mafia

Italian cops use Facebook to snoop on mafia

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If Tony Soprano is looking for some anonymity, he might want to logout of Facebook.

Police in Italy are using Facebook to track and identify mobster’s criminal activity who are using the social networking site. Mafia members use it to send threats, purchase and sell drugs, and communicate with each other, according to Rome-based newsmagazine, L’Espresso.

Authorities are increasing their monitoring of social network sites because they provide a candid glimpse into how the groups operate and also highlight connections between criminals.

“For us it is an important tool," said Alessandro Giuliano, head of police in Milan, to L’Espresso. "It shows the interlinkages between people. The photographic material is also a starting point for investigations."

Criminals using Facebook and other sites indicates an evolution on how the mafia groups communicate. In the past, criminals used landline telephones, then moved to mobile phones. Now their preferred form of communication is the Internet.

"Facebook allows you to spread messages in a simple and direct way,” said Antonello Ardituro, a mafia prosecutor in Naples.

The report highlighted several examples of how the police used Facebook to nab criminals.

In one, a mafia boss was caught after he posted photos on his girlfriend’s Facebook page showing his location. In another, the police nabbed a suspected killer after tracing the IP address associated with his Facebook account.

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