Former NYC Prosecutor Speaks Out on Law Enforcement Using Social Media to Build Conspiracy Cases #FacebookIsNotApple
A former New York City prosecutor is speaking out on the increasing use of Facebook pages by law enforcement to build conspiracy cases. Prominent criminal defense attorney Ikiesha Al-Shabazz Whittaker is a defense attorney, former Manhattan narcotics crimes prosecutor, and activist who gives legal advice (namely on how to interact with police) in the form of online videos. “I saw it this week. I saw it last week, and I continue to see it,” she says in her latest video, listing Facebook friend lists, comments, likes, inbox messages as means of building conspiracy cases.
Al-Shabazz made and grew an online following and made headlines after a video she posted reacting in frustration to the Tamir Race decision went viral. In the latest installment of her video posts, Al-Shabazz talks about a trend she is seeing repeatedly in the courtroom to prosecute youth: personal Facebook pictures and posts being used as evidence. The main problem with these types of cases as told by Whittaker is that a crime does not have to be committed for a conspiracy counts. All that is needed is an agreement and an act in furtherance which can appear in the form of anything fishy on a Facebook profile. “Anything you use, post can be used against you in a court of law” is how she breaks it down.
Al-Shabazz speaks directly to parents, saying “It’s time for you to be an investigator… create a fake page and friend your child. Do not interact. But watch what they are posting.” She urges them to use undercover tactics to pinpoint things pictures of money and gang signs on their children’s profiles and stop them at the root. The video’s title “PSA: Facebook is NOT Apple!!!” is a reference to the nation’s most recent debate over personal privacy in the digital age, alluding to Apple’s recent refusal to give the FBI access to iPhone content belonging to one of the terrorists in the San Bernardino attack.
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