Are the cops creeping your Facebook profile even though it’s set to private?

A new report by Westlaw says Facebook allows the police to get detailed access to users’ profiles in cases where they obtain a search warrant for the info. The rub? Facebook isn’t telling users when the cops come-a-knockin’.

The good news: most of the cases involved are under investigation by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (known as the DEA), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (aka ICE). So, it’s not like the police are asking for access to all private profiles all the time; they have to have a valid reason for wanting to look and have to get a warrant from a judge to do it. The bad news: one more reason to be careful about what you put on Facebook because apparently “private” doesn’t really mean private anymore. In some cases, if someone you know is the target of a search, their list of Facebook friends can also be fair game.

Read more about how law enforcement uses Facebook profiles to catch criminals on the Reuters News & Insight blog.

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The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free every other Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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