On this episode of Spark: Police, Perps and Social Media. Click below to listen to the whole show, or download the MP3 (runs 54:00).
You can also listen to individual stories below.
This Spark is all about social media and law enforcement. We'll hear about how police are using tools like Facebook and Twitter right now, and what they should (and shouldn't) be doing online. And we'll get a glimpse of the other side: how the "bad guys" use social media. To us, the question is: how can police take advantage of all the opportunities that social media offers, while avoiding the pitfalls? How can law enforcement get to the point where solving a crime on Facebook isn't fluke or happenstance, but rather, part of regular policework? This first story is an example of a fluke - how one officer happened to find a suspect while on Facebook. (Runs 5:30)
Recently, a report was released that looked at the ways police in Canada, the U.S, and the U.K use Twitter. Laura Madison is one of the co-authors of the report (aptly named Survey of Official & Unofficial Law Enforcement Twitter Accounts in Canada, the United Kingdom, & the United States). Laura is a criminologist, and the co-founder of the Canadian Association of Police in Social Media and she spoke with Nora about the different ways police officers tweet in those three countries. (Runs 6:57)
For every police department that has embraced social media there are just as many that are still trying to figure it all out. To really understand the challenges and opportunities social media presents to police work, Nora spoke with Toronto's Deputy Chief of Police Peter Sloly, and Lauri Stevens, organizer of the SMILE conference. (Runs 18:33)
We've been talking so far about police and social media -- how they should (or shouldn't) use tools like Twitter and Facebook. But what about the flip side? How do the bad guys use social media to break the law? Nora spoke with Todd Shipley, a retired City of Reno police officer who now runs a software company that specializes in the collection of digital evidence. (Runs 7:55)
Recently we heard the story of a young man who was attacked and beaten in late January. If this wasn't disturbing enough, his attackers recorded the entire incident and uploaded it to Youtube. The police were getting nowhere with the case, and in desperation the young man turned to Reddit's massive readership for help. Could the online mobs sift out clues to his attackers' identities? It turned out they could. More people are now turning to the internet for justice. But what makes a Twitter feed or a Facebook group more attractive than going to the police? Nora speaks to Sidneyeve Matrix, a media professor at Queen's University. She sheds some light on why the online mobs aren't so anonymous, and why that sense of community fuels this growing trend of crowdsourcing justice. (Runs 9:54)