Facebook scams are plentiful and most of us like to think we’re pretty good at spotting them. One in particular seems to nab law officers from time to time. It’s the one that promises to tell you who “stalks” your page the most. Sometimes it’s also worded as “see who views your profile.”
To officers, it’s a double-edge sword because if it actually worked, it would be very useful in an investigation if someone complained of being harassed. To be able to run an application that (presto!) showed who’s been stalking the victim’s page would be very useful in finding out who the main suspects are. But it doesn’t work that way.
In my training sessions with law enforcement, I’ve been asked more than once if I could tell them how to do just what this scam claims to do. The twist was, in each case where I was asked, it was the cop or one of his/her colleagues who was being harassed on Facebook and they wanted to know which one of these “tools” I recommended.
Here’s the absolute truth: Every one of these claims is a scam. Facebook makes it very clear that the company doesn’t do this itself and won’t allow third party access to that information. If you click through to one of these scams, you will be giving the scammer access to your account. I shudder at the implications that has for officer safety. Beyond that, the scammer will use your account to send messages to all your Facebook friends on your behalf.
It isn’t possible to overstate the need for law officers to be careful with third-party applications on Facebook. The best rule is to assume that all of them will cause harm unless you know for certain it’s been created by a reputable company and serves a real purpose.
It’s always a good idea to set your own uniform resource locator (URL), aka Web address, on every platform that allows it. We’ve already covered how to do that on Facebook here. Because more and more police officers are joining LinkedIn these days, here’s how to set your own URL there.
After you log in to LinkedIn:
1) In the upper right corner, in the pull-down menu where your name is, select Settings.
2) In the bottom half of the page, select Profile if it isn’t selected by default.
3) Over to the right under Settings, select Edit your public profile.
4) Then, on the right-hand side, in the second section, look for Your public profile URL.
5) Click Customize and enter the name of your liking.
A revolutionary life-saving application for smart phones (iPhone and Android) has given dusty CPR training new wheels: smart CPR. What would you do if you were a Fire Chief having lunch while someone nearby needed CPR and you didn’t know it? If you’re Chief Richard Price of the San Ramon Valley Fire Department, you’d be inspired never to let it happen again, and that’s just what he’s done for San Ramon Valley, and now San Jose, California.
“Not long ago I learned too late that someone was having a cardiac arrest right next door to me. I didn’t find out about the emergency until the paramedics pulled up in front of a deli where I was having lunch. I likely could have made a significant difference if I was made aware at the time of the initial 911 call. For several minutes I sat with friends eating lunch while the paramedics were traveling to the scene unbeknownst to me. Up until today, we have relied on fate to place CPR-trained citizens where they are needed at the exact time they are needed. With today’s technology we can do much better,” states Chief Price. A vow and a mission ignited the formation of the noble PulsePoint Foundation (a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation based in the San Francisco Bay Area), whose mission to help activate nearby citizens trained in CPR to render life-saving CPR, and triangulating nearby Automated External Defibrillator (AED) if necessary is now only a reality in lucky parts of California.
“The concept behind the PulsePoint app is simple – Dispatch nearby CPR-trained citizens, to major cardiac emergencies occurring in public places, where the potential need for bystander CPR is high,” states Chief Price, where he found a way to have the CPR clock start before EMS arrives. “These lost minutes are crucial in the precious period of time when someone’s heart has stopped beating properly due to a cardiac arrest. For every minute that passes the chances for survival decrease by 10%. After ten minutes, there is very little chance of successful resuscitation. But CPR suspends time, essentially stopping the ten-minute clock, and buys time to allow paramedics to arrive and provide advanced life support,” in hopes that when emergency responders now arrive at emergencies, they will be taking over CPR by a nearby Good Samaritan activated by the app.
The Public Service Announcement created for the app is electrifying, and asks us all, “Do you want to save a life?” Saying yes was theoretical, because citizen volunteers never had an alert system to activate their life saving skills, until PulsePoint. http://pulsepoint.org/app Now, saying means yes means downloading something special, reminding us all why we took that CPR class, or ever wanted to in the first place.
The app is provided and maintained by the PulsePoint Foundation free of charge. The supporting services are also provided free of charge to public safety agencies desiring to offer the application in their community. Since the app requires an interface to the local public safety communications center, there may be charges from your Computer-aided Dispatch (CAD) system vendor to make this connection. Although these costs are beyond the control of PulsePoint, the foundation is working with the CAD vendors to moderate these fees with reuse efficiencies and grant opportunities.
Chief Richard Price points out: “1,000 people die every day in the United States from Sudden Cardiac Arrest and bystander CPR is performed only 25% of the time. That is a statistic that we hope to greatly improve by crowd-sourcing nearby Good Samaritan who have downloaded the free app to their iPhone or Android device and volunteered to help other citizens in their time of need. It’s Volunteerism 2.0,” and PulsePoint has now made it possible.
Application users who have indicated they are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and willing to assist in case of an emergency can now be notified if someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency and may require CPR. If the cardiac emergency is in a public place, the location-aware application will alert trained citizens in the vicinity of the need for bystander CPR simultaneous with the dispatch of advanced medical care. The application also directs these citizen rescuers to the exact location of the closest publicly accessible AED.
PulsePoint is working with over 150 organizations to assist in deployment of the app, and is available for servicing your community, with a little help from 911-dispatch, who provides the data link to the life-saving alert system. The published API for developers is well guided, as is their mission. Now the question is, do you want to save a life in your hometown today? Have your local government representative contact PulsePoint for deployment, because the price for not having it could be 1000 lives a day.
PulsePoint Contact: http://pulsepoint.org/contact-us Twitter: @1000livesaday
Aleida Lanza is a Business Consultant, and Senior Executive at ACEDS (Association of Certified eDiscovery Specialists). She has worked in the litigation support field for over two decades, developing innovative approaches to practice management. She specializes in converting law firms to paperless environments that are intuitively compliant with FRCP with the use of predictive coding. Her goal is to promote certification of public and private eDiscovery Specialists in legal, law enforcement, corporate, government, IT, and litigation support fields, and help grow our innovative community of talented legal professionals. Her opinions are her own.
Follow her on Twitter: @paperlesslaw or @eDiscoveryCerts
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Facebook has become a key tool in police investigations.
Police routinely access suspects’ Facebook pages to look at recent activities and establish connections between offenders or offender and victim.
Facebook helps police make arrests.
Tracking on Facebook can often help police anticipate a wanted person’s whereabouts and expedite arrest.
Facebook is the reason for collapse of a growing number of prosecutions.
However, the use of Facebook by victims and witnesses has resulted in many identity parades being declared inadmissible in court.
So powerful has Facebook become as an investigation tool (leaving aside the all too common cases where offenders openly brag about their crimes on FB posts) that many civilians routinely employ it. Human Resource departments have been quick learners – there are probably now thousands of people in the UK who have lost their jobs when they rang in sick but were well enough to post on Facebook about the fantastic night out they had.
There was an interesting story last week about a Lancashire man who succeeded in identifying the two soldiers who assaulted him by trawling through Facebook accounts of mutual friends. His online “detective” work resulted in arrest and prosecution.
However, although Facebook has greatly enhanced the police’s capacity for effective investigation and arrest, it has proved to be an obstruction in a number of cases where proving identity is key.
This is particularly prevalent when a witness or victim has looked up the accused on Facebook prior to an identity parade or trial. In these situations, they are identifying the defendant from their Facebook photo rather than from the time of the offence.
There was a well reported incident at Bristol Crown Court last summer when the judge invited the jury to return a not guilty verdict in a burglary trial. In this case the victim’s neighbour suspected her own grandson of committing the offence and told the victim. Unfortunately the victim herself looked up the grandson on Facebook prior to identifying him from a video identity parade leading to the judge ruling that there was a strong danger of mistaken identity.
“Have you looked at the defendant’s Facebook page?” in order to get evidence dismissed.
It will be interesting to see what strategies police and prosecutors adapt to preserve the integrity of the identity parade.
Russell Webster is a Brit who trained as a probation officer until a year working in Pittsburgh sent him in new directions. He has worked full time as an independent consultant, researcher, writer and trainer specialising in the fields of drugs and crime since 1996. He has particular expertise around young people, offender health, social networking/digital engagement and payment by results. He is a regular blogger on these issues at www.russellwebster.com
Gary Murphy, the Past President of Crime Stoppers International has lost his battle with colon cancer.
On February 6, 2012 Michael Gordon-Gibson issue a statement to the world advising of Murphy’s death:
In Memory of Gary Murphy, Past President of Crime Stoppers International by Crime Stoppers International on Monday, February 6, 2012 at 12:56pm Message From Crime Stoppers International President Michael Gordon-Gibson Monday February 6, 2012.
I am sad to report that Gary died peacefully in a hospital near his home close to Toronto with his family around him at about 4:30 pm EST on Sunday 5th February.
Gary was diagnosed with colon cancer at Easter 2011. Since that time he has continued to live life to the fullest. Recently Gary’s health took an unexpected turn for the worse and he stopped receiving curative treatment.
Gary was, in his own words, a proud “Prince Edward Islander”, graduate of St. Francis Xavier University, 15 year member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Past President of Crime Stoppers International, Current Board Member of Crime Stoppers International, passionate businessman, Spouse, Father, Brother, Friend.
His customary humour, resilience and ability to reduce anxiety in those around him remained with him to the end.
He will always remain in our thoughts and prayers.
Michael Gordon-Gibson | President | Crime Stoppers International
On a personal note, I would like the world to know of Gary’s tireless dedication to serving our community in a volunteer capacity for many years.
As the Crime Stoppers Youth officer in Toronto, I was introduced to Gary Murphy through Coordinator Detective Larry Straver, who always reached out to ensure Gary’s message was heard at our Toronto Crime Stoppers official events.
It was from these encounters with Gary that I became a true fan of Gary’s passion for helping our community. This led to a few videos being made for posts to social media to try to get his message heard by more people. If you do a search on Youtube for “Gary Murphy Crime Stoppers” you will find many videos of Gary. There is one video that I recorded in Halifax in 2010 about partnership work that Gary was leading for Crime Stoppers programs in Afghanistan that never was posted publicly.
Gary’s message of community safety and his delivery of the message was very powerful. The Ontario Gang Investigators Association were honoured to have Gary and Jim Schield, International Chief of US Marshals Service speak together at our 2010 Gang Investigators Professional Development Conference in Huntsville, Ontario Canada.
Gary was a pioneer in allowing his message to be filmed and posted to Youtube from this event, a traditional ‘non-public’ affair.
If you have the time, please take the time to hear what Gary had to say about how good we have it here in Canada, when he compares the number of people being killed in Juarez, Mexico in 2009. Gary wasn’t just talking about it… he was in dialogue with law enforcement officials and politicians in Mexico reaching out to make partnerships for Crime Stoppers programs to operate to help save lives.
Watch ONGIA Gang Conference presentation here:
Watch Jim and Gary at 2009 ONGIA Conference here:
Another video of Gary lending his voice of support to using social media to prevent and solve crimes came at the 2010 Crime Stoppers Month Launch event in Toronto.
I will end this celebration of what Gary had to offer the world with this video, saddened that the two community builders in the video are both no longer with us. Gary stressed community. This is what I admired about him. Amber O’Hara died of AIDS in the fall of 2011. Amber had become a believer in Crime Stoppers programs mission of helping to stop, solve and prevent crime together after her cousin Carolyn Connolly was murdered in Toronto. I explained to Gary at this event that Amber had been the only person had posted on the Toronto Crime Stoppers Facebook page that ‘Crime Stoppers Sucked” … and instead of simply removing the negative post, that I had been able to reach out to her and provide some education about how the anonymous Crime Stoppers program worked, and that the anonymity of a tip was protected by the Supreme Court of Canada. Gary was impressed by the fact that a negative situation like a murder, and a negative interaction online, had brought Amber and I together, and that we all were now advocating for the value that Crime Stoppers offered our community.
Gary and Amber both gladly agreed to speak on this video that day. I think their words speak volumes of what both of them wished to accomplish-the success and safety of their community .. Both these people had something in common. They cared.. they spoke when they could, and spoke often. Their words will live on in social media forever.
Gary inspired the world with his passion and energy. He has left the world a better place. His legacy will live on.
The funeral mass will be held Saturday, February 11 at 11:30 a.m. at the St. Mary Immaculate Catholic Church.
Visitation is on Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Marshall Funeral Home, 10366 Yonge Street in Richmond Hill, north of Major Mackenzie Drive.