Judge says fake Instagram accounts are OK for collecting evidence

A New Jersey judge denied an accused jewel thief's request to throw out Instagram evidence.

 

Marisa Kabas

Crime

Published Dec 23, 2014   Updated May 29, 2021, 10:03 pm CDT

Bad news for criminals trying to perpetrate crimes through Instagram: A federal court judge in New Jersey has decided that it’s OK for law enforcement to create fake accounts in order to become “friends” with suspects.

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The decision came as a result of United States vs. Daniel Gatson, in which Gatson, accused of burgling over $3 million-worth of jewelry in a number of New Jersey neighborhoods, attempted to have evidence collected via Instagram thrown out.

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godmotherofjewelry/instagram

In his opinion, United States District Judge William Martini wrote, “No search warrant is required for the consensual sharing of this type of information. [Defendant Daniel] Gatson’s motion to suppress the evidence obtained through the undercover account will be denied.”

Back in October, the Justice Department announced they were looking into a complaint by a woman named Sondra Arquiett who was suspected of being connected to a drug ring and said the DEA had used her likeness to create a fake Facebook account. At the time, Facebook said it had, “taken all necessary steps to prevent further unauthorized use of Facebook by the DEA and its agents.”

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Instagram has yet to issue a statement regarding how it feels about criminal evidence being collected via their service. 

H/T Ars Technica | Illustration by Max Fleishman

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*First Published: Dec 23, 2014, 10:19 pm CST