Crooks Keep Revealing Their Crimes on Social Media

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    Quartz tells the story of a large-scale heroin and methamphetamine dealer named Francisco Ruelas-Payan who’s now serving 15 years in prison: While phone records and GPS location devices were useful in helping investigators keep tabs on Ruelas-Payan’s location and near-term plans, it was his public Facebook activity that not only confirmed many of these leads but also offered additional clues authorities used to build their case. Ruelas-Payan posted lengthy videos to the social media network of himself driving to suspected drug deals, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration search warrant application unsealed late last month. The trips were further corroborated by GPS data from electronic tracking devices investigators placed on Ruelas-Payan’s cars and phone… In a 2012 survey, 4 out of 5 law enforcement officials said they used social media to solve crimes, and nearly 7 out of 10 said social media helps to close cases faster. Facebook received nearly 130,000 data requests from governments around the world during the first six months of 2019, according to the most recent figures available. Between January and June of last year, the U.S. government requested data from Facebook related to more than 82,000 accounts. About 88% of those requests were granted. The second-most requests came from the government of India, which asked for data on 33,000 accounts. Facebook agreed to provide about half of them. Yet people often leave a trail of clues on their public social media profiles that investigators can see without ever needing a subpoena. Some, for example, take to Facebook Live to discuss an impending $10 million extortion attempt… Others post selfies in the same clothes they wore while robbing a bank. It all provoked a bemused response from a former New York City detective sergeant interviewed by Quartz who now teaches police procedure at John Jay College. “The ‘look at me’ generation can’t help themselves.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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