The ways that police and other officials in Louisiana are investigating crimes has begun to change in recent years. These changes include the use of the Internet and social media to search for suspects and to learn information about crimes after they happen. For those who have been charged with a crime, these changes can mean that the information that they put online could come back to haunt them in some instances.
When police in Louisiana begin investigating a crime or following a gang of suspects, they may turn to social media for assistance, according to one report. Using tips gained from reading blogs, Facebook posts and tweets can offer valuable information, police have told reporters. In fact, officials have even been known to follow the friends of potential suspects in an effort to gain information.
Before an individual is even charged with a crime, police may have trolled the internet for information on the suspect’s location and activities. This new use of social media is of concern to some however. The privacy of an individual can be given up when they put information online. In fact, the open networks of many social media sites allow for easy access by both approved ‘friends’ and potential monitors.
For individuals who suspect that they may be charged with a crime in our state, the information that they place on the internet can be very important. Conversations and postings can be monitored in some circumstances and may be an avenue pursued by local authorities. Though not always allowed, in some cases the accounts of potential suspects can be accessed and information used as evidence against them. Anyone who fears being charged, or who already has been, may benefit from working with their defense to consider any online material that may be applicable to the case.
Source: Huffington Post, “Web Surveillance Through Social Media Sites A Powerful Tool For Local Law Enforcement,” G.W. Schulz, Sept. 5, 2012