Today I'm struck by several current news bits about social media/online sites and the implications.
1) The operator of Silk Road, a dark site where millions of dollars worth of drugs was regularly bought/sold has been sentenced to prison on major drug charges, narcotics and money laundering conspiracies, after an extensive, meticulous investigation. This will shut down Silk Road and probably make criminals go elsewhere. It is clear that online works for crime. It is interesting that such a case was brought and won and implies that law enforcement will continue to go after other criminals using dark sites to conduct their nefarious business, so the dark net sites are no longer going to be as safe as they once were for criminals. Read here for more info http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31134938
2) Net providers will be treated as utilities by the FCC if chairman Tom Wheeler gets his wish to "reclassify internet service providers (ISPs) [like Verizon] to make them like any other public utility, in order to ensure the (FCC) can regulate them." This will include fixed line and mobile broadband providers and how they handle data. This is interesting because it will mean there will be enforceable rules about not blocking lawful content and services, not prioritizing data, and may provide more rights for users. The FCC believes this will support net neutrality. The ISPs think it won't help them with costs they incur to meet customers' demands and that you have to prioritize data or the system doesn't work. This isn't law yet. The European Union is going to discuss net neutrality in March. So this plan, or parts of it, are going to be debated and perhaps enacted here and abroad. It will be a lively discussion. If it is enacted, the government will have more control over these companies and the data, and I can see implications for that with law enforcement as well. Read more about it here http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31128823
3) Lastly CMLife has an article entitled Law enforcement monitors crime through social media. The article discusses both a tried and true method of hands on approach before certain events, like big parties, and how other events are monitored during and after via a Twitter grid by police. For so many who put everything they do on social media and don't think about it, if you engage in illegal activities and document it on social media, the police may be monitoring your sites during or after your activities. Of course, if they are doing this at CMU they are doing it everywhere. Wouldn't it be nice when you are having a bad day on social media, if someone would monitor that and step in and help you? Bring you a coffee or some icecream? Maybe that is in our future. Read more about it here http://www.cm-life.com/article/2015/02/police-yak-about-social-media