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Department of Justice settles over fake Facebook profile lawsuit

By Jessie McMullen     Jan 21, 2015 in Internet
The Justice Department reached a $134,000 settlement with a New York woman after the Drug Enforcement Administration used her information to set up a fake Facebook profile to track other suspects.
According to federal court documents filed Tuesday, the DEA used information from the woman's cellphone, which they seized after a drug bust in 2010, to create a Facebook profile in hopes to catch other suspects involved with the woman.
The DEA created a fake Facebook profile in the woman's name and used personal, suggestive pictures of the woman.
The woman, Sondra Arquiett, who went by the name of Sondra Prince, was sentenced to probation and six months of home confinement when her phone was taken by authorities. Arquiett sued after she found out about the counterfeit profile and it has since been deleted.
The Facebook account was maintained for three months and the government admitted no wrongdoing, stating that the account was used for “legitimate law enforcement purposes.”
In October, the Justice Department decided to review whether the scheme had went to far and decided to settle with Arquiett.
"This settlement demonstrates that the government is mindful of its obligation to ensure the rights of third parties are not infringed upon in the course of its efforts to bring those who commit federal crimes to justice," said Richard Hartunian, US attorney for the northern district of New York. "[It] also takes into account emerging personal privacy concerns in the age of social media, and represents a fair resolution of plaintiff's claims."
The settlement does not completely prevent the DEA from using certain undercover strategies in the future.
More about Dea, Facebook, Justice department, New york, fake facebook user
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