Sondra Arquiett is suing the federal government for creating a Facebook page in her name and likeness. She claims that this page violates her constitutional rights and the Federal Tort Claims Act. According to Arquiett, the government used this page to communicate with criminal suspects.
Arquiett initially came to the attention of law enforcement during their investigation of a drug ring. Arquiett ultimately pled guilty to distribution of illegal narcotics. The trial judge handling the case determined that Arquiett was a bit player thus he sentenced her to six months of weekend incarceration, six months of home detention and probation. While Arquiett was awaiting sentencing, the government set up the Facebook page. Arquiett discovered the Facebook page after her friends contacted her about some of the more risque pictures being posted on the page.
The government claims that there is nothing improper with the Facebook page which contains photos of Arquiett, her young son, and niece. The government argues that by consenting to the search of her phone Arquiett consented to the government using the photos on the phone. This seems somewhat of a stretch to me.
I know that the government regularly creates fake online profiles. However, I did not know that they also impersonated real people. Of course, some will claim that this is no different from the police answering a suspect’s phone or responding to emails or texts on behalf of a suspect.
To read more about this case go here.