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Watervliet, NY Asks Pistol Permit Applicants for Facebook Passwords

Posted on the 17 October 2014 by Mikeb302000
Watervliet, NY Asks Pistol Permit Applicants for Facebook Passwords
TTAG via Kurt Hofmann
The photo above 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 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 . . . 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. Kurt said, "I'm hoping it's a hoax."
I don't see why it would be.  To me it appears to be a bumbling attempt to effectively process the may-issue system of granting permits.  I say bumbling, because I suspect the tech-unfriendly folks who put that form together didn't know that one can view another's Facebook page without the password. They probably didn't know about the Friend status for viewing, which would accomplish the desired goal.

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