Facebook helps police track down fugitive

Published:  November 12, 2010
Facebook helps police track down fugitive

The Age reported last week that US police had caught a fugitive from California who had absconded from parole 12 years ago. The 47-year-old, Robert Lewis Crose, reportedly told a friend on Facebook that he was in Cut Bank. Police circulated his photograph and a tip-off led them to arrest him in a casino in Cut Bank, Montana.

The use of Facebook status updates to track Crose’s whereabouts pose an interesting comment on the relationship between federal police and Facebook. In Australia, we have seen a dramatic back-and-forth struggle between the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Facebook over the release of information that could help with police investigations.

Back in May the Sydney Morning Herald reported the AFP was unimpressed with Facebook’s lack of assistance for police. Facebook hit back however, tell The Australian a few days later that it was the AFP who had been unresponsive.

The story took an unexpected turn in October, when Australian police were given court approval to serve a court order via Facebook. Having failed to serve the order in person, via post, or by telephone, a video of the order being read was sent to the alleged cyber bully via Facebook.

How will the tangled relationship of our protectors and the company who owns our identities develop? Do you think Facebook and federal police can work together in the future?

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