Facebook: The DEA Can't Use Fake Profiles To Chase Suspects

Facebook: The DEA Can't Use Fake Profiles to Chase Suspects

Remember how the US Justice Department decided it was just fine for a Drug Enforcement Administration agent to steal a woman's identity and set up a fake Facebook account to chase subjects? Well, Facebook's not OK with that.

In a letter sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration on Friday, Zuckerberg & Co have made their position very clear: if agents want to use the service for whatever reason, they have to use their proper name. "We regard the DEA's conduct to be a knowing and serious breach of Facebook's terms and policies," explains security officer Joe Sullivan in the letter.

As a refresher of what happened at the DEA to cause this fuss in the first place, here's how we described it first time round:

[A] Drug Enforcement Administration agent stole the identity of Sondra Arquiett, who then went by the name Sondra Prince, back in 2010... the DEA agent was using the account to communicate with suspected criminals. Why Sondra? Well, admittedly, she had been arrested on suspicion of being part of a drug ring, and she was ultimately sentenced to probation. While she was awaiting trial, an agent called Timothy Sinnigen set up the fake account using photographs from her confiscated phone... Sadly for Sondra, the court ruled that, while the Facebook page has been constructed without her permission, it was "for a legitimate law enforcement purpose."

Clearly, that doesn't fly for Facebook. Sulivan adds that the social network has clear rules about the use and misuse of identities, and it "has long made clear that law enforcement authorities are subject to these policies." Take that, DEA. [Facebook Letter to DEA via ABC]

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