Second Amendment

DO WHAT? Watervliet, NY Asks Pistol Permit Applicants for Facebook Passwords

The photo below shows an application for a pistol permit as used by the Watervliet, New York police department. It comes to us from “Mazz,” a member of the nyfirearms.com forum [registration required]. As you can see the app asks applicants for their “Facebook & Password.” Considering the document’s homemade look and the absurdity of the request, I called the Watervliet PD for confirmation and clarification. I got Chief Ron Boisvert . . .

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DO WHAT? Watervliet, NY Asks Pistol Permit Applicants for Facebook Passwords

The Chief told TTAG that the sheet shouldn’t have been in the application packet – and won’t be in future. “It’s for internal use only,” he said.

Yes, well, the Chief said he uses the form to gather the applicant’s Facebook deets during a face-to-face interview. Why make note of the password? “We don’t,” he insisted. “We ask the applicant to log on to Facebook in front of us.” So the Chief scrolls through the applicant’s Facebook page searching for . . . ?

“Pages they’re looked at, friends – anything that reflects on the character of the applicant.” I pointed out that there’s a big difference [in terms of privacy] between viewing a Facebook page as a friend and viewing it as the owner. The Chief wasn’t bothered by the distinction.

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