The birth, proliferation, and integration of social media into our society is now complete. Indeed, many of us rely on social media not only for updates from our friends, but also for news, events, entertainment, information, and social interactions.
Law enforcement is also using social media. In fact, social media has given law enforcement an incredible, nearly indigestible amount of open source information into the lives of the communities in which they serve. Law enforcement uses this information to analyze crime patterns, gang affiliations, and to solicit information from the community. Additionally, law enforcement uses social media to communicate with the public in times of crisis (i.e., emergency plan implementation). It is imperative for you as a criminal justice professional to be able to effectively use social media and understand how the police are using it to identify, locate, and apprehend suspects.
However, there is a popular saying that “technology moves faster than the law.” The legality of information obtained by law enforcement from social media is unclear. At what point does police use of information obtained on social media become a “search” or a “seizure” in the legal sense? Does it matter if the post is public (and obtained openly) or private (and obtained from the social network via subpoena)? How can we guarantee that the account owner made the posts that the police want to use as evidence? What, if any, rights do the accused have to protect them from unlawful searches and seizures on social media? Is the right to privacy violated when police obtain this information and/or seek to introduce it as evidence? Although there have been many law review articles and scholarly journals written arguing one way or the other, courts are still deciding the answers to these types of questions regarding law enforcement’s use of social media.
Choose a recent case on the use of social media to collect evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Then, choose a side to act as an expert witness for either the prosecution or defense. You will create a testimony on whether the way evidence collected of criminal wrongdoing is fair and legally reasonable.
Using the Kaltura software, create a video of your testimony. Your testimony should be approximately 10 minutes and include the following:
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