Are politicians’ social media accounts public record?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by rdowns, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #1
    Interesting case.


     
  2. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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  3. Limey77 macrumors regular

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    #3
    A very interesting case in deed, I'll lookout for the outcome.

    My initial reaction is that if it is an official account used to publicise the civil organisation or office's facts and opinions then yes it should be a matter of public record - upto and including private messages, who they've blocked etc.

    If it's a mayor's (or whoevers) then it shouldn't as a matter of course be public. However, if they use their private account to to disparage opponents or policy then I think that could make it fair game. But their comments on second cousin's graduation pictures etc should be private.

    However my opinion is only my first thoughts and open to change
     
  4. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #4
    If blocked accounts are not stated, how can they be part of the public record?

    I don't believe politicians should be obligated to release that information.

    But perhaps a good counter argument could change my mind.
     
  5. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #5
    If its Mayor Bob Smith I think it ought to be public, if its Mr. Bob Smith no.
     
  6. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

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    #6
    Whatever you use, if you use it for work, whatever you used is subject to being considered public interest.
    A courier sent me a text message on my personal iPhone a couple of years ago. From then on my iPhone is a subject of public interest.
     
  7. Limey77 macrumors regular

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    #7
    Now that is scary. I could (potentially) see all communications from that person falling under public interest. But everything on your phone! That imho is too far.
     
  8. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #8
    Use BleachBit.
     
  9. Limey77 macrumors regular

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    #9
    I think the point wasn't how you could get around it, but whether this sort of invasion of privacy was justified in the first place.

    But thanks, I'm sure that will clear up some of my search history
     
  10. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

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    #10
    It means that it is searchable for all purposes of the law and be considered as a working tool, not that the info is going to be released. No pics of me naked ;)
     
  11. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #11
    It was a reference to the software tool used in Hillary's email-server scandal. The one that wiped the mail archives, making them irretrievable. So I hoped it was a concise way of saying that what works for political heads can work for you, too.
     
  12. Robisan macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Agreed. Are they then required to disclose passwords? All settings changes? Non-public acts are just that - non-public.
     
  13. Raid macrumors 68020

    Raid

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    #13
    I'm proud of you for not mentioning Hillary in this... :D
    Here's the slippery slope argument. Does one "public" transaction on a politicians phone/device/account mean that the whole thing can be put under public scrutiny?
     
  14. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Would PRSI members be forced to disclose Ignore Lists?
     
  15. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

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    #15
    Not public scrutiny, but the object is of public interest. Meaning that no, you can't browse my messages and see all the pics I have. And you can't ask to see them via FOIA, unless they're deemed of public interest.
    What you can do is ask for my phone to be searched for specific info, something that you couldn't do before if the courier didn't send me the message.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 24, 2016 ---
    It was hard, I admit ;)
     
  16. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #16
    I'm going to say no on this, though I'd also love to see a good counter to convince me to change my mind.

    I say no, because of the media in which the account it on. It was already listed in various EULAs (for example, Facebook) that any pictures, content, etc. that are uploaded or posted to the media platform in question becomes the property of that media platform. As such, if that platform owns the media for a particular public official, that would make the media private to the platform.

    So to use Mayor Bob Smith from above: If Mayor Smith uploads or posts something to Facebook, Facebook owns that upload or post, not Mayor Smith. It would be up to Facebook to deem that post or data public or private as far as ownership goes, not of any public record, regardless of what public or private official uploaded it or posted it.

    This is what creates the loophole in the 4th Amendment, for that any investigation into a person who uses social media, any clerk of the court (read: a lawyer) can simply create their own subpoena for a person's posts to be handed to a social media platform, and have that data given to them, instead of requiring a warrant. The social media platform would be 3rd party to that investigation and not in the scope of the 4th Amendment.

    So for now, I say no. Politicians social media accounts are not public record.

    BL.
     
  17. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

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    #17
    That's incorrect. You don't transfer ownership, you give a license to use.

    Sharing Your Content and Information

    You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:
    1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacyand application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
    2. When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
    3. When you use an application, the application may ask for your permission to access your content and information as well as content and information that others have shared with you. We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information. (To learn more about Platform, including how you can control what information other people may share with applications, read our Data Policy and Platform Page.)
    4. When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).
    5. We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use your feedback or suggestions without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).
     
  18. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #18
    Sharing, yes. Public record, no. That was the question here. None of the data, including the accounts, are on any sort of public (read: local, municipal, state, or federal) server. They are held by a private company, and it is up to the user as to how they intend to share the data. If they do not share it, it is not of any public record whatsoever, and still the company is given use to any of the data you submit (as stated in #1 above).

    Again, discussed in a previous thread here, which again, blew right by people here without any real discussion of it and your data whatsoever:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/your-personal-data-versus-the-4th-amendment.1649516/

    An excerpt from the link within that thread:

    http://www.npr.org/sections/alltech...al-trail-does-the-fourth-amendment-protect-us

    Meanwhile, a judge in New York City issued a ruling last year that could have huge implications for anything you store online in the cloud. The case involved one of the protesters arrested at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration. When the New York district attorney subpoenaed all the tweets he had written over 3 1/2 months, the protester and his lawyer tried to block it. But the judge said they couldn't, because even though the protester wrote those tweets, he "has no proprietary interests" in them — in other words, he didn't own the tweets; Twitter Inc. did.

    "And that is really a crucial, crucial issue in this age of cloud computing," says Martin Stolar, the protester's criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer.

    "Because people now use the cloud to store all kinds of private, personal information — where they travel, where they go, where they go to church, whom they consult with their doctor, what their medical conditions are, what personal private conversations they've had. If they are stored in the cloud, then the person who stored them in the cloud loses the right to object when the government seeks them."

    Incidentally, if you think your tweets or other digital messages are really gone when you click "delete," think again. Twitter and other digital companies keep them in computer archives for months or years.

    The New York ruling represents just one judge's decision, and Stolar is appealing it. But there's a battle over these issues across the country. For instance, some courts have ruled that police can get emails and cellphone logs with just a subpoena, while other courts have said that law enforcement needs probable cause of a crime and a search warrant. Stolar says if the ruling on the Twitter case stands, it could make it even easier for the government to get a detailed portrait of your personal life — with just a subpoena.

    BL.
     
  19. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

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    #19
    A public official is not bound by the same rules as a private individual. The NPR article (interesting) was about a protester, in its private world. It's two different worlds.
     
  20. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #20
    It isn't the official that is the issue. It is the data submitted. Regardless of the person, the platform owns the data. That is the issue.

    BL.
     
  21. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #21
    The point was that the privacy of some communications by elected officials are restricted by statute, even when those communications occur in what appears to be a "private" setting. For example, members of a city council discussing certain subjects between at a private party may fall under the purview of those statutes, making them "public records" or "public communications".

    It depends on the official, the nature of the communication, and the statutes of the governing body.

    It depends on the platform and the terms of service.

    Twitter's terms of service:

    Your Rights
    You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. What’s yours is yours — you own your Content (and your photos and videos are part of the Content).

    By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed). This license authorizes us to make your Content available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same. You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to provide, promote, and improve the Services and to make Content submitted to or through the Services available to other companies, organizations or individuals for the syndication, broadcast, distribution, promotion or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use. Such additional uses by Twitter, or other companies, organizations or individuals, may be made with no compensation paid to you with respect to the Content that you submit, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the Services.
    ... [Emphasis added]
     
  22. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

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    #22
    Exactly.
     
  23. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #23
    Again, that is pursuant to the sharing of the data. But the question there is, "who owns the data?" Because if an investigation is conducted against you and the authorities want your data, they aren't going to serve Twitter with a warrant for what you said, because Twitter isn't under investigation: You are.

    So if Twitter is saying you own your content, yet you have a judge who stated that Twitter owns the content, not you, who owns your content?

    BL.
     
  24. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #24
    Twitter might be served with a subpoena to supply your data. I'm guessing they'd comply, unless there's a compelling reason.

    The case with the protester wasn't Twitter trying to quash the subpoena, it was the defendant trying to do so, arguing 4th Amendment protections. Twitter was a 3rd party, not the defendant.

    Twitter's terms of service grant Twitter a license, not ownership, and it also grants the right to sublicense. That may effectively be the same as ownership for nearly all practical purposes, but it's nevertheless a license.

    The court essentially ruled that once the license had been granted to Twitter, and given the terms of service outlined, the user could not then claim an expectation of privacy, nor revoke that license retroactively as a means to quash the subpoena. The distinction may be subtle, but it's there.


    I looked at the legal opinion linked through the other thread, and I didn't see where the judge says "Twitter owns the content". That's someone else's paraphrase of what the legal opinion says. The legal opinion actually talks about "home" and the concept of "virtual home", and then leads into a third party (Twitter), and the question of expectation of privacy. The cited precedent is US v. Lifshitz.

    I don't see the issue of ownership being raised at all in that legal opinion, only in the paraphrase. If it's in the legal opinion, please point to it.
     
  25. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #25
    I'm not disagreeing with you, but Twitter specifically used the term "Content", which they define as the text, photos, and video that appear within posts. The OP, on the other hand, concerned a user setting, a list of people blocked from the social site. Normally, that information is not accessible to the public. So unless that list appeared somewhere in a post, it doesn't count as content, as defined by the TOS you quoted.
     

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