Politics

US Capitol Rioters Arrested Based On Data Handed Over By Facebook

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Social media companies are cooperating with law enforcement agencies by handing over data leading to the arrest of the MAGA rioters who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6.

The ‘digital dragnet’ involves investigators monitoring social media for posts and videos recorded by the rioters themselves – similar to what investigators did during the George Floyd protests over the summer.

As more indictments are being handed down against the Capitol rioters, tech companies are reportedly showing their willingness to hand over incriminating data, according to Huffington Post.

Jesus Rivera, one of the Trump supporters who has been charged, is one suspect who was indicted after Facebook turned over information to the FBI that purports to show him inside the Capitol crypt.

Rivera had recorded a five-minute video of himself among the rioters, but then disabled and deleted his Facebook.

‘That Facebook account has since been disabled or deleted however a Facebook index page, provided to the FBI in the return of a Federal Search Warrant, listed several identifiers that correspond with Rivera,’ an FBI special agent assigned to Rivera’s case wrote in the criminal complaint.

‘These identifiers include Rivera’s last name, first initials, three phone numbers attributed to Rivera in open source, the payment name ‘Jesus Rivera’ and a city of residence of Pensacola, Florida, which matches Rivera’s city of residence.’

Another MAGA rioter who was charged, 40-year-old Christopher Spencer, livestreamed videos to Facebook from inside the Capitol where he can be heard looking for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Those videos were provided to the FBI by Facebook ‘as part of a search warrant return.’

The criminal complaint against Spencer cites statements made by an informant, but it appears that law enforcement spoke to the informant after getting information from Facebook.

These two case filings suggest that Facebook, Google, and other tech and telecom firms may have in their possession information that could lead to the arrests of scores of other suspects.

The very act of stepping inside the US Capitol during the riot constitutes a crime, so data location taken by smartphone apps is all the incriminating evidence that law enforcement officials need to bring charges.

So far, more than 135 people have been charged with a litany of crimes in connection with the MAGA riot, including unlawful entry and disorderly conduct.

Federal investigators have received more than 200,000 tips, many of them digital evidence that likely includes social media content that puts the suspects at the location.

In almost all instances, law enforcement officials have… (Read more)

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