Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Capitol Crimes Superstars

Kevin Collier, NBC News:

As the FBI continues to round up rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to try to stop President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration last week, it’s finding that a number of them seem to have openly confessed to crimes on open social media, a review of court documents shows.

Sara Morrison, Recode:

The subject of another much-circulated photo, of a cheerful and waving bearded man walking through the Capitol with the speaker’s lectern, has been identified by the Bradenton Herald as Florida man Adam Johnson (not “Via Getty”). Johnson was arrested on Friday and hit with the same three charges as Barnett. The complaint against Johnson references photos posted on his own Facebook account that appear to show him inside the Capitol building and were sourced from a newspaper article about the riot. Additionally, someone who has a mutual friend with Johnson called the FBI to report that he was the man in the photo with the lectern.

Johnson’s lawyer admitted to reporters that the photograph of his client is “a problem.”

“I’m not a magician,” Dan Eckhart added. “We’ve got a photograph of our client in what appears to be inside a federal building or inside the Capitol with government property.”

Jacob Shamsian, Business Insider:

An affidavit from an FBI special agent filed in court Tuesday says Eduardo Florea stockpiled more than 1,000 rounds of ammo and threatened to kill Sen.-elect Raphael Warnock of Georgia.

The affidavit says the FBI received records from Parler to identify the user behind the account “LoneWolfWar,” where the threats originated. Parler provided the phone number associated with the account, the affidavit says, and the FBI used it, and info from T-Mobile, to identify Florea.

Drew Harwell, Lisa Bonos, and Craig Timberg, Washington Post:

Tinder, Bumble and other dating apps are using images captured from inside the Capitol siege and other evidence to identify and ban rioters’ accounts, causing immediate consequences for those who participated as police move toward making hundreds of arrests.

[…]

Amanda Spataro, a 25-year-old logistics coordinator in Tampa, called it her “civic duty” to swipe through dating apps for men who’d posted incriminating pictures of themselves. On Bumble, she found one man with a picture that seemed likely to have come from the insurrection; his response to a prompt about his “perfect first date” was: “Storming the Capitol.”

“Most people, you think if you’re going to commit a crime, you’re not going to brag about it,” Spataro said in an interview.

You would think that, wouldn’t you? But only if you, you know, think.

Issie Lapowsky, Protocol:

The Capitol riot was a boundary-busting event in almost every way, and its impact on the digital privacy debate was no different. The insurrectionists’ acts were so galling, so frightening, that suddenly, even those who might oppose digital surveillance and forensics techniques in other contexts, like, say, identifying peaceful protesters at a Black Lives Matter rally, feel justified in deploying those tools against the rioters. The shifting goalposts have sparked a tense debate among researchers of online extremism about the right way to stitch together the digital scraps of someone’s life to publicly accuse them of committing a crime — or whether there is a right way at all.

I think a piece by Astead W. Herndon in the New York Times is a good explanation of the false equivalence between Black Lives Matter protests and the criminal surge of U.S. Capitol rioting morons. But Lapowsky’s article raises good arguments about the dangers of false accusations, attempts at mob justice, and the risks faced by those identifying extremists.