CSI: Facebook (and Tumblr, Twitter, etc.)

Last Wednesday the city of Vancouver was subject to a double tragedy. The Canucks, in a second bid to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, lost game 7. Followed by riots.

I lived in Vancouver for five years and have a great affinity to the city and it’s friendly people. It’s a shame that few bad apples have tarred the image of the city that, last year, hosted the world in the biggest winter show on earth. I’d like to think that this wouldn’t have happened had Team Canada lost the gold medal game.

Fortunately,  I’m heartened by the way the city has gotten together to make amends both in the clean up and in bringing the perpetrators to justice. And I’m intrigued by the method in which they’ve done this.

The clean-up was self-organized through several Facebook Pages .

And catching the perpetrators? There’s a Tumblelog collecting riot pictures and shocking ‘confessions’ (and by confessions I mean idiots bragging about what they did) on Facebook and Twitter. There’s also a Facebook Page to do the same. Those who can identify the faces can email the police at robbery@vpd.ca .

So mob mentality has given way to crowdsourced crime fighting. The question I have is whether the criminal justice system is ready for this. I’m no lawyer but I’ve watched enough Law and Order to know that there of rules of evidence and admissibility, and due process. Are existing laws adequate to cover the evidence gathering activities of our crime fighting citizenry? Are there any technicalities we lay people haven’t thought of that defense lawyers might use to help their clients? I’m asking because I want the perpetrators to answer for their crimes and I don’t want our efforts turned against us. Would love to hear from any legal experts.

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1 comment so far

  1. Edmundo on

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