Canadian Rockies private investigator refuses to run drone surveillance on Prince Harry and his wife Meghan
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blog
There are private investigators who would jump at the opportunity. An ongoing drone surveillance gig for a major media outlet could mean a stable, long-term assignment for a client with deep pockets. Moreover, "will travel" is prominently featured on British Columbia Private Investigator, James Craig's, homepage.
See also: What role does Canadian drone surveillance regulatory culture play in making Canada an attractive place for A list celebrities to avoid surveillance drones
Craig's firm, which has served Vancouver Island since 1986, certainly has the needed expertise. It was also just fifteen miles from the surveillance site. No wonder the prominent New York media outlet contacted him multiple times by phone and by email. But the seaside, hiking trails, farmers markets, wild osprey and river otters weren't what made the private investigator apprehensive. It was the assignment.
Victoria Times editor and publisher, Dave Obee, who Craig finally notified to explain what was going on, agreed. "They wanted to hire me to investigate Meghan and Prince Harry’s retreat" explained Craig by email. Evidently the media outlet, whose name was not disclosed also wanted the legal investigator to unearth into on the alleged Russian owner of the Sussex's new Canadian residence. "To search for any “dirt” I might be able to uncover," as Craig put it.
In an editorial that posted the morning of Sunday, January, 19th titled, "When royals visit here let them be, let them be" Obee formalized the Victoria newsroom's position: "the separation of Harry and Meghan from the Royal Family is big news around the world. Their connection to our Island is worthy of note, but their day-to-day existence here is not."
Obee went on to explain that the local British Columbia paper wanted no part in disrupting the life of the couple who was driven by tabloid harassment to relinquish their royal titles and retreat from public life. "My decision, not to investigate the matter concerning Harry and Meghan, was based purely on my own personal ethics," Craig explained when I asked whether licensing codes or potential legal repercussions factored into his decision.
"Ethical cods and legal repercussions are always professionally respected, but had nothing to do with my decision," he told me when he forwarded the letter he wrote to the Victoria Times Colonist, expressing his disgust over the media outlets' job offer woven into their ruthless and irreverence for Meghan and Harry's privacy.
The private investigator's "words certainly reinforced what we were thinking in the newsroom," Obee explained when I asked if his own article was prompted by the unusual occurrence. Private investigators rarely contact newspaper editors outside of trade industry publications. Obee said that a newsroom conversation was already underway when the private investigator's email arrived.
"in the end the column was motivated by the insanity of the British press here, chasing Meghan down as she goes about everyday things," Obee told me.
Finding peace, respite and most importantly, privacy in a town whose population is roughly the size of Glenwood Springs, Colorado will not be easy for the well known couple. But having the support of local Vancouver surveillance operatives and newspaper editors might make thing a little easier for them.
Colorado digital evidence consultant Chris Wells on Facebook and the Colorado Bar Association's sock puppet prerogative
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
To get a second opinion on the stalking suspects safely issue discussed in the previous post, I asked Boulder based Computer and Cell Phone Forensic Examiner, Chris Wells about using
See also: Digital 101 forensics workshops for Denver attorneys and private investigators
Facebook to research suspects and/or persons of interest. Wells concurred with Jones' stipulation adding, "Facebook does not provide a 'who viewed my profile' capability."
See also: Storyful's News Intelligence and Investigative Journalist Kelly Jones talks Stalk Scan for private investigators
Facebook's terms of service explicitly prohibits the creation of a bogus profile. This means, using that fake name, photo and online identity, as private investigators sometimes do, is an ethical violation that could get a firm in hot water during testimony. It could also cost individual investigators their membership to a professional organization. Organizations like World Association of Detectives (WAD), National Association of Legal Investigators Professional Private Investigators (NALI) and the Association of Colorado (PPIAC) [Disclosure: the author of this article is an associate member of the PPIAC] all have ethical codes to help maintain the integrity of a profession that is frequently misrepresented in Hollywood. Section 2 of the PPIAC's code of ethics states, "We will not advertise our work, skill or merit in an unprofessional or misleading fashion and will avoid all conduct or practice likely to discredit or do injury to the dignity and honor of our profession."
"It's easy (though against Facebook policy)" Wells points out as an example, "to create a bogus Facebook profile, and use it to do things anonymously on Facebook. For example, I download a picture of you from the Web, create a 'Susanna Speier' Facebook account using that picture, then start friend'ing people with it."
In addition to violating Facebook policy it would violate Section 2 of the PPIAC code of ethics but not all of Colorado's licensed private investigators have trade organization memberships. To throw yet another monkey wrench into the ethical works, a 2017 regulation protecting Colorado attorneys' authority to "direct advise or supervise others" to, in essence, behave deceitfully. Rule 9.4 section C of the Colorado Bar is, in essence, a sock puppet prerogative.
See also: Colorado's new misconduct rule: what will the consequences be?
A demanding client can direct a Colorado private investigator to create an online decoy profile and use that profile to to obtain information on Facebook that he or she may not otherwise have access to, despite the precarious situation it would put their client and associates in if discovered.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Rule 8.4 section 3 is addressed by Colorado's new Attorney General, Phil Weiser now that the Attorney General responsible for putting it there in 2017, Cynthia Coffman, is out of office.
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