Bill in NY Senate Would Require Gun License Applicants to Hand Over Social Media Passwords and 3 Years of Search History for Review

By on December 20, 2018

A bill was recently introduced to the NY State Senate by Senator Kevin Parker and Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, that would require gun license applicants to hand over social media passwords, and 3 years of search history for review by the State. Regardless of how you feel about gun rights, this is a clear violation of privacy, and a request like this in any context is completely inappropriate and totally unconstitutional. Background checks are one thing, but the process outlined in this bill goes way too far. This isn’t about gun rights, this is about privacy rights.

Make no mistake, the passage of this bill will not make NY residents safer, but it will open applicants up to potential identity theft and abuse of their data should the database ever leak. The recent Marriott leaks, as well as Equifax and others, have shown that trusting ultra private information to a third party can have disastrous results.

Security experts have long warned that it’s extremely dangerous to give your password to anyone, including your local police department. It not only exposes you to unreasonably intrusive analysis but also exposes private details of everyone you have ever communicated with online. If your friend wants to buy a gun does that mean the police should get to read every message you’ve ever sent them? The best thing we can do is reject these ideas right now to prevent bad privacy practices from becoming normalized.

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