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Stuart, I totally just posted my comment at the same time as you!!

When you ask about privacy, what do you mean... are you talking about the line between conversing on social sites and investigating them?

I have been told that it is not considered unreasonable search and seizure if a LEO "friends" someone, that person accepts the request, and the LEO proceeds to use pictures, blog entries etc. to build a case. The person accepted the request of their own free will, like granting entry into a home.

Unreasonable is if the LEO has a friend at Facebook (or wherever) and gets account access without a warrant. Is that the kind of thing you are talking about?

Murkier is issues like whether a PD should follow its followers back on Twitter - some civilians consider this too "Big Brother"-ish, and the PD account holders just keep an eye out for their @s and DMs - but again, it's the social web. You post something, it's out there for the world to see; not much expectation of privacy (as we are finding in various court cases and employment issues).

All that said, I may not have hit on what you were asking. I do try to focus on "best practices" but I also do want to address more legal aspects at some point.

Hi Valeria - I do read many of the blogs in your blogroll. :) It is often a matter of finding the time to do so regularly, as I'm still learning how to fit social media into my day to day!

I confess that I was hoping to get a little more feedback here, but given that I hardly ever comment (that would be due to sheer intimidation of the light-years-ahead-of-me minds here) I will be grateful just for the posting. :) Of course, as I gain more experience I hope to have more value to contribute, but for right now I'm listening and learning.

Of course anyone who wishes to contact me directly is more than welcome!

Very interesting take and premise. I'm wondering though, how do you overcome privacy laws? Or do you keep the talk to strictly best practices within police work?

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