Judge: Police can create a fake Instagram account sans warrant

Judge: Police can create a fake Instagram account sans warrant
In New Jersey, District Judge William Martini has ruled that the police do not need to obtain a warrant in order to open a bogus Instagram account. Because the phony account could receive pictures shared by a suspect, it was thought by some that a search warrant would be required. But Judge Martini, in his ruling, said that when Instagram users post photos on the site, they are practicing "consensual sharing." Users post photos, knowing that if they "follow" or "friend" others, they will be sharing their pictures with them.

The specific case that the judge was ruling on involves one Daniel Gatson, who was charged with stealing over $3 million in jewelry. Gatson posted pictures on his Instagram account that showed the jewelry he allegedly stole. He shared the pictures with an Instagram account of an individual that was in reality, the DEA. The judge's decision denies the defendant's request to prevent his Instagram pictures from being used as evidence during his trial.

It should be noted that the decision by the judge wouldn't have applied in a 2010 case where a DEA official created a false Insagram account using the real name of a female suspect being tracked by the agency. Risque photos of the suspect were taken from her smartphone and used to create the counterfeit account. The difference between the two accounts created by the DEA is that one used a completely false identity, which is allowed by Instagram. The second account used the name of a real person and her pictures without permission, which violates Instagram's Terms of Service.

source: DocumentCloud via ArsTechnica, SlashGear



1. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

People can be stupid sometimes. Why would you share to the world that you just committed a crime?

2. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Welll. Many of them are sick people and they want everyone know what they did. Look at most terrorist groups they say if they did something and are proud of it.

3. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

True, the C.I.A. will gloat, at times...

4. CellieCell

Posts: 151; Member since: Apr 14, 2010

He should've just went to church and confessed! Lol

5. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Dumb crooks go to prison. Smart crooks go to Wall Street.

6. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

Honestly, I agree with this. If you post pictures on a social network that anyone can see, it should be able to be used against you. If it is private though, I sorta don't agree because you are being tricked into it. And hey, I live in NJ.

7. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

I used to live in New Jersey. Good times where you didn't have to drive half an hour for everything (I live in Texas now).

8. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

Yep. Basically every store is available with a three minute drive. Except WalMart. Grrrr. And how come you moved to Texas?

9. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

I totally agree with you, guy. The officers here did what any undercover police operation would do: Pose as something fiction to get to dishonest morons. OOPS.... dishonest people. Sorry. Shared pictures of stolen stuff. His screen name was "pleasecatchme2"

10. kevin91202

Posts: 642; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

What is "DEA"? Is this a US-based website or from Bulgaria? Once again, spelling and grammar errors.

11. Alan01

Posts: 615; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

DEA is Drug Enforcement Administration which is a federal law enforcement agency in the U.S. Alan F.

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