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©1999 - 2005
Edward D. Reuss
All rights reserved. Including the right of reproduction in whole or part in any form

 

                        
NY COP NEWSLETTER


WEB SITES ENDANGERING OUR  POLICE OFFICERS AND THEIR FAMILIES?


I have been receiving alarming E-mails from various members regarding the posting of personal information of members of the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies on the Internet. 

I visited some of those sites and verified that home addresses, phone numbers, assignments, and off-duty activities of various members of the NYPD of all ranks have been posted online. 

I do not want to publicize the Internet domain addresses of the sites because in doing so, I would provide those sites with free publicity and many “hits” from users of NY Cop Online Magazine www.nycop.com

That being said, why do I say that this is “alarming”? First, the posting of such personal data about our cops on the Internet is an invasion of their right to privacy and a danger to the personal safety of themselves and their families.  Second, it is an obvious security threat to the greater community.

The Internet can be accessed by terrorists and criminals, both domestic and foreign. Web sites that post the personal information of members of the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies in these United States of America cannot be ignorant of this threat to our national security. 

I should also say that I have traced the hosting of the web site to a location not within the USA. The provider is a large worldwide provider of many web sites. This is the Corporate Profile of that site:  “...a leading provider of Internet services to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Web Hosting companies on a global basis.”

 The Chief Executive Officer of the server may not be aware of the nature of the information being posted on the web site.  We can grant that CEO the benefit of the doubt at this point in time.  However, I must ask this question:  If the law enforcement officers of the country that this Internet provider/server is located had their personal information posted on the World Wide Web, would the police agencies tolerate it? Do all nations have a Freedom of Information Law and Privacy Act such as here in the United States?   Would other nations tolerate such flagrant violations of the privacy of their police? If not, why do they permit Internet providers within their jurisdictions to do so?

I did a little more checking on this “global” provider and found that actual location of the web site may be located on an offshore location in a friendly nation that would disappoint us as Americans.

So we have a number of factors in this scenario. The first is the large provider, the second is the host of the web site. What about the third?  How does the web host get the information about the members of the NYPD?  Who sends the information to the web site? How is the information being obtained? Who actually follows the cops and compiles the personal data on the members of the NYPD? 

Stay tuned for further information on this problem.

FOLLOW UP ON THIS PROBLEM

Read the Staten Island Advance article, Wednesday, March 10, 2004

http://www.silive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news/107892810147140.xml

Also read the NY Daily News Article by Michelle McPhee

http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/172109p-150116c.html


At least somebody seems to be aware of a “problem” with a web site that stalks cops. Give credit to the newly elected District Attorney Dan Donovan, City Councilman James Oddo and City Councilman Michael McMahon for voicing their concerns about this.

The Advance article cited above quotes from a PBA official who stated: “The site is counterproductive, but it’s one of the practices that are permitted in our free society.  We don’t like it, and we’ll do everything we can to prevent it from happening, but this is America”.

In this era of the War on Terror, if we don’t have a law in place to deal with this problem, then perhaps it is time to draw up legislation in this area of the law.

For the present, The Staten Island Advance and the NY Daily News should be credited with publicizing the identity of the person maintaining the web site.

MORE ON THIS:

US Congressmen Vito Fossella
will co-sponsor legislation to deal with this problem.  When the bill is introduced in Congress, we will track it through the legislative process in Washington D.C.


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