LinkedIn and the Law

Using LinkedIn for fraud?

Twittering about where you are when you tell others you’re somewhere else?

Well guess what – that may come back to bite you in the proverbial donkey;-)

The AP is reporting on EFF releasing information obtained under FOIL about the FBI’s use of social networks.  If you put it out there, expect that it could come into play.

But there is an aspect that warrants some concern…

The overview

If you post your whereabouts, wealth, or health, and you’ve previously done something to make that information of value – expect it to be found.

The AP article about EFF’s release of information in the FBI document (sorry – wanted to credit everybody there, and EFF hasn’t quite released their own article yet) tells us of a few stories:

  • Finding people wanted in connection with a crime through Facebook
  • Verifying alibis against tweets
  • Evaluating online photos as part of an investigation

And really – it’s kind of like saying if you publish facts that can help police arrest and convict you of a crime, you really don’t get this whole online publishing thing;-)

LinkedIn den of thieves

Now – if you follow my advice and connect only to people you know and trust, it seems like this would be less of an issue.

Of course if you really do know and trust people that are up to no good, and you connect with them, you’ve pretty much drawn a map for the authorities to follow now haven’t you?-)

(I’m only saying this half in jest – we know people already post too much information at times, so I guess there probably are stupid crooks that put this stuff online…)

Area of concern

But there is one area that gives me pause – rules for online use.

For example – I can understand posing as a fellow criminal to infiltrate a criminal organization, in real life or online.

But I don’t expect the person who reports to be my sister asking to connect to be anyone other than my sister. And if the authorities used such a tactic, I would throw a flag.

And for that I appreciate EFF’s efforts. Yes, we need to use appropriate means to identify and stop crime, but that should not cross some borders. (and pretending to be a relative or close friend is one of those borders)

General guideline

As a user of technology for over 25 years, I long ago adopted an intent to write things that I’d at least be ok about if they were made public – in an email, chat, or otherwise.

I’m not saying I want to have that happen, but I try to make sure there I won’t get burned too often.

And that’s something you ought to think about too.

Even if it’s a comment about an old flame or employer – instead of something that could land you in jail;-)

To your continued success,


Steven Tylock