On Tuesday, Dec. 18 a New York State Senator representing a district in New York City used Twitter to tell a female aide who criticized him parking a vehicle in a lane reserved for bicycles to “Kill Herself.” Not surprisingly, the tweet has been “deleted,” but it can be seen in its entirety with a simple internet search.
What makes this tweet particularly significant is the source, Sen. Kevin Parker, a Democrat, is the author of a bill that would require investigating agencies to review several years’ worth of a pistol license applicant’s social media postings. Considering this bill’s source, a man with a documented history of violence against women and reporters, extra scrutiny should be applied.
Laws requiring an applicant to provide a government or police agency with passwords and other forms of access credentials raise major red flags in terms of the First and Fourth Amendments. What speech would be deemed grounds for a permit denial or revocation?
This Senator’s comment should qualify, but then questions arise as to whether the investigating agency, or individual investigator’s bias would come into play.
Then there are plenty of basic privacy issues relating to how long the government would retain access, whether non-related information would be logged into other databases, and if the applicant’s online security be would compromised by not being allowed to change passwords during the length of the investigation.
Ultimately, proposals allowing this degree of potential overreach should never be seriously considered or codified into law.