Opinion: FBI is busy behind the scenes, claims Massena resident
To the Editor:
The Internet is helping the FBI fight crime. Perhaps those demanding no social media censorship and freedom of speech didn’t have that in mind. But if you’re free to post, the FBI is free to read and what you post can be used against you as evidence in criminal investigations.The “darknet” is the part of the Internet which can’t be accessed with the regular search engines that most of us use but requires specific software, configurations or authorizations. This is where illegal gun sales take place, extremist militant groups organize, conspiracy theorists dwell and illicit fraudulent activity is perpetuated.
As recently as November 11th, newspapers reported the story about a Utah man who paid $16,000 in Bitcoin cryptocurrency to arrange a murder-for-hire of two NY residents through the “darknet”. Luckily the man was arrested by the FBI.
Social media has aided the FBI in finding and charging 675 people who entered the Capitol building on Jan. 6th. The NPR.org article entitled “The Capitol Siege: the cases behind the biggest criminal investigation in US history” provides an interesting profile on each of these individuals who incriminated themselves by posting on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter accounts or with YouTube videos, text messaging and selfies.
The images of criminal acts recorded on social media and security cameras erode any claims of patriots simply exercising their constitutional rights. Tips flowed in from family members, co-workers and acquaintances leading to the arrests. The FBI then followed up by successfully accessing encrypted group message boards relating to the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Three Percenters and QAnon. Here they found further proof that these individuals had been organizing and discussing plans to go to DC and breach the Capitol.
I think increasingly we will see evidence obtained from personal social media accounts and “darknet” activity that provides the courts with a trail of motive, intent and documentation. It’s good to know that the FBI is busy monitoring the Internet to find people whose actions stretch beyond the parameters of their simplistic view that freedom has no ramifications or consequences attached.