Social networking extends reach for long arm of the law

Break the law and your new 'friend' may be the FBI

U.S. law enforcement agents are going undercover with false online profiles to communicate with suspects and gather evidence, according to an Associated Press report.

Federal agents are logging on surreptitiously to Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter to exchange messages with suspects, identify a target's friends or relatives and browse private information such as postings, personal photographs and video clips, according to AP.

Social networking sites are enabling investigators to check suspects' alibis by comparing stories told to police with tweets sent at the same time about their whereabouts. Online photos from a suspicious spending spree—people posing with jewelry, guns or fancy cars—can link suspects or their friends to robberies or burglaries.

With federal agents going undercover, state and local police have begun coordinating their online activities with the Secret Service, the FBI and other federal agencies in a strategy known as "deconfliction" to keep out of each other's way.

To read the complete AP story, click here.


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