• United States



Penn State frat suspended for posting photos of passed out, nude females on Facebook

Mar 18, 20154 mins
Data and Information SecurityMicrosoftSecurity

Pennsylvania State University’s Kappa Delta Rho fraternity has been suspended for running a secret Facebook page filled with photos of passed out, nude females.

Pennsylvania State University’s Kappa Delta Rho fraternity has been suspended after an informant told police about two “secret” Facebook pages, the private kind that you can only access if invited, which 144 frat members used to post photos of unsuspecting nude and passed out females as well as drug sales and hazing.

The search warrant states that the items to be searched and seized included, “The private Facebook page titled ‘2.0’ to include the contents, any postings, messages, pictures, names and other information related to possible criminal activity posted on the private Facebook page.” I decided against linking to the search warrant, since all instances of the cooperating informant’s, victim’s and some frat jerks’ name were not redacted; although they might be nicknames.

The informant was previously a member of the private Facebook page which had 144 active student and graduate members; he deactivated his account so his fraternity brothers couldn’t remove him from the group and then requested a meeting with the State College Police Department. He told police that the fraternity was “operating a private, invite only Facebook page which members share photos of unsuspecting victims, drug sales, and hazing.” He added that the drugs included “marijuana and edibles, concentrates, ADD medication and some cocaine.”

The warrant states:

Some of the postings were of nude females that appeared to be passed out and nude or in other sexual or embarrassing positions. It appears from the photos provided that the individuals in the photos are not aware the photos had been taken.

The provided photographs only showcase a small fraction of the posts on the page. [Redacted informant] had his laptop and logged in to show that it was still active. [Redacted] was instructed to save as much of the posts as he could in the event he is removed from the page.

Since the informant “provided multiple print outs,” the search warrant included members’ comments such as “this is the type of stuff that happens at KDR,” “I banged her” and comments about “PSU nude cheerleader” photos. Other photos were of strippers hired by the fraternity and of victims puking and passed out. The last comment on one thread stated, “lol delete these or we will be on CNN in a week.”

The informant allegedly wanted the page stopped, wanted to help identify victims as well as provide real names of suspects and victims since “almost all” the names used in the postings were nicknames. He let the cops “access his Facebook account and the private ‘2.0’ account” so the police could “view and obtain any and all messages, postings and images that may be related to possible criminal activity.”

Private ‘Covert Business Transactions’ Facebook before ‘2.0’

Eight months before the fraternity started the “2.0” page, PSU’s Kappa Delta Rho ran another secret Facebook page called “Covert Business Transactions.” Yet when a victim was visiting the frat house, she saw a laptop opened and logged into the “covert” Facebook page. After seeing a photo in which she was topless posted to the group, she “became upset and threatened the fraternity, which subsequently shut down ‘Covert Business Transactions’.” After deleting the “covert” page, the new ‘2.0’ private Facebook page “was created shortly after.”

With search warrants in hand, the police reportedly searched “several computers and the Facebook page during the investigation, but the activity was wiped from the devices.” The cops still have the original 20 photos the informant provided for evidence.

Fraternity suspended

The fraternity was suspended on March 3; the cease and desist letter (pdf) specifically mentioned the “two private Facebook pages where highly inappropriate photographs were posted.” Then yesterday, March 17, the National Fraternity of Kappa Delta Rho sent a letter (pdf) suspending the Zeta Chapter for “one calendar year for the most serious misconduct, most serious disregard of Fraternity rules, policies and property by the chapter.”

Privacy insult to injury: Cops goof, give news outlets pics of nude female victims

Now to add insult to injury, the police sent some copies of the warrant to news outlets, but they accidentally included the images of the victims and asked that those images not be released.

The Associated Press reported, “The photographs accompanying the warrant included images of fully nude and partly clothed women and a scene of a man appearing to grope a woman, her pants partly pulled down…Some of the posts included with the warrant were images of cellphone text exchanges, including one from a woman apparently concerned about a casual sexual encounter the night before and whether birth control was used.”

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.