Law Enforcement Critic’s Web Site Rankles Police

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William Sheehan expresses his views about what he calls police corruption in Washington State on a Web site, where he also posts police officers’ addresses, home phone numbers and Social Security numbers, the New York Times reports. State officials say those postings expose officers and their families to danger and invite identity theft. But neither litigation nor legislation has stopped Sheehan, who promises to expand his site to include every police and corrections officer in the state. Sheehan’s use of data, the Times says, raises questions about how the law should address the dissemination of accurate, publicly available information that is made accessible in a way that may facilitate the invasion of privacy, computer crime, even violence.

Sheehan 41, is a computer engineer in Mill Creek, Wash., near Seattle. His low opinion of the police has its roots in a 1998 dispute with the Police Department of Kirkland, Wash., over whether he lied in providing an alibi for a friend charged with domestic violence. Sheehan was found guilty of making a false statement and harassing a police officer and was sentenced to six months in jail, but served no time: the convictions were overturned.


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