Nashville TN Dec 15 2011 As Metro police investigated the murder of Jeremy Green, they took to the streets, interviewed witnesses and turned to a different source that is quickly becoming routine in gang investigations: Facebook.
As social media gain prominence in everyday life, police are finding it a useful tool for tracking criminal activity. Gang members often publish photos of themselves holding money, guns and drugs. But while criminals haven’t been shy about publishing their exploits for the Internet to see, authorities here and across the nation are seeing gangs in particular begin to use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to organize their activities and recruit new members.
“I think it’s the new reality. It’s the new reality for every person with the Internet and this different social media. I don’t think it’s going to be a flash,” said Lt. Gordon Howey, who heads Metro police’s gang unit. “I don’t ever see it going away. I think that with Facebook, Twitter, all this different social media, I think they’ll still continue to use it.”
The FBI warns in its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report that gang violence expanded over the past two years and that the increase in communication technology — smartphones and social media — is partly to blame. In New Jersey, the Bloods gang used MySpace to plot a murder. Gang members in Los Angeles used Twitter to threaten a man they believed had turned into a snitch. In Chattanooga, a March feud between gangs literally began on Facebook before it hit the streets.
Green was murdered Jan. 29 in what police suspect was a robbery. Police have arrested three suspected members of the 5 Deuce Hoover Crips, in part using information obtained from the Facebook page of Jose Hall, who is charged with first-degree murder. Hall’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
A detective wrote in a search warrant that Hall’s associates may have been using Facebook “in an effort to plot, coerce and/or fabricate any evidence or witnesses as it relates to this investigation.” They were particularly worried that it was being used to retaliate against Victor Johnson, who also was arrested in the murder but was thought by gang members to have been a snitch in the case.
In June, a shooting at Movies in the Park at Centennial Park was preceded by Twitter chatter promising violence.
“Someone will die tomorrow at MITP,” one message said. A teen was injured in the shooting.
And in May, federal authorities investigating the Gangsta Disciples in Nashville focused on the Facebook account of Anthony Daniels, according to a federal search warrant. The warrant accuses Daniels of using email and Facebook to “engage in racketeering and the trafficking of drugs.” Though the search warrant was in connection with a large-scale racketeering case, Daniels has not been charged in it.
Police and prosecutors have been attuned to social media sites for years. But gangs’ increasing reliance on social media and mobile cellphone technology is making their jobs harder, said Rob McGuire, a Davidson County assistant district attorney general who works with Metro’s gang unit.
“It’s a really interesting challenge. We’ve definitely noticed situations where a person has been charged, they’ll take down their Facebook page or will take down their My-Space page within 24 hours of the event,” he said.
“You’re really writing something in sand on the beach and all of the sudden the next wave comes by and it’s gone.”
McGuire said another challenge is that social media provide a natural recruiting tool for new gang members.
“Gangs are often interested in self-promotion, making themselves look big and tough and that they have influence and money,” he said. “That’s going to be attractive to new membership, that’s going to set their tone.”
Howey said that children, in particular, can be impressionable to such images and recommends that parents keep a close eye on what they are doing on the Internet.
“If they’ve got Facebook, email accounts, Twitter accounts, it might be a good idea to take a look at them to see who they’re communicating with,” he said.
New York City NY Feb 28 2011 It’s a friend request with benefits – but it isn’t for free.
New York hookers are flocking to Facebook to advertise their services, a Columbia University sociologist says.
After studying the habits of 290 sex workers, Sudhir Venkatesh found that 83% rely on Facebook to lure johns.
“I estimate that by the end of 2011, Facebook will be the leading online recruitment space,” Venkatesh wrote in the February issue of Wired magazine.
Even a quick search of the uber-popular social networking site reveals a trove of sex-charged profiles.
“I’m a full Gfe [girlfriend experience] provider,” wrote “Molly Ravish” on her page, which features a picture of a young blond woman in lingerie.
“For a list of my services go to [my website].”
Ravish’s personal Web page offers titillating photos and a detailed description of her services: $200 for an hour of passion, including “deep french kissing” and oral sex – and $150 for 30 minutes.
“Succulent, sweet, and dripping with charm, I beleive [sic] you will find me to be seductive, sensuous, and enticing,” her website says.
Among Ravish’s favorite quotations listed on Facebook are several sexually suggestive phrases.
“Remember my name … you’ll be screaming it later,” reads one.
Other pages owned by local sex workers are less risque – but just as easy to find.
On her profile, “Beva Langoria” listed her employer as “independent escort” and provided an in-depth physical description.
“Hispanic, caramel soft skin, no tattoos or piercings, long dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, height 5’3″, 125-pound, beautiful smile,” reads the note on her page.
For those who are interested, Langoria included her educational background (Fordham University class of 2011) and her religious views (open).
Venkatesh says Facebook offers prostitutes a bevy of perks.
The site allows hookers to “control their image, set their prices, and sidestep some of the pimps, madams, and other intermediaries who once took a share of the revenue.”
In 2008, Facebook accounted for 25% of the regular clients served by the women Venkatesh followed.
Top NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the findings aren’t too surprising. “Everybody is using the Internet,” he said.
Still, not all sex workers are using Facebook – at least not yet.
A 32-year-old escort told the Daily News she would never advertise her services on Mark Zuckerberg’s site.
“It’s a place for teenagers to socialize, to play games, to meet friends – not a place for some dumb ass to find a piece of ass,” declared the escort, who asked to remain anonymous.
Facebook is not the only site grappling with the prostitute problem. Even after shutting down its “Adult Services” section last September, craigslist is rife with ads from women offering sex for cash.
Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said the site comes down hard on anyone who uses it for illegal ends.
source:NY Daily News
Atlanta Ga Jan 16 2011 When you forget your password for your email account, a few standard security questions will give you a chance to prove your identity. If this information is publicly displayed anywhere on Facebook, you’re vulnerable to hacking. Here’s a cautionary tale about exactly that.
George Bronk, a 23-year-old from Citrus Heights, California, scanned women’s Facebook profiles, searching for whoever showed their email address publicly. He would then study that person’s wall and the fields she’d filled out in order to learn about her interests, activities, and other useful data he could later use to contact the female’s email service provider and say he’d forgotten his password. Using the essential information gleaned from her profile, Bronk was able to successfully answer the security questions the women had set up.
Once he gained access to the women’s email inboxes, he searched for nude pictures or videos sent from these accounts. Sometimes he forwarded this content to the victim’s entire contact list, and sometimes he contacted the victim directly and threaten to share the pictures if she didn’t send him new ones.
In some cases, Bronk would use the email account to contact Facebook and do the same forgotten password trick to score access to the victim’s entire Facebook account as well.
The good news in this case is that Bronk has been caught. One of his victims called the Connecticut State Police, which in turn alerted the California Highway Patrol. When he was finally arrested, his computer was confiscated and police found over 172 email files containing nude pictures and pornography, according to the Washington Post.
Bronk readily admitted to his crime and pleaded guilty in Sacramento Superior Court Thursday to seven felony charges, including computer intrusion, false impersonation and possession of child pornography. He faces a possible penalty of six years in prison when he returns to court on March 10.
Security experts told MSNBC that people can protect themselves from hacks like Bronk’s by fabricating responses to security questions. For example, say your birthplace is “1234″ instead of “San Francisco.” That requires you to remember a lot of information. It’s much easier to use the privacy settings on Facebook to limit your profile’s visibility to friends only.
How do you manage your privacy settings on Facebook?
At a press conference, Cuomo said Facebook has disabled accounts held by 2,782 registered sex offenders and News Corp.’s MySpace has disabled accounts linked to 1,796 registered sex offenders. Some of the sex offenders were on both Web sites.
Cuomo said many of the offenders were violating their parole by being on social-networking sites and are prohibited from interacting with young people.
“Whether it’s a playground on the street corner or a playground in cyberspace, it doesn’t matter,” Cuomo said.
Under the state’s Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act passed last year, registered sex offenders are required to register their emails and other online identifiers with the state.
The law sets mandatory restrictions on a sex offender’s access to the Internet where the offender’s victim was a minor, the Internet was used to commit the offense or they are among the highest-level offenders.
Cuomo said Facebook and MySpace are the online social-networking sites who have sought access to the information compiled under the e-Stop law.
His office is sending letters to 17 other social-networking sites encouraging them to take advantage of the data gathered under the law, including classmates.com and Friendster, Cuomo said.
Joe Sullivan, Facebook’s assistant general counsel, said the Web site voluntarily adopted a policy to not allow registered sex offenders on the site. He called New York’s law the model for other states and the nation.
In a statement, MySpace Chief Security Officer Hemanshu Nigam said, “We applaud and support Attorney General Cuomo’s leadership in his ground breaking use of e-STOP to make the Internet a safer place. MySpace utilized e-STOP to complement technology we had already put in place to remove registered sex offenders from our community as part of a comprehensive approach to protecting Internet users from predators.”
MySpace and Facebook agreed in 2007 to adopt new procedures to protect children from sexual predators.
By: Rick McCann
Private officer News Network
According to CNN, Indiana State Trooper Chris Pestow is currently under investigation for posts on his Facebook page. According to investigators, Pestow posted comments and photos that were called “embarrassing and maybe even against the law.”
Over the past several months Pestow bragged about drinking heavy liquor and not really doing much work.
Police are not saying exactly what led them to his internet site but say that are embarrassed and even outraged about it.
On his page, Pestow also discussed an incident where Fresno police officers punched a homeless man during his arrest. And his response was, “Let someone, homeless or not, try and stab me with a pen, knife, spoon, etc., not only will he fall, he’ll probably end up shot. These people should have died when they were young anyway. I’m just doing them a favor.”
Not only does he take advantage of his power, he blatantly disrespects law enforcement and the people he’s supposed to protect. He also has a photo on his page of a fellow officer, Andrew Deddish, pointing a .357 Magnum at his head. In the picture Pestow is smiling with his thumb up.
State police investigators say that some of the postings and language could be considered unprofessional but they are more concerned about his bragging comments that he doesn’t work much and are also checking to see if some of his postings were down while he was suppose to be patrolling Indiana’s highways.
JOIN THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PRIVATE OFFICERS
Get news alerts, officer down, weather emergency news in your mailbox!
Student arrested for posting death threats on Facebook http://www.privateofficer.com
A Selden teenager who allegedly wrote an online threat to schoolmates has been arrested and will likely be suspended from school, Suffolk police and school officials said.
A person in Connecticut with access to Spatafora’s Facebook page saw the statement and called 911 around 2:30 a.m., officials said.