Social Media – just made ‘Stop and Frisk’ digital
African American’s now even more vulnerable
Thanks to social media it appears that “Stop and Frisk” is now digital.
Law Enforcement using social media to track criminals is nothing new but, it does bring about new concerns regarding racially profiling and racial bias on the part of law enforcement.
Many law enforcement agencies have turned to social media to help them gather evidence, look for suspects, search viral video’s, monitor crime that is both online and not online and to piece together a string of events.
Which begs the question, does it cross a line?
If it does cross the line, at what point is it considered crossing the line?
What’s more is that legal teams use social media to gather evidence, they hire people to scan social media and look for evidence and sometimes friend you to obtain it, which is not illegal nor is it entrapment if you go by the letter of the law, ex’s use social media to gather evidence, insurance companies use it to fight false claims, parents use it to watch over children, even some employers use it in states where they are legally allowed to.
The point is, does our using a “free” social media website afford us the same rights to privacy that we have in our homes? The 4th Amendment Right states that officers must obtain a warrant before searching areas where citizens have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”
So what is social media considered? It’s a public platform, a very public platform.
Because it is public can we really expect a reasonable amount of privacy?
Twitter reported that from January – June of this year they had received at least 2,520 requests from law enforcement in the U.S. and of that, they were able to provide law enforcement with what they wanted 82% of the time.
Facebook reported that for 2015 it received 30,000 requests and has a 81% compliance rate, which happens to be up 2.3% from the same time period the year prior.
Twitter releases its transparency report twice a year. The report shows the number of government and corporate requests it receives. California was the 3rd leading state in information requests, following Virginia and New York.
In New York it’s widely reported that NYPD officers are encouraged to join Twitter and other social media platforms, as I am sure other departments and officers nationwide are.
What that means is that law enforcement could potentially see your social media posts, follow or friend you and obtain all of the information they wanted to, without a warrant.
The Baltimore Police Department in fact had a users profile shut down during a standoff after they learned that Korryn Gains was interacting with users from her social media during her standoff with police. As it turned out, the users were encouraging her to not comply with officers as she live streamed the event.
The Baltimore Police Department of course took that very seriously, they felt that it was interfering with the job of the negotiators who were attempting to talk Gains down. Which it was.
To be fair, unofficial monitoring of social media does not have legal oversight from any judge, court or public oversight committee which in turn has started a new concern running around the web.
That concern is that racial profiling has been moved from the street and to the social media platform and that the monitoring of African Americans is a recreation of “stop and frisk.”
To take that a step further, some feel that social media companies and organizations are strengthening their relationships with law enforcement which is in turn allowing for even more monitoring.
Still the same we have to come to terms with the fact that if you are using a social media site, news site, blog, podcast or the like that you have made the choice to broadcast whatever it is you are saying or doing to the world.
In turn, because of that choice the user has chosen to forgo his or her rights to privacy with the laws that we have today.
Just remember, much like being on a stage in front of thousands, if you admit to anything illegal or choose to podcast something illegal, because it was distributed to a public forum, it does in fact become a matter of public record.
Cristal M Clark