Police Increasingly Watching Internet
Florida law enforcement agencies are increasingly obtaining funding to seek out criminals on the Internet, especially through social networking Web sites such as MySpace.com.
As the offline world becomes more concerned with security, criminals often turn to the Internet to commit financial fraud, set up sales of illegal drugs, or seek victims of sexual abuse. Police evaluating these suspects’ most likely forums for arranging these illegal activities have a powerful weapon in preventing their plans from becoming reality.
Many users of online social-networking sites, especially teenagers, have an expectation that the personal information they publish on their sites will remain private, but it remains publicly accessible information that police have a responsibility to investigate when they come across it.
The majority of online investigation goes toward tracking down sexual predators, with grants being dispersed by the Florida Department of Children and Families to fund computers and training programs for officers using the Internet to identify potential abusers.
Because several Web sites are known forums for encouraging this type of activity, the search efforts are more efficient and more quickly target criminals than offline investigation would be.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL); 12/18/06; Kridel, Kristen.