The popularity of social networking system Facebook has been put to use to benefit the whole community (rather than just used for stalking ex-partners), by the New Zealand police force.
A burgler in a local establishment was overheating in the small room which held the safe, so he took his mask off. When the surveillance cameras captured an image of his face, the police turned to Facebook:
“The offender was identified after a movie and images of him were displayed on Facebook. He was identified from members of the public viewing him on Facebook and also seeing him on TV after the Facebook images were displayed on the news,”
Although it will be unlikely to replace the Dark Knight any time soon, the use of the online community to catch a thief raises an interesting question: where does online privacy begin/end? Although the argument could be made that in this instance it was for the greater good, couldn’t an individual argue that removing photos of themselves in leopard print underwear was for the greater good? Google has been improving their algorithm to index more pages, so perhaps what was once online obscurity will now be in the vision of anyone searching for information about you.
For more information about the New Zealand police Facebook tracking, please look here