Democracy & Technology Blog Internet a “treasure trove” for catching criminals


Some of the fascinating ways social media sites are making it easier for police to nab the bad guys, from,

  • Police in Indiana were able to arrest a New York fugitive who turned himself in by posting his workplace on his MySpace and Facebook pages.
  • A Florida man who was convicted of murdering of his friend was caught because he posted pictures of the friend on his MySpace page next to the words “rest in peace” and “live through me,” hours before the death was even reported to police.
  • A burglar in Pennsylvania who ransacked a home and stole some jewelry was caught after the victim found the burglar’s Facebook account open on her home computer.
  • A bank fraud fugitive in Washington was turned in by a Facebook friend when the fugitive boasted about his new life in Mexico.
  • An Oregon burgler was caught when his victim found the stolen property advertised on Craigslist.

“We utilize data posted on blogs and various social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to validate and corroborate information we have developed regarding the target of an investigation,” a retired New York detective told “…These sites are a potential treasure trove.”

Hance Haney

Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project
Hance Haney served as Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, in Washington, D.C. Haney spent ten years as an aide to former Senator Bob Packwood (OR), and advised him in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the deliberations leading to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He subsequently held various positions with the United States Telecom Association and Qwest Communications. He earned a B.A. in history from Willamette University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.