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News Link • Justice and Judges

Judges: The Cops Are Allowed To Turn Your Facebook 'Friends' Against You

•, Michele Bowman

As a result, cops secured photos and posts that helped to indict him for gang-related racketeering, murder, and drug charges.

Colon fought the indictment, brandishing his Fourth Amendment right to privacy and arguing that he had a legitimate expectation that his friends would keep his posts about rival gang members and threats of violence to themselves.

Wrong, said U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III in an order dated August 10. “Colon’s legitimate expectation of privacy ended when he disseminated posts to his ‘friends’ because those ‘friends’ were free to use the information however they wanted – including sharing it with the Government,” wrote the judge.
The judge’s finger-quotes around “friends” shouldn’t be lost on anyone: With this ruling, Judge Pauley joins a growing cadre of jurists around the country who are giving law enforcement greater and greater leeway in their use of social media to gather evidence against people accused of crimes. The upshot? Social media “friends” can betray you in just about any way you can imagine, because your privacy settings are basically irrelevant.

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