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Australian Police Ask Facebook For Police Alarm Button 237

Posted by timothy
from the assisted-living-facility dept.
littlekorea writes "The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has requested social networking site Facebook install a law enforcement representative in Australia and introduce some sort of button in which users can immediately report online crime to the police in a single click. It is National Cyber-Security Awareness Week in Australia, so the AFP is on an all-out offensive — announcing it is also investigating whether Google committed offences under Australia's Telecommunications Interception Act when it harvested Wi-Fi data." Something like this has been in the works for a while.
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Australian Police Ask Facebook For Police Alarm Button

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  • australia? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Whats up with australia? its a development country yet seems to go crazy with censorship and crazy laws

    • Re:australia? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:12PM (#32478458) Homepage Journal

      They want to 'develop' into a fascist state off the bad and skip that whole messy democracy stuff

      • Re:australia? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ob0101011101 (590919) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @07:46PM (#32479108)

        They want to 'develop' into a fascist state off the bad and skip that whole messy democracy stuff

        It's true. The AFP also wanted a few other Facecook buttons: "Are my Papers OK?" and "Turn in My Parents". The real problems started in Australian politics when the christian fundys managed to get a guy into parliament. I guess they think they have the moral high-ground; when really they're just a bunch of arse-clowns, pushing their beliefs. So much for separation of church and state. *sigh*

        • by Okonomiyaki (662220) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @08:25PM (#32479368) Homepage

          They got 'a guy' into parliament? 'A' guy? One? Let me tell you about the USA...

        • Re:australia? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TapeCutter (624760) * on Sunday June 06, 2010 @08:55PM (#32479546) Journal
          "So much for separation of church and state."

          I think you're conflating Oz with Kansas, Oz is not part of the the US (yet). Our (cerimonial) head of state is the Queen and she is also the head of the church of England.

          "The real problems started in Australian politics when the christian fundys managed to get a guy into parliament."

          We have always had token fundies in both state and federal parliments, democracy is not an excuse to silence well organised nutters.

          As for TFA; Try keeping it in perspective. Asking for a "snitch button" on facebook is no different to asking a TV station to put a "neighborhood watch" ad on TV.
        • by pla (258480)
          It's true. The AFP also wanted a few other Facecook buttons: "Are my Papers OK?" and "Turn in My Parents".

          Joking aside, in this specific situation, I say "give them exactly what they asked for" - A button at the top of every facebook page that reports something directly to the police. The more it reports, the better.

          And when, a week later, the police beg to stop having their inbox flooded with useless complaints about every troll and mean comment posted around the world, then Facebook can take their t
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pookemon (909195)
      Which crazy "laws" does this /. article refer too? The "Report crime through a button" law? No - wait - the "Google may have broken a law" law. Having the ability to report crime simply through facebook is not a law - and it's simply an extension to dialing a number or visiting a police station to report a crime.

      As for google - they have deliberately been sniffing WAP's - and the extent of that means that they may have been breaking a law which has existed for a very long time in Aus.

      So get off your
      • Re:australia? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Sunday June 06, 2010 @10:11PM (#32479890)

        The police are only ~asking~ - Facebook can say no - and really, given how long the AFP have been banging away at this, it appears as if many are actually saying no. Now the AFP is acting like a big frigging baby, going to the press because "facebook wont do what we tell them, so we're going to make them look like they don't want to save the children"

        I can't really figure out why it's the AFP pushing this - I would imagine there is a tad more to the story than just reporting crime, probably someone wants to figure out the guilt trail of association via friend links. Who knows.

  • Online Identity (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:11PM (#32478448)
    With the use of facebook, many online identities have been progressing towards being just as anonymous as a citizen walking down the street. The fact that other sites can link to your signed-in profile is almost like walking around a mall with your ID card taped to your forehead.

    "Police buttons" like this will only work when the identity of the user is known, sort of like how 911 works...

    I for one don't particularly like this trend, and much prefer to remain anonymous on the web.

    In other words: donotwant
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:11PM (#32478452)

    won't get flagrantly misused

    • by MrKaos (858439)
      Thats alarming.
    • One click? (Score:5, Funny)

      by msauve (701917) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:33PM (#32478630)

      button in which users can immediately report online crime to the police in a single click.

      Doesn't Jeff Bezos have a patent on that?

    • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:35PM (#32478644)

      Indeed, now whenever people say things like "well, that's just criminal!", i'll feel obligated to press the button.

      Actually I feel obligated to press it anyway, because it's stupid, but i'll be looking for excuses.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2010 @07:23PM (#32478964)

      Misused? It's the "correct" usage that is the problem...

      They (The governments, cops, the man, whatever) keep trying to lower the treshold of reporting a crime. In theory, this is a good thing: If a crime is committed against me, I might already be upset etc. and should not be forced to jump through additional hoops. However, reporting a crime is notable thing that should be carefully considered. I am not some right wing nutjob who thinks that government should never interfere and whatnot but if someone is harassing you online, you really should think carefully if there is some better way to deal with the situation than involve the cops and the justice system with all its weight! When we aren't talking about crimes that put you or someone you know in immediate danger (in which case you generally should call 911 or its equivalent, not use some online system that isn't designed for that fast response) I think that it is actually better if you are required to visit a police station, call it or at the very minium send a goddam e-mail! If the crime is so insignifcant that you can't be bothered to send an e-mail to report it, perhaps you shouldn't report it!

      Think about how people use Facebook. People use it after all the major events in life (break ups, etc.), during night when they are sleep deprived, after they haven consumed alcohol... And when only communicating with text there are plenty of possibilities for misunderstanding the other party (something that was meant as a joke can be misinterpreted and so on)... We really don't need effortless one-click-crime-reporting in that enviroment.

    • by cgenman (325138)

      Anyone who thinks this can be manned by "a" law enforcement officer has no idea what they're talking about.

      On a side note, why just Facebook? I come across obvious criminals on Craigslist every day, but reporting that is basically impossible. Why single out Facebook?

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      So what, if someone pushes the "criminal!" button, AU PD get full access to both your FB profile and the accuser's as well? No thanks.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'll see if I can come up with a Rossetta Stone that will enable one to translate between all four schools during my Psychology Dissertation. I'll start applying to some of the top schools after I ask the taxpayers of San Jose, California to spring for the taxi fare so a couple of San Jose's Finest can give me a lift to the Napa State psychiatric hospital in California's Napa Valley.

    I. Abstract

    Crawfordian Psychoanalysis is derived from the following books as well as my life experience over the last twen

    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:19PM (#32478514)

      I AM NOT A KOOK!

      Of course not. Why would anyone think you were a kook for posting over 4,400 words about some completely sane subject matter on Slashdot? I can't wait for the sequel: "More Shit No-one Cares About" and the eventual prequel: "Hey, Guess What I'm Thinking Right Now?"

      If this was Facebook I'd be clicking that big red Australian 'Report An Online Crime' button right now to report you stealing minutes of my life.

  • by sethstorm (512897) * on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:12PM (#32478464) Homepage


    "The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has requested social networking site Facebook install a law enforcement representative in Australia and introduce some sort of button in which users can immediately report online crime

    Would they be specifying that it take on the form of an amber lamp? Would seem logical given the rest of Australia's wtf'ery.

  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:13PM (#32478466)
    "Hello, police? I want to report an online crime! Facebook is telling everyone in the world everything about me! It's not fair!! What's my name? You can check me out at www.facebook.com/EveryFacebookUser ..."
  • ... and then (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I am certain that as soon as this is implemented, some guy or groups of guys will abuse this for all its worth. Whether it be for political reason, activicism of anything else. This will be like a DDOS on the poor guy who will be in change of checking these things, it will be a waste of money.

  • Does Amazon know about his?

    Putting a single click police call on Facebook? Can you imagine all the false alarms - whether by accident or on purpose? Is Australia going to prosecute false alarms?

    I think some folks really need to put the Foster's down.

    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:21PM (#32478534)

      Does Amazon know about his?

      It only violates Amazon's patent if you order an online crime with one click, not report one.

    • Does Amazon know about his?

      I'd nod in agreement but unfortunately I'd be violating Bezos' latest patent application [slashdot.org].

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Not sure what they are wanting, log every reported ip and connect them to a user via an isp?
      Note the stated age of the person doing the reporting in a follow up confidential email/chat/phonecall.
      Then wait for for the same name to show up again and again.
      Log the suspects internet traffic and see what they are downloading.
      This would be a great way to generate discovery without having a police officer in a chat/forum trying to build up a legend over months and years.
  • Why Facebook? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Dreamshaper (696630) <lord_dreamshaper&yahoo,ca> on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:16PM (#32478488)
    20 ga-jillion websites in the world, why should facebook and a select few others bear the burden? Australian police want a "report crime" button on a website, put it on their own...you know, where I'd look for one...if i was looking in the first place...whatever the aussie equivalent of dialling 911 is still going to be faster than typing a report into a website...which, in the unlikely event it actually worked, would instantly generate a phone call from the police to the submitter anyway...

    can't see the website button getting abused in any way, no siree...
    • Re:Why Facebook? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lord Dreamshaper (696630) <lord_dreamshaper&yahoo,ca> on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:20PM (#32478526)
      Hate to reply to my own comment but...

      now picture this argument being brought to the US where the FBI gets a button, each of the 50 states gets a button, every county, town, city PD gets a button, etc. etc....the internet would collapse under the weight of all the buttons, none of which would ever get used for a useful purpose...
      • What a great idea! I'm gonna go register ButtonsToReportEverything.com right now. I'm gonna be a gazillionaire!
      • That sounds like the case already with many pages that have dozens of buttons to "share" the web page via dozens of social networking sites. Heaven forbid it's one of those mouse over things where it exposes a pop-open panel festooned with social media buttons, usually covering up something that I wanted to read.

        The people that want this button either are doing it for the attention, or haven't thought it through. If someone has reason to believe a crime is happening, they can place a phone call with the l

        • The problem with those popups is that you usually have to scroll BACK over the button in order to get the damn box to hide again.
      • by PitaBred (632671)

        Oh yes! Just like the 911 system, where you have a different number to call for every emergency!

    • can't see the website button getting abused in any way, no siree...

      As opposed to a 3-digit telephone number?

  • by Unoti (731964)
    Hurry, let's patent this idea. One-click-Narc.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:19PM (#32478518) Homepage Journal

    I have one, but admittedly it requires 3 keypresses not one click.

    It's called a cell phone. "9" "1" "1" "Talk"

    It works quite well for reporting both online and offline crime.

  • by KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:20PM (#32478524)

    What type of crimes to they believe happen (often) on Facebook? And whatever other websites they might have contacted.

    I don't see how this would result in anything but meaningless spamming of that "button".

    • by BitterOak (537666)

      What type of crimes to they believe happen (often) on Facebook?

      Privacy violations!

    • by Entropius (188861)

      I don't see how this would result in anything but meaningless spamming of that "button".

      It's like giving /b/ a direct line to the cops. They'll figure out that you can use this to partyvan a partyvan driver, and will keep doing it for the lulz.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      It wont matter what crime. just beacuse they are in a bad mood they will hit the button. "they called me names, go search their home and toss them in jail"

      I wonder if the big red button will allow searches and seizures and jail without anything to back it up.

      • "I wonder if the big red button will allow searches and seizures and jail without anything to back it up."

        They are not throwing out a millenia of common law, nor are they dismantling the westminster system, they are asking facebook to install a convinient link to the cops, end of story.
    • I don't see how this would result in anything but meaningless spamming of that "button".

      Meaningless? No, it could probably be used for quite meaningful harassment of someone you don't like. Maybe even someone you barely know.

      It'd be like Slashdot moderation, except instead of "-1, I don't like what you're saying," it'd be "-1, I'd like to give the police the pretext to access your accounts and search your house."

      Unless, of course, there's a different set of rules for investigations triggered by this...

  • by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@justconnected . n et> on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:21PM (#32478538)

    And I did, but it was just for the UK.

    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=10/03/12/0149233 [slashdot.org]

    • by Turzyx (1462339)
      The proposal was rejected by Facebook [telegraph.co.uk] Instead, they said

      UK users under the age of 19 will now be able to click on the ‘Report abuse’ link on each page and have the option to report the abuse directly to CEOP as well as to Facebook employees.

      There is are lot of knee-jerk reactions in politics when tragedies such as this [bbc.co.uk] happen. Even more so when the currently uncensored UK internet (and incompetent parents) grant unfettered internet access to children who should really know better but don't.

      Fortunately, that was the last government's reaction. When a gunman in Cumbria went on a killing spree recently, the current PM rejected immediate calls for heavier restrictions on gun ownership [bbc.co.uk]. I'm

  • If only there was a "indict for crimes against humanity" button next to every site that has some sort of facebook like/link bullshit.

    When I see banners on brick and mortar stores asking "Are we facebook friends yet?" I die inside a little bit. When I see newscasts saying to "check our facebook", i get nauseous.

  • by raddan (519638) * on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:26PM (#32478580)
    did Australia run out of beer or something? Why are they all up in each other's shit lately?

    I knew that Australia has had a neoconservative movement somewhat like here in the U.S., but they seem to have taken the GWB concept and really run with it. Any Aussies care to inform us Merkins wtf is going on?
    • by QuantumG (50515) *

      Uhhhh.. the religious right wanna take away our porn.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Thing 1 (178996)
        You don't need porn, just a heart bio-feedback monitor, for a short period of training. After a little practice, you'll be able to increase your heart rate by thinking about it, and then some things just magically happen. (It also helps to visualize the opening of certain valves. I'm totally serious.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TapeCutter (624760) *
      "Any Aussies care to inform us Merkins wtf is going on?"

      We threw out the neocons and installed some neo-socialists. Our politicians can still safely walk the streets without a small army escorting them and that's not going to change unless they do something that really screws with our lives (such as running out of beer).
  • Patent one-click douchebaggery. Save us all.

  • by OrwellianLurker (1739950) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:36PM (#32478648)
    We're going to report some crimes.
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:39PM (#32478680) Homepage
    You used to be cool, dude. You used to be out partying all night, thumbing your nose at the Man, man. What happened? It's like you just woke up as a geezer. What's next, bro? The Anti Hippity Hop Music Played Too Loud By Those Kids On My Lawn Act 2010?
    • We were too busy out partying all night, thumbing our nose at the Man to elect decent (so far as the word can apply) politicians?

      • That and the compulsory voting + preference distribution system of elections means that governments effectively change on the back of "marginal" seats, almost all in the suburban belts of the major cities where the votes of "concerned parents" is buyable with a few tax kickbacks (Family Payment Part A and B anyone? No not you, you degenerate working single young male) and a show of concern for the degeneration of society.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by indiechild (541156)

      Australia has always been on the conservative side in culture, religion and politics, despite the national stereotype of being open and fun-loving. In that sense, we've got a lot in common with the US. I'll go so far to say that Australia is a real prude these days.

  • Here in the US we've got something similar, and I bet the Aussies do too.

    It's not on your computer, but it's on your phone, and has been for a while. You can pick up your phone and dial 911, and instantly get to talk to the police. You can use this to report crimes, ask for medical help, or even ask someone to come put out a fire! And this was /before/ the Internets, even.

    Why the hell should Facebook have to provide yet another way to get in touch with the cops?

  • maybe the state can come and put them in adult diapers and feed them from a nipple too

    reminds me of the uproar last week over some celebrity cunt using "rape" as a euphemism for privacy violation by paparazzi. oh, the insensitivity! we're degenerating into a bunch of wussified pansies with giant chips on our shoulders searching for something by which to be gravely offended.

  • Is it Lord Humongous? Time to call Mel Gibson!

  • AFP is like the FBI (Score:5, Informative)

    by DiSKiLLeR (17651) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @07:57PM (#32479180) Homepage Journal

    Just as a note,

    The AFP or Australian Federal Police is not just the 'Australian Police' like the title misleads you to believe. They are known as 'the feds' and would be most similar to what Americans know as the FBI. And then there's ASIO which is the Australian Security Intelligence Organiasation and is akin to the CIA and NSA.

    So yeah, the AFP ain't your local cop shop.

  • Brilliant idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    Pranksters would NEVER target such a mechanism to trigger a wave of false reports. Such shenanigans would never happen in this day and age.
  • It will just end up putting a bunch of fat-finger drunks behind bars for "inappropriate use of emergency infrastructure".

  • It seems to me that web users would be hitting this button a lot as the design of most webpages classifies as an "online crime."

  • I would do it. The amount of mis-use would almost have to convince the Police that this is a horrible idea.

    Troll the Trolls.

  • "No."

  • 1800 1234 00 (Score:2, Informative)

    This _is_ a country that has a toll-free snitch line to report 'suspicious activity', and frequent advertisements to remind everybody it exists -- "Be alert, but not alarmed..."

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