Police in Greater Manchester are using social networking site Facebook to raise awareness of unsolved crimes. The Greater Manchester Police updates application gives you news feeds about unsolved crimes and appeals for witnesses in other cases. If you do have information on one of the crimes, you send them a tip directly using the sinisterly named ‘Submit Intelligence’ button.
It also has a neat little YouTube section, but be warned, it makes for some pretty bleak viewing at ten past eight on a Monday morning.
Although it’s probably not the first time Facebook has been involved in crime fighting, the GMP Application stands out for being the first law enforcement based Facebook tool. Internet opinion is split on whether this is a excellent example of the police modernising to reach more people and keep us safer, or whether it’s just a new way of invading your privacy.
My ears of course perked up when it came to the question of how much data is and could be made accessible to the police by simply installing this application. Checking the box marked ‘Allow this application to know who I am and access my information’ was the first conceptual hurdle to overcome, but then I’m not really worried that any of my Facebook information is particularly noteworthy or indeed accurate in the long, long time since I bothered checking it.
However, according to one blogger, the application isn’t just limited to accessing all your information. Because it can effectively see everything that you can see, it gives the application owner a pretty good idea of what all your friends are doing too. Suddenly it all becomes a little more sinister.
I loathe the concept of ‘If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about’ which is load of shit dreamed up by some really deluded fascists. But at least in this instance if you do have something to hide, you don’t need to add the application and you don’t have to make all your information publically available to those that do. Just be warned that internet privacy should not be taken for granted.
So, sorry to all my criminal friends – I did just add the GMP application to see what it’s all about. Guess you’ve all learned a valuable lessons about organising your nefarious activities using an internet social networking site. Some criminals you are, you numpties.
GMP Application (via PCAdvisor)