Videos On The Internet

Reply Tue 22 Jul, 2008 02:38 am
Sorry in advance incase this isnt the right place to post this but this is the only area I could see that my question would fit in.

All I'm wondering is if "my friend" did something illegal and caught it on video camera then posted in on the internet and the police saw this, could they arrest me or fine me? using the video as evidence.

Thanks for any help to come.
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Reply Tue 22 Jul, 2008 03:39 am
Yes they can. And do. So much depends on what it was that "your friend" did that was illegal. Also a lot depends on where the "crime" was committed. The British police have been using Youtube and other sites to look for promising leads which sometimes lead to arrests and trials. They don't just trawl the web, they get emails from citizens who spot stuff that they think needs looking at.

BBC News 21 Feb 2008:

As a man who posted video online of himself speeding at 130mph has been handed a four-month suspended prison term, police are increasingly relying on YouTube as a crime fighting weapon.

When an anonymous e-mail dropped in the inbox of Suffolk Police last autumn the fate of Danny Hyde was sealed.

It drew to the attention of officers a video posted on YouTube of Hyde, 18, driving his Astra one-handed at 130mph along the A14 near Ipswich.

He filmed it himself on his mobile phone and the footage included shots of the speedometer and the road ahead as he sped past other vehicles.

Police managed to identify Hyde and he admitted the offence to magistrates, earning a four-month suspended prison term. It is another instance where police have used video-sharing sites like YouTube to track down bragging criminals.

In Herefordshire, an 18-year-old was fined and banned from keeping animals for five years after picking up a cat and hurling it 20 feet, while friends filmed the act. The footage was put on the same website and reported to police.

But it's not just low-level crimes that are being pursued this way. Two gangs who allegedly raped a girl in Croydon, south London, and posted a video on YouTube are being hunted by police.

Officers in Merseyside are particularly vigilant. They arrested two 14-year-old boys last summer after they were spotted on YouTube damaging car wing mirrors.

And last month they appealed for help in identifying a gang, who call themselves The Liverpool Jaguar Boyz, on film driving a Jaguar at 134mph.

"The force monitors YouTube and other such websites for evidence of crimes committed locally," says a spokesman.

"It is important to establish whether images on the site originate from Merseyside, as it is often the case that some of the footage posted is duplicated when searching on different geographic areas on the website."

Police already extensively monitor the web for images of child abuse, but how reliable is a video of someone committing other crimes like speeding or assault?

"It's good evidence," says a solicitor [lawyer] in criminal law, Julian Young, "as long as you can get some proof that it's the person in the picture."

The person might just confess to the crime when asked by police, he says. But if they say the picture is not them, then officers can get voice analysis and facial mapping experts to prove it is, provided the images are of sufficient quality.

CCTV pictures are often used as evidence and police frequently take covert video of people buying and selling drugs, he says, so there's nothing in principle that counts against its reliability.

Images from CCTV have to be well-sourced with a time and date. Amateur footage is even more open to the accusation that it has been doctored, so experts would have to match the voice or dimensions of the face to the person arrested.

Some allegations are less clear-cut than others. There have been high-profile examples of celebrities filmed apparently taking drugs, but investigations by police being dropped. That may be because consuming drugs is not in itself a crime; possessing and supplying them is.

It's important the police are seen to act when someone reports a video to them, for the sake of public trust, says Dr Gloria Laycock of the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science.

"If people put this in the public domain and expect the police to ignore it, then it says something about their opinion of the police, and it's good that they're being challenged."

As well as a YouTube video police would still need further evidence, she says, either a confession or corroborating evidence, but it's a good start.

And what about the act of filming and uploading video of a crime? That's not illegal, says Mr Young.

"Uploading images of someone being assaulted is not a criminal offence, however unpleasant," he says. But it's a complex area - some people may film a crime with the intention of using it as evidence against the perpetrators.

From next month, filming an assault and uploading the footage on to the net will be treated as an aggravating factor by judges in England and Wales. The condition is one of several new rules set down by the Sentencing Guidelines Council.

Last week a 15-year-old girl was convicted of aiding and abetting a fatal attack in West Yorkshire when she filmed it on her phone and showed it to her friends. The case was held up as the first time filming an offence, without participating in it, was considered an offence.

But Mr Young said the girl's involvement was actually more than that and "you've got to do something more than standing there taking a picture" to commit a crime.

A YouTube spokesman says it reviews any content flagged up by users as inappropriate, removes it if necessary and suspends the accounts of repeat offenders.

And it encourages police to let them know if they see videos of criminal acts. If the police ask for information then YouTube cooperates, as long as police follow the correct legal process governing disclosure that the government has laid down.

It is an unlikely partnership but as long as criminals feel the need to brag about their exploits, it is one that could be flexing its muscles more and more in the future.
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Reply Tue 22 Jul, 2008 03:52 am
My "friend" has been doing nothing huge like speeding or nothing like that. Suppose the word for it could be destruction of property but it a way way way smaller way, totally smaller.

Faces are hidden etc and it is a small offense so would they go out of their way to find out who it is and punish them?
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Reply Tue 22 Jul, 2008 04:07 am
I can't speak to New Zealand in particular but... The Internet is a public space. If you post something on the net it is no different that sending a videtape to the local TV news station and there isn't any reason why the police can't use that video as evidence of criminal activity if they become aware of it.

Whether or not any police department would persue it or not is another question. That starts getting into the police dept caseload and their priorities and every police dept is different.

Of course, someone who isn't involved with the police might stumble across the video and do some investigating on their own too.
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