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Government Claims Right To Create Fake Social Media Accounts From Stolen Identities

Fake Facebook

Photo of Sondra Arquiett from Fake Facebook Account

Is the government sending you a friend request? The DEA has claimed in court documents that it has the right to use information obtained from someone arrested to create a fake social media account in order to further a drug investigation.

Sondra Arquiett was arrested in July 2010 and charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine. In February 2011 she plead guilty and was sentence to time served and was sentenced to time served in January 2012. Although Arquiett never gave the DEA permission to create a fake social media accounts, a DEA agent used the information in her cell phone to create Facebook account and interact with other people the DEA believed were part of a drug conspiracy.

The government claimed that when Arquiett allowed the DEA to search her phone she had authorized them to steal her identity.

The Drug Enforcement Administration set up a fake Facebook account using photographs and other personal information it took from the cellphone of a New York woman arrested in a cocaine case in hopes of tricking her friends and associates into revealing incriminating drug secrets.

In a court filing in August, the Justice Department contended that while Arquiett didn’t directly authorize Sinnigen to create the fake account, she “implicitly consented by granting access to the information stored in her cellphone and by consenting to the use of that information to aid in … ongoing criminal investigations.” The government also argued that the Facebook account was not public. A reporter was able to access it early Tuesday, though it was later disabled.

Quite a rationale. Apparently if you provide law enforcement access to information they can use that information to create fake Facebook and Twitter accounts?

Arquiett is suing the DEA and claimed in court documents to experiencing “fear and great emotional distress” as the fake Facebook account portrayed her as cooperating with a criminal investigation while contacting dangerous drug dealers. There is no telling the level of damage done to Arquiett’s social life by DEA agents pretending to be her and interacting with other people thinking it was her.

The creation of fake social media accounts is standard practice by law enforcement but the accounts are fictitious all the way through – fake names, fake locations. If the government is going to start creating fake Facebook accounts after stealing someone’s identity from a cell phone search the online world is going to get a lot more confusing.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Government Claims Right To Create Fake Social Media Accounts From Stolen Identities

Fake Facebook

Photo of Sondra Arquiett from Fake Facebook Account

Is the government sending you a friend request? The DEA has claimed in court documents that it has the right to use information obtained from someone arrested to create a fake social media account in order to further a drug investigation.

Sondra Arquiett was arrested in July 2010 and charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine. In February 2011 she plead guilty and was sentence to time served and was sentenced to time served in January 2012. Although Arquiett never gave the DEA permission to create a fake social media accounts, a DEA agent used the information in her cell phone to create Facebook account and interact with other people the DEA believed were part of a drug conspiracy.

The government claimed that when Arquiett allowed the DEA to search her phone she had authorized them to steal her identity.

The Drug Enforcement Administration set up a fake Facebook account using photographs and other personal information it took from the cellphone of a New York woman arrested in a cocaine case in hopes of tricking her friends and associates into revealing incriminating drug secrets.

In a court filing in August, the Justice Department contended that while Arquiett didn’t directly authorize Sinnigen to create the fake account, she “implicitly consented by granting access to the information stored in her cellphone and by consenting to the use of that information to aid in … ongoing criminal investigations.” The government also argued that the Facebook account was not public. A reporter was able to access it early Tuesday, though it was later disabled.

Quite a rationale. Apparently if you provide law enforcement access to information they can use that information to create fake Facebook and Twitter accounts?

Arquiett is suing the DEA and claimed in court documents to experiencing “fear and great emotional distress” as the fake Facebook account portrayed her as cooperating with a criminal investigation while contacting dangerous drug dealers. There is no telling the level of damage done to Arquiett’s social life by DEA agents pretending to be her and interacting with other people thinking it was her.

The creation of fake social media accounts is standard practice by law enforcement but the accounts are fictitious all the way through – fake names, fake locations. If the government is going to start creating fake Facebook accounts after stealing someone’s identity from a cell phone search the online world is going to get a lot more confusing.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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