I know that Christmas is far away, but today I feel like making a wish to try to make a better world:

Dear criminals,

I want you to use social networks and publish there all your personal information.

Best regards,
Luis

Will they pay attention to me? Actually, some of them read my blog or follow me on Twitter, but I won’t be harbouring hopes… The good thing is that this is something that it’s already happening. I remember that time when the Italian police used Facebook to arrest a mafia fugitive.

Another recent case took place in Spain this year, having in Facebook its main character. It turned out that  some members of the ETA terrorist group could be arrested because the girlfriend of one of them was publishing updates in Facebook about where they were located… thanks lord, the true is that it’s quite comforting to have such stupid people within the terrorist groups 🙂

Some days ago, Simon Owens called my attention on an interview to John Walsh, from American’s Most Wanted, where he explained how the use of the Internet had helped him in tracking down all kind of criminals. You can watch the video here:

From the point of view of the police, the Internet, and more specifically Social Networks, can be a wonderful tool, both to receive citizens help and to offer information and help on a very straight way. Do you imagine if your local police station was in Twitter and could tell us if something relevant is happening in our neighborhood? This, that in some places could seem science-fiction, is already happening.

Many times we warn about social networks, not only about the use of those means to distribute malware, but about the personal information that we make public and that can be seen by people with whom we would not like to share that kind of details. Even though this is true, this cannot demonize Internet and the multiple choices that offers us, because as I have already explained here we have opportunities to build a better world.

All police forces have their own departments specialized in Internet and the fight against cybercrime, but what we have to accomplish is that the whole police departments use these tools, so they can improve the services they offer to the society and at the same time get more help from citizens in order to reduce the action area of the criminals.