The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has received a letter from Facebook asking that it stop creating phony profiles to spy on people.
This comes after the Guardian disclosed that the US police department has been collaborating with a tech business to analyze user data in order to aid in the investigation of crimes.
The creation and usage of fraudulent accounts is clearly forbidden on Facebook.
The goal was to “establish a safe workplace where individuals can trust and hold one another responsible,” according to the statement. In a letter outlining Facebook’s policies, vice president and deputy general counsel for civil rights Roy Austin wrote, “Not only do LAPD instructional documents use Facebook as an explicit example in advising officers to set up fake social media accounts, but documents also indicate that LAPD policies simply allow officers to create fake accounts for ‘online investigative activity.”
“While the LAPD may determine the legality of such regulations, officers must follow Facebook’s policies when creating accounts on our services.” The police department should stop using phony accounts, impersonating others, and collecting data for surveillance purposes on Facebook. The LAPD used Voyager Labs’ social media surveillance software to acquire data from suspects’ social media networks, including their friends’ accounts, according to documents obtained through public record requests submitted by the Brennan Center for Justice.
Voyager Labs says that their software can analyze enormous volumes of data to aid in the investigation of crimes, including determining users’ intentions and opinions.
The program had proved particularly beneficial in analyzing the operations of street gangs online, and important in helping the LAPD’s robbery and homicide section collect evidence, according to emails from the LAPD.