A recent lawsuit was settled between the United States and a New York resident who claimed that the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) created a Facebook profile page featuring her in skimpy attire, other compromising situations, as well as photos of her and her relatives and underage son. Although the government does not admit to any fault, they did settle with the plaintiff for the amount of 134,000 dollars.
The profile, which was created with the woman’s real information, was intended to draw in people who were suspected to of being part of a large drug ring. The plaintiff stated that the fake profile Facebook page depicted her as conspiring with law enforcement, which put her life in danger. However, prosecutors have refuted her charges on grounds that she had consented to the profile creation when she allowed the government to use her cellphone and the available data in it.
The justice department is reviewing the files particular to this case, as well as federal practices that deal with public personal information, such as photos, text messages and Google searches. Mariko Hirose, Staff Attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union, believes that these allegations highlight the immediate need of reviewing old procedures that include law enforcement regulations and how they deal with peoples’ digital identities.
The fake Facebook profile page depicts the New York resident posing on a car in her undergarments, as well as pictures that show her son and other relatives. The agent who impersonated the woman, also send friend requests to a wanted fugitive under said account. Her attorneys focused on creating a case making dealt not only with their client’s infringement on personal information, but also the overarching problem of privacy in this digital age.
A Facebook spokesperson commented on the matter “We ask that you refrain from publishing the personal information of others without their consent. Claiming to be another person, creating a false presence for an organization, or creating multiple accounts undermines community and violates Facebook’s terms,” and has since removed the profile.