PROTESTORS TAKE STAND AGAINST SOCIAL DISCOVERY

By now many Facebook users have probably noticed some of their connections have been “checking in” to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

While I was aware that the reservation is currently the site of a stand off between police and activists against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, I still fell into the category of people who had to Google why some of my friends had decided to travel there this particular weekend.

The check-ins are designed to disrupt law enforcement’s ability to track down protestors using their geo-tags on social media.

Recently, Bloomberg BNA reported on the topic of how law enforcement and now attorneys are using social discovery tools to take advantage of geo-tagging as a part of investigations or discovery. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are among the social media apps that allow individuals to broadcast exactly where they are. This “geo-tagging” is useful in pinpointing the location of a crime or incident.

But if the target of these geo-tag searches are well aware they are being targeted, do those tools have an obvious weakness? The protest supporters seem to think so, as evidenced by their attempts to throw off the police online.

Maybe, what the internet giveth, it can taketh away…as long as tech-savvy individuals are playing along.