The practice of creating fake Facebook profiles for the drug authority to catch criminals is going to be reviewed. The news comes after hearing that the Justice Department is being sued for the use of the fake profiles. It is certainly against the Terms and Conditions for the social media site, and violates the privacy of individuals.
All this has come to light shortly after the Real Name Policy debate. Just weeks ago drag queens found that their profiles were being removed because they were created under their stage names and not their real names. Facebook apologized for the mix-up and has clarified its stance on using stage names. However, that does not give people the right to create fake profiles for their own gain.
The lawsuit against the Justice Department will come from Sondra Arquiett. She claims that her name and images were used by the local authority to create the fake Facebook profile. The Watertown, NY, citizen had already been arrested on cocaine possession with intent to distribute charges in 2010. She claims that information from her cellphone, along with her likeness and name, were used by the police to catch others.
This is not the first time people have found their name and images online, and is the reason for the Real Name Policy. A number of scammers create profiles as other people, and then send messages to that person’s friends and family members. The messages usually involve someone being involved in some type of accident and in need of money. The aim is to get people to send money to the scammer without realizing, because they are worried about their loved one’s health.
After the announcement of the lawsuit against the Justice Department, the practice of the drug authority using fake Facebook profiles will be reviewed. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration defends its actions, and claims that the fake profile was for a legitimate reason. The DEA claims that it had the right to use the images on the cellphone, because she allowed them access to the data to help find other drug traffickers.
However, Arquiett claims that she never gave permission for use to set up a fake profile. That is something she would not have given. She gave the permission to use the information on the phone to aid the criminal investigation. By setting up the profile on the social media giant, her privacy was violated. It concerns many people, who may find that fake profiles have been set up despite being against the Terms and Conditions of Facebook.
In June, the Supreme Court did recognize that there was a lot of risk against the privacy of individuals when cellphone information is accessed. That is why police now need a warrant to access this information. The problem is that this came in 2014, when the arrest of Arquiett was in 2010.
Some believe that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act could be violated by setting up these fake profiles. This was initially created to find hackers, but can be used against many others. The Federal Trade Commission has prosecuted a number of businesses that have used false profiles as a way to create happy customers, especially when they have had negative comments from others. However, the FTA does not have any authority over the DEA to do anything about the recent allegations. The good news is that the drug authority is going to review the practice of setting up fake Facebook profiles, but it does not mean a happy outcome for U.S. citizens.
By Alexandria Ingham