Sunday, April 18, 2010

Investigating On Social Networks

Here in Washington State, P.I. Operatives and Private Investigation Agencies must be licensed.
That doesn't stop unlicensed P.I.'s from operating anyway.
And there are still states where P.I.'s are  not required to have a license to operate.
Personally, I liken hiring an unlicensed P.I. to playing Russian Roulette.

A year or so  ago,  I had no internet presence. I believed I was safer that way, especially since I, like many investigators, are often called to do undercover work.

However, I also discovered the times, they are truly changing and I too must change.
Businesses that plan to evolve must expand into cyberspace.
So within the past year or so... I, a technologically dweeb.. set up a Facebook Account, built this blog and figured out a way to do it all without compromising my case, clients and integrity.

I also plugged into one important fact, a lesson taught me many moons ago.
"Never do or say anything you wouldn't to see on the front page of a newspaper or in front of  a jury".

So for that same reason, I'd like to share a great article from Diane Dimond's Blog that shows how social networking sites can come back to haunt you . That link will follow at the end of this post.

First though, let me say this.
It's evident to many of us, that way too many people tend to say way too much on Facebook, My Space, and other Social  Network accounts.
Beyond that, they post way too many pictures an investigator, attorney, anyone can access.
I am amazed and admittedly a bit saddened by the sheer volume of pictures people post of themselves on their sites.
I understand the need to share, I just feel more is less. And the less bad behavior people see, the better.

If there's a picture of you out there getting high, drunk, or a post with cursing worse than a sailor, it can and will come back to haunt you: when you apply for a job; when you  are accused of something you may be innocent or guilty of;  or when you seek a new alliance who sees your dark side posted all over the net.
FB, My Space and Twitter are one of the first stops on a Human Resources train.

In addition, should your computer ever be confiscated as evidence, everything you've looked at... every email, every deep, dark, dirty picture you downloaded, or "downloaded itself" to your compute will expose you.

In the legal arena, cyberspace knows no bounds.
And no one explains it better than Diane Dimond.

I have always respected Diane's on air reporting and admire her exceptional investigative journalism.
While this story appears to be geared to  those us us working the justice system, it's implications and applications are universal. Take a moment to read it. It could save you a whole lot of grief down the road.

"Concentrate On The Case - Not The Web" by Diane Dimond

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