societies collapsed. You cannot build a working society on mistrust. For society and economy to work, it is necessary that you can trust people you know in most cases. Eroding that trust is about the most immoral and evil thing that it is possible to do.

  • Back In The Day (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @05:16PM (#49007423)
    Under cover cops used to do things like randomly rent apartments in places they thought they could make contacts and do investigations. Back about 1967 I was more than amazed to find out that the very young looking hippie girl from next door was in fact an undercover cop. It went so far that she had moved out of her apartment and was living on the roofs of hotels on Ft. lauderdale beach in order to get on the inside with people prone to crime. All that has changed is that with the net the same tactics are easier to use. As for the cops a big part of this ios in not making arrests so that a police agent can work further and further into criminal activities. They may be on top of a criminal for several years before springing the trap and then they will have a list of charges so long the person will be buried in the prisons unless he starts working for the cops.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      The cost to society this incurs is extreme: People do not trust strangers anymore and society slowly loses cohesion. The possible crime fighting successes pale in comparison to the damage done.

      • Whether or not this incurs a cost on society or is a benefit to society depends on the law being enforced. If it's to stop organized crime, then it's probably a net benefit to society. If it's to enforce a law prohibiting you from putting coins in someone else's parking meter, then it's probably a net detriment to society.

        The world does not divide up into neat and tidy categories of behaviors which are always good or always bad. Sometimes the benefit is worth the price paid, sometimes it's not.
      • by phorm ( 591458 )

        *SHOULD* you be trusting strangers to your house party, hoards of personal information, or various other things?
        I can think of many people you should be more wary of than the cops. How about when "Bob Burglar" on your FB friends sees you "I'll be gone to Vegas for 2 weeks, can somebody babysit my cat" post?

  • "NYPD Creates Fake Social Media Profiles To Track Loud Parties, Underage Drinking"

    Who doesn't?

  • other pd's do this without being exposed? Should we start a contest?

  • Like the ones in the story. Side benefits are learning about chilling effects, dishonesty and certain groups of people that cannot be trusted for anything. This will be invaluable preparation for the coming fascist regime, so I would say the NYPD is doing good here.

  • They thin their word, and invalidate their testimony,

  • Never, EVER accept a Friend request from someone you haven't met, physically, in person. Seriously.

    I treat Facebook and LinkedIn with the same policy, and I have dozens of Friend Requests pending for YEARS, which will never be accepted. If I haven't met the person and pressed palms with them, then they don't get connected to me using social platforms, period.

    You would be wise to do the same. With all the dark profiles being built behind the scenes, it makes sense to keep things clean and tight.

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