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Intersection: Sidewalks & Public Space

Chapter by Melissa Ngo

"The Myth of Security Under Camera Surveillance"


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    Boston Phoenix: When the cops subpoena your Facebook information, here’s what Facebook sends the cops

    The Boston Phoenix reports on data about users that social-networking site Facebook sends to police when it receives a subpoena:

    This week’s Boston Phoenix cover story – Hunting the Craigslist Killer: An Untold Detective Story from the Digital Frontier – would not have been possible without access to a huge trove of case files released by the Boston Police Department. Many of those documents have never been made public — until now. [...]

    One of the most fascinating documents we came across was the BPD’s subpoena of Philip Markoff’s Facebook information. It’s interesting for a number of reasons — for one thing, Facebook has been pretty tight-lipped about the subpoena process, even refusing to acknowledge how many subpoenas they’ve served. Social-networking data is a contested part of a complicated legal ecosystem — in some cases, courts have found that such data is protected by the Stored Communications Act.

    In fact, we’d never seen an executed Facebook subpoena before — but here we have one, including the forms that Boston Police filed to obtain the information, and the printed (on paper!) response that Facebook sent back, which includes text printouts of Markoff’s wall posts, photos he uploaded as well as photos he was tagged in, a comprehensive list of friends with their Facebook IDs (which we’ve redacted), and a long table of login and IP data.

    Read the full article for the subpoena and the redacted response from Facebook.

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