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Police Request for Member Information

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by Sap1ent, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. Sap1ent

    Sap1ent New Member

    Hi guys,

    Not sure if this is the correct forum, but you always seem like a knowledgeable bunch!

    I've had a (verifiable) e-mail from a Police Officer here in the UK politely requesting information about some of my forum members who may be able to help them with their inquiries into a crime committed in our local area.

    Without doing any research, i'm assuming I can hand over the basic details I have which are simply the user's name and e-mail address (and IP) without requesting Data Protection Clearance or anything like that?

    Obviously i'm keen to co-operate, but don't want to be strung up by the members when they inevitably ask how their information was obtained.

    n.b. it's not a nefarious forum by any means, just local interest, so I've no idea what they're referring to at present.

  2. imthebest

    imthebest Formerly Super120

    It varies depending on local laws for example in my country police can't ask for such details without the order of a judge.
  3. Guess wrong and you could possibly lose a lot of members! Over here, across the pond, the police would need a warrant or court order compelling me to do so. Even then, I wouldn't like it.
  4. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    Tell them you want a court order signed by a sitting judge.
    D.O.A. and thumped like this.
  5. HammerDown

    HammerDown Active Member

    This. Had this happen and nicely told him to make me. Never heard back.
  6. Neal

    Neal Well-Known Member

    If the Police Officer agrees, you could ask those people on your forum if they would be willing to let you pass their email address on to the Police Officer, or ask them to contact the Officer directly via their email address. Keep a copy of any permission given, etc. just in case.

    I wouldn't just hand anything over without asking, or without a court order, as you could run the risk of further problems down the line.
  7. melbo

    melbo Well-Known Member

    I'd mark the email as spam and carry on.
    rafass and HammerDown like this.
  8. HammerDown

    HammerDown Active Member

    Had a better look at the OP and in that case, I'd consider starting a thread asking anyone willing to help to contact him.

    No way in hell am I giving law enforcement personal info without being served with a court order to do so.
    melbo likes this.
  9. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo Well-Known Member

    I agree with this
  10. Sap1ent

    Sap1ent New Member

    Thanks all, there's a clear consensus here and I think i'll stick with it!
    HammerDown likes this.
  11. dethfire

    dethfire Well-Known Member

    Don't do anything unless given a subpoena
    HammerDown likes this.
  12. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member

    It's always worth stating in your privacy policy under what conditions you might or would give personal details to a third party.

    Mine merely states that if required by "law enforcement agencies" then data may be shared, I haven't actually defined exactly what those requirements are so this thread is good food for thought.

    That data would include all access to database and so included conversations. I think this is worth stating in case people thing conversations really are PMs, ie totally private. If people were sharing illegal stuff via conversation, I would certainly have no qualms about handing that over but not just because a bobby rings on the doorbell, it would need a court order, warrant, subpoena or whatever.
  13. Liam W

    Liam W Well-Known Member

    From what I recall, subpoenas don't exist in the UK.

  14. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Our version is basically a warrant.

    To the OP, I would suggest getting in touch with the officer and just finding out what information they are after, and, if you are willing to hand it over (I would suggest that you do try and help) to have an officer collect it in person.

    When it comes to law enforcement and investigating a crime, you are fine to hand over data without breaching data protection. I would be more inclined to help than ever now days given the cuts to our policing service.
    Neal likes this.
  15. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Active Member

    I would shut down my forum before I gave any personal details to anyone. Not going to happen.
    melbo likes this.
  16. troutspinner

    troutspinner Member

    You are teetering on the edge of giving up privacy based on an email. You really should warn your users about this.
  17. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member

    People should always have a carefully worded privacy policy and stick to it. If you change the policy from that which users agreed to when they registered then they should be notified.

    Tha has certainly made me think about checking mine, which includes:

    • We don’t share your personal information with anyone except to comply with the law or protect our rights.

    Exceptional circumstances would include court orders or other requests from law enforcement agencies with the appropriate warrants.

    This thread has made me realise I should take out other requests as it could just mean the local bobby knocking on the door and asking for personal information. My intent was to only mean warrants or other requests that I am obliged to comply with under law.

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