DEA uses confiscated pictures on woman's cellphone to create fake facebook account for drug trafficking investigation
Facebook's chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, in a letter to the DEA
and their Administrator, Michele Leonhart, has stated that the same rules apply to law enforcement agencies about being truthful and not lying about identity as civilians.
"Facebook has long made clear that law enforcement authorities are subject to these policies," Sullivan wrote. "We regard DEA's conduct to be a knowing and serious breach of Facebook's terms and policies."
Facebook has stated that it wants assurances that fake profiles will not be used in conducting investigations. The letter comes on the heels of a New York woman, Sondra Arquiett, suing in federal court
over claims that a fake Facebook page was created using her name and pictures by a DEA agent, Timothy Sinnigen, in an effort to forward a drug investigation.
Initially the Department of Justice defended the tactic. They argued in an August court filing that although Arquiett didn't give direct authorization to Sinnigen to create the bogus account, she "implicitly consented by granting access to the information stored in her cellphone and by consenting to the use of that information to aid in... ongoing criminal investigations."
The Department of Justice last week changed course and opened a review of the case after Arquiett sued the U.S. government, and Sinnigen in federal court.
Investigators had initially seized Arquiett's cell phone when she was arrested as part of a July 2010 drug investigation by a county drug task force, Homeland Security and the DEA, according to court documents.