This is all kinds of wrong.
Sondra Arniquett (no idea why her name is spelled two different ways) is suing Drug Enforcement Administration agent Timothy Sinnigen, claiming that after an arrest in 2010, he used pictures and other personal information lifted from her seized cell phone to make a fake Facebook profile in the hopes that it would help him catch other offenders.
Actually, my use of the words “claiming that” isn’t quite accurate. The government totally admits to doing this, which should scare everybody. Even worse, they think that what would probably amount to identity theft charges for the rest of us is just peachy, because law enforcement.
In a court filing, a U.S. attorney acknowledges that, unbeknownst to Arquiett, Sinnigen created the fake Facebook account, posed as her, posted photos, sent a friend request to a fugitive, accepted other friend requests, and used the account “for a legitimate law enforcement purpose.”
The U.S. Attorney defending Sinnigen claims that the agent’s actions were OK: while Arquiett did not give “express permission” for Sinnigen to use the photos, it is argued, she “implicitly consented by granting access to the information stored in her cell phone and by consenting to the use of that information to aid in an ongoing criminal investigations.”
Um, no. That’s kind of like saying that if I give the police permission to search my house once because a suspected criminal stayed with me for a while, they then have the right to move in and assume my identity because they think he might come back sometime. That’s fucking absurd.
Astonishingly, four years later, the fake profile is still up. One photo, of Arniquett “wearing either a two-piece bathing suit or a bra and underwear,” was at some point pulled down—Sinnigen’s government lawyer argues that the photo was not sexually suggestive—but the picture of her young son and niece remains.
Oh, and she’s not even on the probation from her original sentence anymore. that was terminated in March.
This, in case it somehow isn’t obvious, is why we need encryption. Who else is going to protect us from our protectors?