US District Judge William Pauley III has ruled it constitutional for federal agencies to use a Facebook friend’s granted access to a suspect’s profile page to gather evidence for prosecution, making our online identities and avatars subject to similar methods of investigation federal agencies normally used offline, i.e. wire-tapping. GigOm has the full story:
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In an order issued on Friday, US District Judge William Pauley III ruled that accused gangster Melvin Colon can’t rely on the Fourth Amendment to suppress Facebook evidence that led to his indictment. Colon had argued that federal investigators violated his privacy by tapping into his profile through an informant who was one of this Facebook friends.
The informant’s Facebook friendship served to open an online window onto Colon’s alleged gangster life, revealing messages he posted about violent acts and threats to rival gang members. The government used this information to obtain a search warrant for the rest of Colon’s Facebook account. The Colon information is part of a larger investigation into crack-dealing and murder in the Bronx.
And so, by the arm of the law, the idea that the online games and social media provide asylum from the political forces of the real world is itself becoming fantasy.