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More and more law enforcement agencies are turning to technology to help them fight crime. This includes using smartphone apps to reach out to the public. Currently 19 Missouri counties have their own crime-fighting application for smart phones. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office app has been downloaded more than 23,000 times.

In addition, many police departments across the country have developed a presence on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to boost their image, disseminate information and solicit tips from the public. For example, department's Twitter feeds may catalog arrests during a DWI crackdown. Or a law enforcement agency may post a crime scene photo of a criminal suspect on Facebook and ask the public for information.

These efforts have been praised by many and lauded as effective by law enforcement officials. They allow police to glean more evidence, get the word out quickly and keep the public informed about important safety concerns like Amber Alerts and stolen property.

However, this use of technology may also raise concerns among civil liberties advocates. Posting information about a criminal suspect on the Internet or via smartphone may be a violation of that person's rights to privacy and due process. A person's arrest record is not legally evidence that they did anything wrong but it can certainly affect the public's perception of that person, making it harder for them to get a fair shake.

If you are facing criminal charges it is important to do everything in your power to make sure your rights are protected. Consider getting in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you defend against any charges and seek the best possible result in your case.

Source: KSDK, "Apps used as crime fighting tool by law enforcement," Anne Allred, May 6, 2013

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