A group of cops at a crime scene
Source: New York Post

Chicago Cops can use fake social media profiles to spy, with help from the FBI
Police are continuing the use of social media to keep track of protestors through photos and videos.

Armed police at the time of a protest
Chicago cops can make use of fake social media profiles to spy on anyone.
Source: New York Post

Police using posts on social media platforms have come across as new flawed ways used by law enforcement agencies to arrest more people. They have been using posts on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to track down and charge various protestors they suspect of property destruction. Presently, released paperwork reveal how Chicago police can use means of catfishing as part of the social media surveillance.

Reports specify how the Chicago Police Department made the Social Media Exploration (SOMEX) team about three years ago. The team is defined in a special order document detailing the department’s strategy of using these fake profiles to investigate and communicate with people they suspect have a committed a crime. Moreover, the documents specified how these fake social media profiles are set to be created with help from the FBI.

According to Facebook’s authenticity policy, manufactured social media profile without any link to a real person is essentially a violation. Previously, the social media company asked police to stop its use in Los Angeles and Memphis. However, the strategy has evidently sustained anyway.

Moreover, the document specified the degree of FBI’s involvement where federal agents assisting in the enactment of the Chicago department’s plan, and “oversee the day-to-day operations.” Additionally, the FBI is directly in charge of creating online covers for the cops,

FBI’s statement on the situation:

The FBI works with its federal, state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement partners in task forces across the country in order to detect, investigate, and disrupt federal crimes and threats to national security and to protect the American people. In every instance, the FBI’s investigative activity complies with Department of Justice guidelines, applicable laws and the United States Constitution. The FBI does not investigate or collect information on solely First Amendment protected activity.

Additionally, the document highlighted that every display picture for these fake profiles is to be a ‘uniquely created and not attributed to an actual individual. The cop are also authorised to take these online identities into the real world ‘in an effort to further investigative efforts.’ A document from the Chicago SOMEX how this to be done only if there is enough ‘articulable suspicion’ about the crimes being committed.

Clearly, social media has emerged as a crucial playground for law enforcement surveillance in last few years. Moreover, the FBI recently came up with a $27.6 million contract for beefed up monitory identity. However, things may change for good soon owing to increasing challenges against such surveillance. In fact, this week about 1.6 million Facebook users from Illinois received checks worth $397 each over the settlement of class action lawsuit.