Requests for removal of unmarked police car page refused by Facebook

Facebook refuses to remove page with unmarked Australian police cars

Facebook has denied a request by Australian police to shut down a page which displays photographs and locations of unmarked police cars.

By Jonathan Pearlman, Sydney
10:43AM BST 22 Oct 2012

Police say the site, which includes number plates and whereabouts of unmarked cars across the state of Victoria, is being used by drug gangs and underworld figures. The site was set up on September 1 and already has more than 25,000 followers.

Facebook reportedly denied a request by Victoria Police to remove the site, saying it was unable to prevent people displaying photos taken in public.

Victoria’s police force said it believed the site will ruin covert operations and could endanger lives.

“We are aware of the Facebook page which shows unmarked police cars and will continue to monitor it,” said a statement by the police.

The body that represents the state’s police officers said Facebook should be held criminally liable for the content.

“This website is extremely irresponsible and could well jeopardise covert work as well as the safety of the people involved in the undercover operation,” Greg Davies, from the Police Association, told the Herald Sun.

“It is effectively giving bikie gangs, serious drug traffickers and every crook with a computer access to a database of covert action on an everyday basis… [Victoria Police] should be making the strongest possible recommendations to Facebook to take this site down and, if it doesn’t, to explore criminal offences associated with this intelligence gathering exercise for law-breakers.”

Facebook recently agreed to a separate request by Australian police to remove pages which incited hatred and violence against a man accused of raping and murdering an Irish-born ABC Radio employee, Jill Meagher. Lawyers warned the material could threaten the man’s right to a fair trial and make it harder to ensure a successful prosecution.

The California-based company reportedly did not return calls for comment.

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