Apparently, the FBI is making extensive use of social media to catch suspected terrorists. Last week, the FBI released a criminal complaint against four individuals charged with conspiring to provide Material Support and Resources to Terrorists (18 USC 2339A). On page 15 of the complaint which is entitled DEFENDANTS’ SOCIAL MEDIA, the FBI goes in to great detail about the social media activity of the defendants to include how they “liked,” “shared,” and commented on or posted on each others Facebook page. The article below further discusses this issue.
Wes J. Gay. Note. Hands Off Twitter: Are NCAA Student-Athlete Social Media Bans Unconstitutional? 39 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 781 (2012)
Introduction: This Note will examine the recent social media bans and the constitutional issues they raise when public educational institutions restrict NCAA student-athletes from logging on and speaking out. This Note will contend that those bans that are not motivated by educational concerns are in fact unconstitutional restrictions on student-athletes’ free speech rights.
Professor David Cole has an interesting article in the Daily Beast in which he discusses whether Twitter has committed a crime by providing “material support” to Hamas in the form of a Twitter account. Apparently, a Pro-Israeli group has created a petition, on Twitter no less, urging its members and supporters to email Twitter demanding that it ban Hamas from Twitter accounts. The email also includes a “cc” to the local U.S. Attorney’s office.
In this article, Professor Cole points out that theoretically an individual could be prosecuted for providing a Twitter account to Hamas. This is because Hamas has been deemed a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the State Department. Thus, providing any material support to include a Twitter account to Hamas could run afoul of 18 USC 2339A. As pointed out by Professor Cole, who argued the seminal case in this area, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, this statute has been broadly interpreted by the Supreme Court. Although it is theoretically possible to criminally prosecute someone for providing Hamas a Twitter account, it appears highly unlikely due to the First Amendment ramifications.
Cory M. Daige. Note. Freedom of Speech in the Technological Age: Are Schools Regulating Social Media? 11 Conn. Pub. Int. L. J. 363 (2012)
The internet, perhaps once viewed as the newest fad in technology, has left its mark on history by revolutionizing nearly every aspect of our lives. Indeed, a world without cyberspace would be catastrophic to the global economy, educational institutions, and our personal lives. The internet is unquestionably a valuable tool, having the ability to influence our society considerably; however, with great power comes great responsibility. Unfortunately, when internet-related issues arise, technology often wins the race to the finish line-leaving the law in a far distant second; the result is often arbitrary and inconsistent pigeonholing of technology- related issues in laws not designed nor contemplated for such matters. And none is more demonstrative then recent student-speech, social networking cases-which are exacerbating the clash between freedom of speech and school regulation…
NBC News.com: NYPD is watching Facebook to fight gang bloodshed
North County Times: Homeland Security office OKs efforts to monitor social media
Patrick Marshall. Note. What You Say on Facebook May Be Used Against You in a Court of Family Law: Analysis of the this New Form of Electronic Evidence and Why It Should Be on a Every Matrimonial Attorney’s Radar, 63 Ala. L. Rev. 1115 (2012).
The article below highlights the different roles social media is playing in the murder trial of George Zimmerman who is accused of killing Trayvon Martin. To date, counsel for George Zimmerman, Mark O’Mara has created a blog to get his client’s message out to the public. In addition, Mr. O’Mara has subpoenaed the social media accounts of Trayvon Martin. However, as noted by the article, Mr. O’Mara may run into some issues with getting Mr. Martin’s social media information admitted into evidence. Specifically, he may have problems with authenticating the evidence.