You Want What?! Controversy Surrounds NY Pistol Permit Application That Asks For Facebook Password

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Talk about a major violation of privacy. Check it out.

There’s a reason we create private passwords for our social media accounts: the information contained therein is private.

We’re often warned not to give out these passwords — but how do we react if the police ask for them? That’s what appeared to have happened in Watervliet recently, where a form included in the city’s pistol permit application included a blank line for applicants to fill-in “Facebook & Password.”

The story broke last week, when internet blog “The Truth About Guns” posted an image of the form. A statement from the police department acknowledged the form had been included in past applications. Website publisher Robert Farago confirmed to Time Warner Cable News that he spoke by phone with Watervliet Police Chief Ronald Boisvert, about the form. The Chief is quoted on the website, saying that the form was mistakenly included in the packet, and is for internal use only.

However, Chief Boisvert is also quoted as follows: “We ask the applicant to log-on to Facebook in front of us, (to search for) pages they’ve looked at, friends — anything that reflects on character.” The Chief later told the website that the Albany County judiciary created the Facebook password requirement.

“I’m just the middleman here,” Boisvert is quoted. “It is what it is.”

Time Warner Cable News attempted to question Chief Boisvert, but we were instead e-mailed a statement Tuesday evening. It reads, in part: “Social media is a vital investigative tool and we make use of it in background investigations, to render a well-founded and complete recommendation on applicants for the courts.” However, the following sentence says, “None of the eight applicants who supplied Facebook information have had their accounts accessed.”

This article continues on twcnews.com

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