Facebook to DEA: Real-Name Policy Applies to Law-Enforcement Agencies, Too

Facebook admonished the Drug Enforcement Administration for violating its terms of service by creating a fake profile as part of an undercover investigation.

DEABadge650Facebook admonished the Drug Enforcement Administration for violating its terms of service by creating a fake profile as part of an undercover investigation.

The Hill reported that Facebook chief security officer Joe Sullivan said in an email to DEA administrator Michele Leonhart:

Facebook is a community where people come to share and interact using their authentic identities. The DEA’s deceptive actions violate the terms and policies that govern the use of the Facebook service and undermine trust in the Facebook community.

He added, as reported by Fox News:

Facebook has long made clear that law-enforcement authorities are subject to these policies. We regard the DEA’s conduct to be a knowing and serious breach of Facebook’s terms and policies.

BuzzFeed reported earlier this month that the DEA established a Facebook profile under the name Sondra Prince (who is now Sondra Arquiett), using images that were taken from the actual Sondra Arquiett’s cellular phone when she was arrested on drug charges in 2010.

According to BuzzFeed, the account — established by DEA agent Timothy Sinnigen — was then used to connect with other Facebook users that were the targets of an undercover investigation. When Arquiett learned of the account, she filed suit against the DEA for violating her privacy and putting her in danger.

The DEA’s response was that Arquiett had “implicitly” consented to this activity by giving the agency access to information on her phone and saying it could be used in an investigation, according to The Hill.

Fox News reported that Arquiett’s case against the DEA had been scheduled to go to trial this week, but it has been sent to mediation, according to court records.

Readers: What did you think of Facebook’s response to the DEA?