United States District Judge William Martini denied a request to suppress evidence this week and in the process gave law enforcement agencies across the country the go-ahead to use social media more aggressively.
The suspect in the case, Daniel Gatson, and his attorneys argued that police did not have probable cause and did not obtain a search warrant prior to using photos in Gatson’s private Instagram account as evidence to arrest him.
However, Gatson had unknowingly accepted a friend request from an undercover officer.
The judge ruled that the sharing was consensual and thus would not be suppressed.
Facebook, who also owns Instagram, has told the media that they are “deeply troubled” that their users are basically consenting to a legal search of their information by accepting a friend request.
Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan even felt the need to write a letter to the DEA condemning the practice.
“The DEA’s deceptive actions… threaten the integrity of our community,” Facebook chief security officer Joe Sullivan wrote to DEA head Michele Leonhart. “Using Facebook to impersonate others abuses that trust and makes people feel less safe and secure when using our service.”