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Russell Webster  // Browsing posts in Russell Webster

Facebook, law enforcement, police, Russell Webster, selfies, SM Use, social media, Twitter, York Regional Police | Comments Off on When Selfie Stands for Self-Incrimination

When Selfie Stands for Self-Incrimination

Celebs do them, teenage girls do them, even educated fleas do them. Selfies – digital self-portraits which are then posted online – are all over the internet. The advent of Vine has provided yet another outlet for the self-obsessed to add to the usual suspects of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube. This post gives a couple of examples of how self-obsession by criminals can cause more than social embarrassment. Online drug dealing is not as simple as it seems Our first story concerns a young Canadian mechanic who has obviously read about the Silk Road and how easy it is to buy drugs online. However, rather than worrying about bitcoins and Tor encryption, he went straight to Twitter requesting drug dealers to make a delivery to the garage where he was working – only to find that the local police were smart enough to be scanning local social media:     The police then went one stop further and re-tweeted the original to the garage owner:   @JTreliving FYI – MT @Sunith_DB8R Any dealers in Vaughan wanna make a 20sac chop? Come to Keele/Langstaff Mr. Lube, need a spliff. — York Regional Police (@YRP) August 13, 2013   Twitter of...

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law enforcement, police, Russell Webster, SM Use, social media, Storify, Twitter | Comments Off on How do we overcome Twitter abuse?

How do we overcome Twitter abuse?

These sorts of vile attacks are horribly commonplace The story of how hundreds of men mounted a sustained online attack on Caroline Criado-Perez, threatening her with rape and violent assault in reaction to her successful campaign to get the face of Jane Austen on British £10 bank notes has caused public outrage. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the story is how commonplace this sort of vile attack is. Most women Tweeters with any sort of public profile have experienced unprovoked online assaults. The vast majority of us want to see a fast, reliable way of the perpetrators of this sort of abuse facing the consequences of their actions. But none of us has yet come up with an effective response. There are too many of these cases to expect the police to prioritise online investigations. In the same way, Twitter would have to change fundamentally (not allow anonymity or charge hefty membership rates) if it took over the role of policing itself. Similarly, although Tweeters will usually support others under-fire, the fact that this sort of perpetrator can swiftly set up numerous anonymous accounts makes that form of action ineffective. Tweeters who are targeted can of course block offenders,...

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law enforcement, police, Russell Webster, SM Use, social media, Storify, Twitter | Comments Off on How do we overcome Twitter abuse?

How do we overcome Twitter abuse?

These sorts of vile attacks are horribly commonplace The story of how hundreds of men mounted a sustained online attack on Caroline Criado-Perez, threatening her with rape and violent assault in reaction to her successful campaign to get the face of Jane Austen on British £10 bank notes has caused public outrage. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the story is how commonplace this sort of vile attack is. Most women Tweeters with any sort of public profile have experienced unprovoked online assaults. The vast majority of us want to see a fast, reliable way of the perpetrators of this sort of abuse facing the consequences of their actions. But none of us has yet come up with an effective response. There are too many of these cases to expect the police to prioritise online investigations. In the same way, Twitter would have to change fundamentally (not allow anonymity or charge hefty membership rates) if it took over the role of policing itself. Similarly, although Tweeters will usually support others under-fire, the fact that this sort of perpetrator can swiftly set up numerous anonymous accounts makes that form of action ineffective. Tweeters who are targeted can of course block offenders,...

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Global Police Tweet-a-thon, law enforcement, missing persons, police, Russell Webster, SM Use, Twitter | Comments Off on Police and public combine on social media to find missing persons

Police and public combine on social media to find missing persons

Missing in action I recently posted about the increasing number of ways that social media is being used for social good – including saving the lives of human rights workers. Now social media – and Twitter in particular – is becoming the mainstream way of locating missing people. I was slightly surprised when I reviewed five UK police Facebook pages recently and found that a third of the most popular posts related to missing persons. @BrightPlanet were kind enough to share the data they harvested from the recent Global Police Tweetathon and I found that 330 of the 9,836 tweets from UK forces sent on 22 March this year were also about missing persons. It’s no surprise that police use social media for this purpose though. I’ve come across two successful outcomes in the last month.   West Midlands Police find “escaped” patient A 75 year old man with dementia wandered away from a hospital in Birmingham last Saturday. @WMPolice were contacted by the hospital at 2 p.m. and immediately posted requests for information on Twitter and Facebook at the same time as they started a major police search. Less than an hour later, a member of the public who saw the social media messages...

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Gangs, law enforcement, police, Russell Webster, SM Use, social media | Comments Off on Ganging up on social media

Ganging up on social media

Criminals and law enforcement officials both make use of new technologies and social media in particular to outwit each other. This week’s post focuses on how gangs use social media and how police respond. Gangs use social media to brag Gang members use the whole range of social media platforms to spread inflammatory messages and encourage rival gangs to respond. At a recent ABC News sponsored gang summit in Chicago attended by current and former gang members, several participants said that social media played a significant role in fuelling gang rivalry: “If I make a video about somebody else, everybody is going to watch,” he said. “I get on Facebook, put up a status, somebody is somebody’s friend. If I get on Twitter, I make a tweet, somebody is going to whisper to that person, ‘did you seen what happened?’ I get on Instagram, take a picture of another person in the hood…” Young gang members can’t afford to make expensive music videos but they can use their phone camera to record a video and post it on YouTube. There are scores of examples of British gang members on YouTube, typically brandishing guns, smoking drugs and rapping about what they’re going to...

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Facebook, Flickr, law enforcement, police, Russell Webster, SM Tools, SM Use, social media, YouTube | Comments Off on Social media is critical to police IT systems dealing with newsworthy issues

Social media is critical to police IT systems dealing with newsworthy issues

Hold the front page Crime has always been front page news. Always sold newspapers. The advent of TV – remember the real time coverage of OJ Simpson’s arrest – accelerated the speed with which news spread: And social media has ensured that bad news goes global in minutes – as anyone following the Oscar Pistorius case can testify. Let social media bear the weight The always-on, global thirst for bad news can cause problems for police forces who need to appeal for information in high profile cases. A simple post for information on a force website can spread virally within minutes and become global news with the result that the website crashes under the weight of public interest. An example was the murder of Joanna Yeates over the Christmas period in 2010. Even though Avon & Somerset Police rented additional infrastructure, the website crashed at peak times as information was requested about her whereabouts. The force opted to use a set of social media networks to publish important information. YouTube was used as the network to distribute CCTV footage with requests for information. Information about the case was also published on Twitter and Facebook. All these global social media networks...

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Facebook, law enforcement, police, Russell Webster, SM Tools, SM Use, social media, YouTube | Comments Off on Social media is critical to police IT systems dealing with newsworthy issues

Social media is critical to police IT systems dealing with newsworthy issues

Hold the front page Crime has always been front page news. Always sold newspapers. The advent of TV – remember the real time coverage of OJ Simpson’s arrest – accelerated the speed with which news spread: And social media has ensured that bad news goes global in minutes – as anyone following the Oscar Pistorius case can testify. Let social media bear the weight The always-on, global thirst for bad news can cause problems for police forces who need to appeal for information in high profile cases. A simple post for information on a force website can spread virally within minutes and become global news with the result that the website crashes under the weight of public interest. An example was the murder of Joanna Yeates over the Christmas period in 2010. Even though Avon & Somerset Police rented additional infrastructure, the website crashed at peak times as information was requested about her whereabouts. The force opted to use a set of social media networks to publish important information. YouTube was used as the network to distribute CCTV footage with requests for information. Information about the case was also published on Twitter and Facebook. All these global social media networks...

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COMPOSITE, police, Russell Webster, SM Use, social media | Comments Off on Best Police Social Media practice across Europe

Best Police Social Media practice across Europe

The iPlod generation is growing all the time There was a bit of a backlash against the police use of social media, particularly Twitter, towards the end of 2012 with many of us feeling that @J_amesP was unfairly picked on. We wish him well in 2013, but it’s clear that although police services and the CPS may be re-drawing the boundaries on what is acceptable on social media, the number of serving police officers using social media in their work will continue to grow. This makes the publication of a new report on police use of social media in Europe from COMPOSITE very timely. The Study COMPOSITE (Comporative Police Studies in the European Union) is a research project part-funded by the European Commission which focuses on organisational change in police services across the EU. A range of organisations studied the adoption of social media by police in Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain and the UK. The introduction to the study notes the rapid uptake in new media: It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million listeners. Terrestrial TV took 13 years to reach 50 million users. The Internet took four years to...

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COMPOSITE, police, Russell Webster, SM Use, social media | Comments Off on Best Police Social Media practice across Europe

Best Police Social Media practice across Europe

The iPlod generation is growing all the time There was a bit of a backlash against the police use of social media, particularly Twitter, towards the end of 2012 with many of us feeling that @J_amesP was unfairly picked on. We wish him well in 2013, but it’s clear that although police services and the CPS may be re-drawing the boundaries on what is acceptable on social media, the number of serving police officers using social media in their work will continue to grow. This makes the publication of a new report on police use of social media in Europe from COMPOSITE very timely. The Study COMPOSITE (Comporative Police Studies in the European Union) is a research project part-funded by the European Commission which focuses on organisational change in police services across the EU. A range of organisations studied the adoption of social media by police in Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain and the UK. The introduction to the study notes the rapid uptake in new media: It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million listeners. Terrestrial TV took 13 years to reach 50 million users. The Internet took four years to...

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law enforcement, police, Russell Webster, SM Use, social media | Comments Off on Bizarre social media and law enforcement stories from 2012

Bizarre social media and law enforcement stories from 2012

To ease us all into 2013, I thought it was time for another round up of bizarre social media and law enforcement stories.. Three stories have taken my eye recently. 1. The Dopey Drug Dealer Ever made that classic mobile phone mistake when you send the same text to everyone in your address book? A 29 year old from Stafford did. He texted: ‘Safe – got bone dry cheese if u need’  which translates pretty simply into I’ve got cannabis for sale if you want any. Unfortunately, one of the people in his address book was the police officer who had previously arrested him for drug dealing. Fast forward 4 months and Mr Streeter was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment. Full details here.     2. Facebook Fail Like so many others, Jacob, a young man from Astoria, Oregon made the error of bragging about his crimes on Facebook. His post was short, sweet and incriminating: ‘Drivin drunk… classsic  but to whoever’s vehicle i hit i am sorry.  .’ One of Jacob’s Facebook ‘Friends’ shared this message with a local law enforcement officer. And Jacob was duly arrested. Full details here.   Chris Matyszczyk/CNET   3. How to impersonate a woman to get...

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