It’s time to modernize the lyrics to some old Beatles songs. The University of Colorado police are using a website to post surveillance photos of students and other individuals it wants to identify for smoking pot on Farrand Field. Apparently, there’s a tradition at the University of Colorado for students to spoke pot on Farrand Field on April 20th of each year. According to the Rocky Mountain News:
University of Colorado police have posted pictures of 150 people on a website smoking pot on the “420” day celebration last week and are offering a $50 reward for anyone who can identify them.
Police spokesman Lt. Tim McGraw said they received more than 50 calls within the first hours of posting the pictures online Thursday afternoon. He said police were in the process of confirming the tips today.
According to the website:
The University is offering a reward for the identification of any of the individuals pictured below. After reviewing the photos (click on a photo for a larger image), you may claim the reward by following the directions below:
1. Contact the UCPD Operations section at (303) 492-8168
2. Provide the photo number and as much information as you have about the individual.
3. Provide your name and contact information.
4. If the identity is verified to be correct, you will be paid a $50 reward for every person identified.
5. The reward will be paid to the first caller who identifies a person below, multiple rewards will not be paid for individuals listed below.
Is this just good police work? After all, if a person is caught on camera doing a wrongful act, the police can certainly go around and ask people to identify that person. What’s wrong with doing it via a website? One problem is that the website disseminates permanent images of people smoking pot on the Internet. It forever memorializes a person’s youthful infractions to the world. Is such a police investigation tactic problematic or just efficient?
Hat tip: Michael Zimmer
Originally Posted at Concurring Opinions
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This post was authored by Professor Daniel J. Solove, who through TeachPrivacy develops computer-based privacy training, data security training, HIPAA training, and many other forms of awareness training on privacy and security topics. Professor Solove also posts at his blog at LinkedIn. His blog has more than 1 million followers.