Woman turns son in after seeing his photos on police Facebook page

A Florida mother was browsing her Facebook news feed when she came across a post by the local police department asking for help in identifying a robbery suspect who had been caught on surveillance camera during the alleged theft.

She immediately recognized who it was: her teenage son.

Casselberry Police say the woman marched into his room at 1 a.m. and called police, who found Joel Brown wearing the same Fila sweatshirt seen in the surveillance photos when they arrived at her Winter Park, Fla., home.

“She didn’t wait till morning,” Sgt. Chris Pamatian told WESH-TV. “She took care of it right then.”

The 18-year-old was arrested and charged with shoplifting $670 worth of PlayStation controllers from the Casselberry Target. According to police, Brown, a college student, confessed, saying he needed the money.

Authorities recovered five of the controllers, but according to WFTV, several others had already been sold to area GameStop stores.

Pamatian said that while the department receives crime tips from a variety of sources, it’s unusual to “receive a call from the suspect’s mother.”

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Introducing AMBER Alerts on Facebook

Today, we are announcing a partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to send AMBER Alerts to the Facebook community to help find missing children.

The new initiative will deliver AMBER Alerts to people’s News Feeds in targeted search areas after a child has been abducted and the National Center has issued an alert.

These alerts, which include photographs and other details about the missing child, are shown on mobile and desktop. People can share the alert with friends and link directly to the National Center’s missing child poster, which always has the most up-to-date information about the case.

For years, people have used Facebook to post news articles about missing children and AMBER Alerts. In several cases, someone saw a post or photo in their News Feed, took action, and a child was safely returned.

In 2014, an 11-year-old girl was safely recovered after a motel owner recognized her from an AMBER Alert that a friend had shared on Facebook. The woman called the police, and the child was found unharmed. It’s amazing word-of-mouth efforts like this that inspired us to develop a more systematic way to help find missing children on Facebook.

We know the chances of finding a missing child increase when more people are on the lookout, especially in the critical first hours. Our goal is to help get these alerts out quickly to the people who are in the best position to help.

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NY recovers $18 million using warrants for Facebook accounts

(Reuters) – New York prosecutors have secured more than $18 million in a series of fraud cases using warrants to access hundreds of Facebook accounts, a move the social medial firm says was unconstitutional and is still fighting.

The information obtained from Facebook Inc also helped lead to 130 indictments of civil servants, including police officers and firefighters, for Social Security fraud, according to a court document filed by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in a state appeals court on Wednesday.

More than 90 defendants have pleaded guilty and agreed to pay more than $18 million in restitution, the brief said.

The prosecutors said the numbers undermine Facebook’s claim that the warrants, which applied to 381 users’ photos, private messages and other account information, were too broad and violated the constitutional ban on unreasonable searches.

Facebook has drawn support in its challenge to the warrants from other technology and civil liberties groups, including Google Inc, Microsoft Corp, Twitter Inc, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

A five-judge panel will hear the case in December. Facebook complied with the warrants last year after a state judge approved them.

A victory for Facebook would not directly impact the pending fraud cases, but could lead to judges throwing out evidence taken from the site in some cases.

The district attorney in Wednesday’s filing said Facebook does not have the legal standing to assert its users’ constitutional rights on their behalf.

Prosecutors also urged the court to reject Facebook’s claim that all its customers have an expectation of privacy when using the site.

“Some customers treat their accounts as ‘digital homes,’ and maintain some degree of privacy,” the brief said. “Others treat their accounts more as digital billboards, broadcasting material to dozens or even hundreds of others, thus abandoning any claim of privacy.”

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Facebook helps catch Phoenix woman for insurance fraud

PHOENIX (CBS5)-A Phoenix woman tried to get away with $26,500 after claiming she lost her wedding rings.

But her lie was uncovered when Facebook photos surfaced of her wearing the distinctive rings, according to the Arizona Department of Insurance.

In June 2013, Maria Apodaca Simmons made a claim on her policy through Travelers Insurance Company for rings she said she lost while swimming in the Pacific Ocean a few days after her wedding in May.

She also filed a $14,000 claim on her husband’s wedding band in October 2013, claiming it was lost while he was swimming on vacation.

A State Farm employee thought something was fishy after she interviewed Simmons about her husband’s ring.

Simmons was wearing the rings that matched the photos from the appraisal she used for the Travelers policy, and the state Department of Insurance investigators were called in. They discovered a Facebook page with a photo of her wearing the same rings.

A search warrant was issued and the rings were found.

Simmons first said the rings were duplicates, but the jeweler told investigators that he had only made the one set.

On Tuesday, Simmons pleaded guilty to two counts of insurance fraud, and as part of a plea deal, she’ll be put on probation and pay $26,953.60 to Travelers Insurance and $1,005.11 to the Department of Insurance for investigative costs.

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New Facebook Scam Fools Users Into Hacking Their Own Accounts

A new Facebook scam promising users the ability to hack anyone’s account is only a guide towards hacking your own account.

The scam lures users by providing a guaranteed access to anyone’s account in three easy steps. But following the steps make users hack their own page, via a method termed as Self-XXS, which makes anyone who attempts the guide vulnerable to new scam and phishing campaigns.

The scam pops up as a Facebook post on your Timeline or an email from a friend of a victim, promising to ‘hack any account following three steps’. It then asks you to open up your Facebook in a new browser and head over to the Facebook page of the individual you want to hack. Then right-clicking anywhere on the page brings up a pop-up menu where you are asked to select ‘Inspect Element’. This presents an HTML editor at the bottom of the web browser.

In the HTML editor, the scam guides readers to copy-paste a string of code. However, the code doesn’t fulfill its promise; but grants scammers access to your account.

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School District Pays $70K to Settle Lawsuit

One Minnesota student’s legal battle over Facebook posts could send shock waves through schools across the country, redefining schools’ rights to search students’ devices and social media accounts without reasonable cause.

The Minnewaska School District has agreed to pay $70,000 to settle the 2012 case involving former sixth-grader Riley Stratton, now 15 years old.

In a phone interview with ABC News, Stratton said the ordeal began after she posted disparaging comments on her Facebook page about a teacher’s aide. She was at home at the time and not using school computers.

“I posted on my Facebook and said I didn’t like this Kathy person … I hated this Kathy person because she was mean,” Stratton said.

Though she was not using a school computer, Stratton says she received a detention and was forced to write a letter of apology. But it didn’t end there. Several days later, school officials received a complaint that Stratton and a male classmate were having explicit private conversations on Facebook – again, not on school computers. That’s when she says school officials made a demand.

“They interrogated me and told me to give them my password,” she said.

“I didn’t want detention, so I had to give them this.”

The American Civil Liberties Union took on the case, saying Stratton’s constitutional rights were violated, including the right to free speech and privacy. They sued for, among other things, “emotional distress.”

“Students have a lot of free speech rights on campus, but they are even more enhanced when they are off-campus. So that made it a more egregious violation of Riley’s constitutional rights,” said Wally Hilke, an attorney at Lindquist & Vennum, which represented Riley in the case.

The two sides settled, and while the school district is not admitting any wrongdoing, Superintendent Greg Schmidt says the district has updated its policies regarding the search of devices and social media accounts.

“[We'll] be certainly much more cautious about punishing people for things they say off-campus outside of school time,” Schmidt said.

Stratton simply wants to move forward.

“I lost trust in adults,” she said. “I’m just happy it’s over.”

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Richmond Police Officer’s Good Deed Goes Viral

RICHMOND (WRIC)—A Facebook photo of a Richmond Police officer assisting a citizen in a wheelchair over the weekend is generating positive buzz on social media.

On Tuesday morning, the Richmond Police Department posted a photo on its Facebook page that a citizen had tweeted on Saturday. The image shows First Precinct Officer Jordan Clark pushing a man in his wheelchair.

According to RPD, Officer Clark received a call about a man in need of assistance after his wheelchair battery died. Clark responded to the scene, pushed the man for three blocks to 25th and East Broad streets, where he had arranged for GRTC to pick the citizen up.

“It was cold, his wheel chair was broke,” Clark said. “The last thing on my mind was leaving him. He didn’t have any friends or family.

That was the only option. I was like, ‘Well, I can’t leave you here, I don’t want to leave you here, we got to take care of this for you.’”

The actions that followed are earning the officer high praise. A college student took a photo of Officer Clark assisting the man in the wheelchair.

After the Richmond Police Department posted it on Facebook, it went viral.

“[Clark] then helped the man get on the bus and then followed the bus to the man’s home near 21st and Q streets,” Richmond Police wrote on Facebook.

“But he didn’t stop there. He then pushed the man in his wheelchair another two blocks and helped him get safely into his home. What an incredibly kind thing for him to do. Talk about going above and beyond.”

“I think he thought he was in trouble at first when I called him,” said Lt. Dan Minton. “I said, ‘What can you tell me about this picture of you pushing this guy in a wheel chair?’ and he said, ‘What are you talking about?’ and I kind of gave him the background on it, and then he told me the story.”

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INTERNET SECURITY ALERT

CHARLOTTE NC

In the past week, Google, Facebook and Instagram have all announced security changes that will affect Officer Safety.

The most serious change comes from Facebook.
The company announced Thursday it is officially axing a privacy setting that allowed people to hide their profiles from other users in Facebook’s search field.

The setting “who can look up my timeline by name” had already disappeared from the options for some users — specifically, those who weren’t using the feature in December of last year.

The new change affects a “small percentage of people” on the site who were still using the feature, Facebook (FB, Fortune 500) said, although it did specify how many of its 1.15 billion active users were impacted.

Facebook explained that the search tool has been expanded to allow broader searches by topics, geographical areas and a number of other search criteria.

Facebook has also expanded its internal search capabilities with the roll out of Graph Search. The feature allows users to sift through the social network’s vast data trove to find “friends who live in my city,” “tourist attractions in Italy visited by my friends,” and similar lists. It also allows Facebook to eventually challenge sites that rate and rank local attractions like restaurants and hotels.

Facebook announced that users would no longer be able to block people with whom they are not connected from seeing their profile when searching the social network, a change that could boost the Graph Search feature CEO Mark Zuckerberg championed in a launch event earlier this year. The company said in a blog post that a “small percentage of people still using the setting” would lose it soon, after Facebook stopped offering to block searches for anyone who had not already chosen the option earlier this year.

Facebook has also changed their security threshold for their photo-sharing service Instagram allowing more people to see your photos. The Next Web reported that an update to the popular app takes away the option of not allowing videos to play automatically when a user visits the timeline. The move follows the announcement earlier this week that Instagram would begin to serve advertisements in users’ streams, the first revenue-generating attempt by the San Francisco company since Facebook committed $1 billion in a 2012 acquisition.

Google has also lifted some of their security restrictions, now sharing your photos and other information in advertisements and free displays.

What once was tucked away in your on-line privacy file has been opened and there’s not much that you can do about it.

For officer safety, we suggest that you restrict all pictures and post non-specific information and opt not to include details about your job, home address, phone number or even your favorite restaurant.

In recent years, there have been a number of private security personnel who have been assaulted while off-duty because of an incident that they were involved with while on-duty. Several situations also proved that the assailant had followed the security officer home from their work assignment and in a recent case; an assailant used public information to locate and assault a security officer for having him arrested for shoplifting.

Two security officers killed last year while off duty were found to have been targeted by persons that they had previous confrontations with while on duty.

Remember that once you post something on the Internet, you lose control of it and it’s almost impossible to take back once it has been published. For your safety, and the safety of your family,
use caution, be responsible and let common sense be your guide.

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Felony Counts for 2 in Suicide of Bullied 12-Year-Old

MIAMI — For the Polk County sheriff’s office, which has been investigating the cyberbullying suicide of a 12-year-old Florida girl, the Facebook comment was impossible to disregard.

In Internet shorthand it began “Yes, ik” — I know — “I bullied Rebecca nd she killed herself.” The writer concluded that she didn’t care, using an obscenity to make the point and a heart as a perverse flourish. Five weeks ago, Rebecca Ann Sedwick, a seventh grader in Lakeland in central Florida, jumped to her death from an abandoned cement factory silo after enduring a year, on and off, of face-to-face and online bullying.

The Facebook post, Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County said, was so offensive that he decided to move forward with the arrest immediately rather than continue to gather evidence. With a probable cause affidavit in hand, he sent his deputies Monday night to arrest two girls, calling them the “primary harassers.” The first, a 14-year-old, is the one who posted the comment Saturday, he said. The second is her friend, and Rebecca’s former best friend, a 12-year-old.

Both were charged with aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony and will be processed through the juvenile court system. Neither had an arrest record. The older girl was taken into custody in the juvenile wing of the Polk County Jail. The younger girl, who the police said expressed remorse, was released to her parents under house arrest.

Originally, Sheriff Judd said he had hoped to wait until he received data from two far-flung cellphone application companies, Kik Messenger and ask.fm, before moving forward.

“We learned this over the weekend, and we decided that, look, we can’t leave her out there,” Sheriff Judd said, referring to the older girl. “Who else is she going to torment? Who else is she going to harass? Who is the next person she verbally abuses and attacks?”

He said the older girl told the police that her account had been hacked, and that she had not posted the comment.

“She forced this arrest today,” Sheriff Judd said.

Rebecca was bullied from December 2012 to February 2013, according to the probable cause affidavit. But her mother, Tricia Norman, has said the bullying began long before then and continued until Rebecca killed herself.

The older of the two girls acknowledged to the police that she had bullied Rebecca. She said she had sent Rebecca a Facebook message saying that “nobody” liked her, the affidavit said. The girl also texted Rebecca that she wanted to “fight” her, the police said. But the bullying did not end there; Rebecca was told to “kill herself” and “drink bleach and die” among other things, the police added.

The bullying contributed to Rebecca’s suicide, the sheriff said.

Brimming with outrage and incredulity, the sheriff said in a news conference on Tuesday that he was stunned by the older girl’s Saturday Facebook posting. But he reserved his harshest words for the girl’s parents for failing to monitor her behavior, after she had been questioned by the police, and for allowing her to keep her cellphone.

“I’m aggravated that the parents are not doing what parents should do: after she is questioned and involved in this, why does she even have a device?” Sheriff Judd said. “Parents, who instead of taking that device and smashing it into a thousand pieces in front of that child, say her account was hacked.”

The police said the dispute with Rebecca began over a boy. The older girl was upset that Rebecca had once dated her boyfriend, they said.

“She began to harass and ultimately torment Rebecca,” said the sheriff, describing the 14-year-old as a girl with a long history of bullying behavior.

The police said the older girl began to turn Rebecca’s friends against her, including her former best friend, the 12-year-old who was charged. She told anyone who tried to befriend Rebecca that they also would be bullied, the affidavit said.

The bullying leapt into the virtual world, Sheriff Judd said, and Rebecca began receiving sordid messages instructing her to “go kill yourself.” The police said Rebecca’s mother was reluctant to take her cellphone away because she did not want to alienate her daughter and wanted her to be able to communicate with her friends. Ms. Norman tried, she has said, to monitor Rebecca’s cellphone activity.

In December, the bullying grew so intense that Rebecca began cutting herself and was sent to a hospital by her mother to receive psychiatric care. Ultimately, her mother pulled her out of Crystal Lake Middle School. She home schooled her for a while and then enrolled her in a new school in August.

But the bullying did not stop.

“As a child, I can remember sticks and stones can break your bones but words will never hurt you,” the sheriff said. “Today, words stick because they are printed and they are there forever.”

Some of the messages were sent using a variety of social media smartphone messaging and photo-sharing applications, including ask.fm and Kik Messenger, that parents have a difficult time keeping track of.

“Watch what your children do online,” Sheriff Judd said. “Pay attention. Quit being their best friend and be their best parent. That’s important.”

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Security Researcher Makes His Point By Hacking Into Zuckerberg’s Facebook Wall: No Bug Bounty?

A Palestinian security researcher gained unauthorized access, last week, to Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) page to prove the legitimacy of his bug report, after the social network giant’s security team ignored his previous reports on the vulnerability.

On Facebook, users are not permitted to share or post anything on the profile pages of people that are not on one’s friends list. But, the security expert, who goes by the name of Khalil Shreateh, discovered a bug that allowed an intruder to post on anyone’s Facebook “Wall,” even without being that person’s “Friend” on the social networking site.

In an initial bug report to Facebook, Shreateh tried to demonstrate the vulnerability by sharing a link on the wall of Sarah Goodin, who is a college friend of the Facebook founder. A member of the Facebook’s online security team, who was not on Goodin’s friends list, clicked on Shreateh’s link but could not view his post as Goodin’s wall was set to be visible to her friends only.

Shreateh sent another bug report, explaining that anyone inspecting the vulnerability on Goodin’s wall needed to be her friend, or would have to use administrative access to view the post. However, the Facebook security official responded to Shreateh saying what he had pointed out was not a bug.

However, Shreateh, convinced of the bug he had discovered and to prove the legitimacy of his discovery, decided to take it to the next level by posting on Zuckerberg’s own profile page.

On Thursday, a note from Shreateh was visible on Zuckerberg’s timeline, saying: “Sorry for breaking your privacy to your wall,” it read, “i no other choice to make after all the reports I sent to Facebook team.”

As Shreateh expected, this generated a reaction from Facebook, leading the company to fix the flaw.

According to Facebook’s whitehat exploit disclosure program, Shreateh could qualify for a reward of at least $500 as the discoverer of a bug on the site. But, Shreateh might be disqualified from receiving the bug bounty, Facebook said.

According to Facebook’s bug disclosure policy, a security researcher should use test accounts, rather than real accounts of Facebook users, to work on the site’s vulnerabilities and bug reports. Shreateh, according to the company, violated this rule by accessing Goodin’s and Zuckerberg’s profiles.

“We are unfortunately not able to pay you for this vulnerability because your actions violated our Terms of Service. We do hope, however, that you continue to work with us to find vulnerabilities in the site,” TechCrunch quoted Facebook as saying.

Facebook said also that Shreateh’s bug report did not have enough technical information to convince its in-house security experts. In addition, the company receives hundreds of bug reports on a daily basis, it added, making it difficult for the company’s security team to separate the genuine reports from the fake ones.

However, Matt Jones, one of Facebook’s engineers on the security team, admitted in an online forum, Hacker News, that the social network did not follow up with Shreateh properly. “We should have pushed back asking for more details here,” he wrote.

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