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Police Officer Forced to Resign Over Old MySpace Pics

This February, Abigail Keller -- a 27-year-old, full-time reserve officer on Altoona, Iowa's police force -- resigned over controversy surrounding questionable pictures posted to her MySpace account. Keller was in her fifth month of reserve duty, the Des Moines Register reported today, when a local businessman showed print-outs of the page to a city officer.

Police Chief John Gray, testifying at Keller's recent hearing for unemployment benefits, said: "In one photograph, she is displaying her naked buttocks or mooning the person who is taking the picture. In another, she is performing simulated sex acts on both males and females." In response, Keller said that the mooning picture was taken down before she was hired, and that the "simulated sex acts" constituted her making "kissy faces" and sticking her tongue out with a group of girls at a bar.

Arguing that she thought her profile was not publicly viewable, Keller did wind up receiving the unemployment benefits. Gray believed the most troubling aspect of the photos to be Keller's being shown in her uniform, testifying that "she was associating her conduct with the police department."

Facebook or MySpace?
Facebook55713 (66.8%)
MySpace20238 (24.3%)
I'm not sure.7433 (8.9%)


Again and again, Facebook and MySpace have proven that public servants need to be extra careful about what they post. But, at the same time, it appears Keller was just being a 27-year-old gal. She isn't calling the police chief a serial masturbator, or seriously breaking moral and ethical code. She just made a bad call. [From: Des Moines Register]

Facebook Crime and Punishment

    Blackmail
    Sending any personal info or incriminating pictures to someone on Facebook is a huge mistake for many reasons. One of the worst possible outcomes is getting blackmailed for money, sex, or, well, anything these sickos dream up. Really, whether they're using a fake profile or not, it's a horrible idea. Read up on the story of an 18-year-old who blackmailed 31 male classmates after he posed as a girl and asked for nude pictures. That's lesson enough.

    Impostors
    Sure, it can be harmless to impersonate a celeb online or create a fake profile for a movie character. But seriously, there's a definite line you shouldn't cross when pretending to be someone else and it can lead to dire consequences for you. Maybe it's not as extreme as the Moroccan man who was jailed for 43 days after creating a fake Facebook profile of a prince, but you never know. Just steer clear of it.

    Self-Incrimination
    Do we really have to explain this? Just look up the shoplifter who posed with her stolen merchandise, the many photos of drunk underage teens, and, most recently, the album featuring a couple who killed and ate an endangered iguana in the Bahamas.

    Suicide
    Social networking sites has been blamed for a lot of things, fairly and unfairly, but in our opinion, the worst offense has been their indirect involvement in suicides. Obviously, there are a lot of factors responsible in each case, but there does seem to be links between social networking and a rash of suicides, and obviously tehre's the case tragic of Megan Meier, who killed herself after a classmate's mom impersonated a teen boy and harassed her over Myspace.

    Murder
    We've reported on numerous incidents of people getting in trouble because of their online behavior. Now, people are becoming victims because of what they're doing on the Web too. In England, a man was convicted of murdering his estranged wife after she changed her relationship status to "single." So, be careful of who can see your profile and what you're doing, no matter how harmless it seems.

    Nigerian Scammers
    Oh, you thought this only happened via poorly worded emails, right? WRONG. Once people got wise to their old ways, these con men are turning to social networking sites for new targets. This time, they're hacking into people's accounts and impersonating them to ask for money, usually with some weird sob story. You can check out a transcript of one of these conversations here.

    Cooperation
    Even if the law isn't on a case, a victim, his friends, or empathetic strangers might be. Since it's easy to get word out for anything online, people are using blogs, forums, and social networking sites to help track down criminals. In one such case, a vehicle thief was tracked down by a bunch of anonymous car enthusiasts after the victim posted his story on a forum. In the end, they identified the guy through his Facebook profile.

    Self-Incrimination
    Do we really have to explain this? Just look up the shoplifter who posed with her stolen merchandise, the many photos of drunk underage teens, and, most recently, the album featuring a couple who killed and ate an endangered iguana in the Bahamas.

Tags: employment, facebook, myspace, police, privacy, social networking, SocialNetworking, top, unemployment

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