Social networking: What cops know

Indiana State Police Lt. Charles Cohen's 16-year-old nephew "has seven MySpace pages, including one in which he and his buddies pretend to be Chuck Norris," the Associated Press reports. That's a great observation for parents to hear, echoed by many experts on Web 2.0 – that there are all kinds of blogs and social-networking profiles, from pure fiction to "reality TV" on the Web to hybrids of the two (the majority probably being in that in-between gray area). The content of Lieutenant Cohen's talks to fellow law enforcement say something about how police work is changing, about social networkers' use of privacy tools, and about how the Web increasingly mirrors offline life (here's the main article. "Many police departments have computer crews that perform skillful forensic analysis on hard drives and specialize in nailing online predators." Cohen's talks are for everybody else – "beat cops, homicide detectives and other investigators" who are either in denial about needing to understand the Net or don't realize what a tool it can be.

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