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 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 . . .

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.

When I pointed out that checking someone’s Facebook page (in front of them no less) was unnecessary, unfair and unconstitutional, the Chief said “I’m just the middleman here” and “it is what it is.” He said the information gets sent to a Superior Court judge who makes the final decision. The Facebook search is, in fact, the judiciary’s idea. I mean, requirement.

I asked the Chief what would happen if someone refused to log on to their Facebook account. “I’d just note the fact and send it to the Judges.”

All of which proves the Empire State is still busy trying to see just how far they can get away from the phrase “shall not be infringed.” This isn’t the best example (New York City’s de facto gun ban is better), nor is it the last. But it does show how the Second Amendment protects all the rest. Or not.

[h/t JoS]

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127 Responses to Watervliet, NY Asks Pistol Permit Applicants for Facebook Passwords. Or Not.

    • Or twitter, tumblr, instagram, snapchat, linked in, or host your own webpage etc. etc. etc.

      In some circles, not having a virtual presence is considered deviant behavior…

      • This is absolutely true. Not saying you SHOULD be judged by it, but 74% of American adults DO have a FB account. Between 18-49 that number jumps up above 80%. If 80% of people are doing something and you are not, its doesn’t make you wrong, but it DOES make you stand out. If you’re doing something different from everyone else, people will wonder why. (The question of course is, do you care if they wonder? Probably not)

        Fun fact: They surveyed American women about the idea of checking out a guys FB page and what they think it tells them about him. The majority of them said that if a guy claims he has no FB at all, they suspect that he’s hiding it because he has a wife/GF.

    • Guilty by lack of participation. Everybody has a Facebook account. You don’t? Oh, you must be one of those lone wolf or paranoid conspiracy types that could snap at any minute.

      • Create an account. On the account, profess your love for statism and all thing government. Thank the government for allowing you the right to have a single-shot rifle. Post pictures of hope and change and be sure to misspell some words. Give them the password.

        • Maybe not a bad idea, especially if you used an alias and just friended known radials and liked protest pages.

        • TheBear says:
          “Maybe not a bad idea, especially if you used an alias and just friended known radials and liked protest pages.”

          But I don’t even know any tires!

      • Hell, back in the sixties and seventies I was self employed (guitar tech, performer and teacher), lived in a utilities included apartment with no lease that I paid cash rent for. I had no car, drivers license, insurance. I did without a phone (the corner bar took messages for me), and got around by bicycle.

        I’m not sure it’s possible to live in a major city and stay so far off the grid anymore, though.

      • It’s no different of everyone asking to “see your driver’s license”. First off, it’s no one’s business to “see your driver’s license”. And the point of my comment….is the assumption is “everyone” has a driver’s license, a government permission slip. Well, not so.

    • By going along with it he is a willing co-conspirator in the civil rights violation that violates the 1st, 4th and 5th amendments of the constitution of everyone that wishes to exercise their 2nd amendment rights.

      • Absolutely right. If I had a fb account, he would not get the password nor be able to stroll through it. If he wants fb info he needs to hack it like everybody else.

    • A couple of years ago I accidentally signed up for face book. Right away I got a dozen emails from people I had never heard of, wanting to be my “friend” Got out of it, no more of that crap! I get enough gossip watching the boob tube.

      • I buy and sell guns locally through Facebook, and participate in mosins and milsurps communities that are more active than their forum counterparts.

  1. Why is “I was just following orders” (just being the middle-man) a totally acceptable excuse for our countries Nazis but it wasn’t for Germanys Nazis? More of that oooh-rah USA! USA! USA! garbage I suspect.

    • Don’t forget “Boston Strong! Boston Strong! Boston Strong!”

      ———-

      “This is the police! We want to search your house for a teenage terrorist.”

      “Do you have a warrant?”

      “No.”

      “Okay, come on in.”

      “Come out with your hands up! Do it now!”

  2. I’m guessing that if they have you use one of their computers to log on and they have an internal form to write down your password that they’re using a key logger to capture people’s passwords and then storing them off line since they’d be less likely to get caught doing it that way.

    • Although anyone who actually does this would change their password immediately if they have half a brain. On the other hand, they’re using Facebook, so. . .

      • Many departments have the setup that allows them to hack your facebook anyway. They want to know you have one and then they can hack it at their leisure. Sort of like facebook is the monitor you look at while the guy at the precinct is using the monitor to watch you. Orwell… The best writer of the last hundred years because he has predicted the future so well.

        • LOL, this is funny. Just what is “the setup” to hack someone’s FB? I suppose they have Q’s “super cell-phone interceptor package” that allows them to beat people that use two factor authentication?

        • scotinNY… you seriously trust facebook not to give your information to law enforcement? Have you read fb’s TOS? Who needs hacking?

        • THAT, is something entirely different. Being that hacking is what Chadwick was talking about, that is what I addressed.

  3. RF’s post never mentions that fact that not everyone has a narcissist.com … oops I meant facebook account. He neglected to ask the most obvious question, “What if the applicant doesn’t have a facebook page?”

    Other obvious questions: “Does registering to vote require divulging such private information? Can you think of any other Constitutionally guaranteed rights that require such disclosure to exercise them?”

    • ….narcissist.com….

      Whole lotta truth right there.

      I consider myself quite successful as a dad since by 21YO and 18YO kids do not have (or want) a Facebook account.
      They also both go willingly to church.
      They also both understand that your biggest enemy is….yourself.
      In other words, our family is pretty much a Progressive’s worst nightmare.

  4. This is really just part of an overall invasion of privacy. Many companies ask for Facebook and other social media passwords now as part of the hiring process or even for current employees. My feeling is that, if my employer feels they should have that information, I’d rather just delete all my profiles. It’s not relevant to my employment, and if they insist, I’m happy to take my skill set elsewhere. Same goes for this garbage. Push too hard, I’ll take my tax dollars elsewhere. CT is getting awful close.

  5. I thought most everyone here in the states had moved on from Facebook. Almost all of the Facebook usage is coming from people outside of the United States now.

  6. I can’t believe the aclu isn’t all over this.. “friends, pages you’ve looked at” kinda sounds like guilt by association & “thought crime”..

    Perhaps we need a foia request for the chief’s (and this mystery judge’s) list of “favorite” websites?

    • Yes, the ACLU cares at all about gun owners. I hear they’re planning a big open carry rally along with mother Jones and MSNBC.

      • More like “1/2” than “1”. Re religion, they’ve got the “Establishment” part down but the “free exercise” part seems to have eluded them.

  7. By going along with it he is a willing co-conspirator in the civil rights violation that violates the 1st, 4th and 5th amendments of the constitution of everyone that wishes to exercise their 2nd amendment rights.

  8. As a former NY state resident and pistol permit holder, I knew as soon as I saw the letterhead that it was 100 % legit. I lived in a different county, so different judges and licensing authority, but the NY BS is unmistakable. They just make it up as they go along. NY is by far the absolutely worst state in the union for gun owners. I believe NJ is a fairly close 2nd.

    • They didn’t even ask for my Facebook for my FPID in NJ. They simply looked up my profile anyway then called every one of my highschool teachers.

    • NY permits are done county by county, so do not assume this is anything but an isolated incident. Unlike Monroe County in Western NY where the sheriff’s office does the investigation, Albany County forwards the application to your local police dept. Watervliet has a population of 10k, so I think they are just being lazy.

      And NY is not the worst state for gun laws. Other than the SAFE Act, carrying a gun in NY is a lot easier than other states. No Gun signs do not carry the weight of law and there is no restriction to carrying concealed in a bar or drinking. I’d say NJ and MD are the worst; they lock people up for the most innocent of infractions.

  9. Wow, unbelievable…I saw that and thought it was a joke. So what fool is responsible for making the judgment/determination on what facebook persona deserves an approval and which one doesn’t?

    Preposterous and unconstitutional.

    Someone needs to lose their job over this IMO.

  10. Once again I see Illinois is not the worst place to live in America.Sorry I use fakebook sparingly mostly to see my kids and grandkids.

  11. I deleted my facebook the final night of the 2012 election and honesty, Im probably better off for it. Ironically, I think my wife shows me a picture at least once a day from said bastion of privacy.
    But as a time waster, I merely replaced it with TTAG/TTAK now as well and Breitbart.

    LinkedIn however is pretty much standard to have now, at least in my experience, dat networking man!

    First thing that came into my mind seeing that picture was the NY UNSAFE patch.

    http://www.skdtac.com/SKD-NY-Unsafe-Patch-p/skd.416.htm

    • For your own sake, please do some research on LinkedIn.

      It is as bad, if not worse, than Facebook in terms of privacy and overall creepiness.

  12. I’m in the process of getting my pistol permit in Colonie, which is right next to Watervliet. I had to log in to Facebook in front of the officer that interviewed me. The whole process is really invasive.

  13. an important point, don’t know if it was already brought up because I just skimmed the comments: if you login at the cop’s office, using his computer, he’ll very likely have a keyboard sniffer running that *will* store your password. even if you use your own computer, if you aren’t already logged in, and you have to type your password, there could be a camera recording it. this whole requirement is blatantly unconstitutional and I would hope even the most fascist judge would throw it out just to save his own skin.

    • They ask for a f-book account password, they don’t ask for what account.

      Give ’em the one that is the world’s most boring f-book page. No picture, no entries, no nothing.

      The same concept as the the throw-away e-mail addy.

  14. Sounds like time for an enterprising lawyer to start a law suite where there could be a big payout.

    Then again, there are still employers who are asking for the same.

    It is just one more reason why Facebook sucks and cannot go away fast enough.

  15. Weird where I live on NYS there is no interview at all. Full carry no restrictions. No reapplying every few years, can carry where alcohol is severed . It’s a long wait from application to approval though .

  16. I deleted my facebook shortly after graduating college in 2007 and haven’t looked back. That was “way back” when you needed a .edu email address to make an account. Their terms of service basically tell you that they own any photographs or information you post, and can do as they please with them. They have repeatedly proven to not care a bit about user’s privacy. My wife is still on there and thinks I’m a weirdo for not, but I couldn’t care less.

  17. I see email listed. What one you want? Password? I forgotten it? Facebook, Mypage, MySpace, Twitter,snapchat? Whats that? Forums? Also lost my password…
    Oh you want me to bend over! Nope!
    Why are we more scrutinized then the president Berry?

  18. Hmmm, my Facebook page routinely says things like

    -Obama is a terrible president
    -Holder is a criminal
    -gun control laws suck
    -border security is actually important
    -those who fight voter ID laws are morons
    -the 2nd Amendment is about preventing tyranny, not hunting
    -idiotic laws put forth by Democrats
    -idiotic things said by Democrats
    -overuse of SWAT teams
    -re-posted TTAG articles
    -how I don’t want to visit NYC because there laws are terrible
    -the idiotic signing of the ATT Treaty by Kerry

    My Facebook is public. Why hide? Use your 1st Amendment to protect the 2nd. We’re all on a list. I reckon my name just went up a little higher. Once you let the government fear saying what you want, you just prove you are that much easier to control.

    • The officer is welcome to peruse my public Facebook profile as much as he likes. But forcing me to log into my private account, and letting him look around?

      That’s analogous to a police officer driving by your street and reading your yard signs – then pulling in your driveway, demanding you unlock your front door, and invite him in to have a look inside.

      • In lieu of the Facebook request, they could try an alternative method…

        ——–

        Before I sign off on this permit application, I just have a few questions:

        What’s your favorite TV show?
        What kind of music do you like to listen to?
        What concerts have you been to recently?
        Do you have any tattoos?
        Do you own a skateboard?
        What’s the lowest grade you ever got in school?
        What bars do you like?
        What books are you reading now?
        Where do you get your news?
        Who are your friends?
        Where do you hang out with your friends?
        What’s your favorite alcoholic drink?
        Where do you take your vacations?
        What are your thoughts about Edward Snowden?
        Who’s your favorite politician?
        Where do you get your groceries?
        What do you think about Bundy Ranch?
        What are your hobbies?

        Hang on. We’re almost there. I’ve only got another 82 questions to go.

  19. Right at the bottom of the instructions for their application process is this little doozy:

    “Your Pistol Permit is legally a privilege. Treat it as such. The issuing judge has the right to revoke or restrict”

    Oh GOD NY, Please go F yourself already… why do I live here. It makes me wonder.

  20. That question means: “We’ve already decided you can’t have a permit, but we need a reason. And you’re a dummy for remaining in this state.”

  21. If your Facebook profile is a reasonable thing to have access to to determine if you can own a gun or not then the social media of all LEOs should be open to the public. We have a right to know who’s patrolling our streets with guns and tasers right? Something something safety and all that?

  22. That’s cute. Next, will they want your username/password to watch you loginto your bank account, various email accounts, playstation network, xbox live, etc?

    What the hell makes it their business? It should be a simple background/felony/warrant check, residency verification, and done. POS may-issue a-hats.

  23. I don’t buy for a second this came from the ‘judiciary.’ Police departments have been doing this to job applicants for some time.

  24. Surprised that no one has mentioned that revealing your FB password, or allowing others to access your page, is a violation of FB’s user policies.

    https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

    Registration and Account Security

    #8. You will not share your password (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.

    If I had an account (I don’t), this is probably the path I’d take to prevent revealing a password or allowing unsupervised access to my page(s). I would think that it would be fairly easy to gin-up a group of activists that would be happy to loudly protest any deliberate violation of FB’s user policies by a government entity.

    • They are essentially forcing Facebook users to violate contract law since the user by agreeing to comply with Facebook policies entered into a contract with Facebook for use of the service.

  25. 3 violations of the Bill of Rights. I’m fairly certain it is obvious which ones they are. I have a strong feeling that this will be in front of a judge fairly soon.

  26. All of you out there who spat this nonsense about violations of your constitutional rights are insane. Speaking as an officer from a large, highly regarded agency, I will tell you that in the process of my background check my Facebook page was checked in the same manner and I am glad that it was. It was checked as a part of a rather in depth inquiry into my ethics, moral character, acquaintances, and personal life. It was done to build a canvas of the type of person that could be trusted while protecting others and not have their motives or judgment questioned. My view of society prior to becoming a member of law enforcement has not changed since I took my oath, I have simply been exposed to the members of society (while in the confines of their own home) that many of us will never encounter in the course of our lives. If each gun wielding citizen was given as an extensive background check as LEOs, along with the weeks of training on a firing range my perception may change. Gun control as it currently stands is lax. We as humans were meant to evolve and change for the better. I’m not suggesting thar the pillars of our forefathers be disregarded, I’m merely stating that in the world we live in today, all avenues should be explored to ensure the betterment of society.

    • All that extensive background checking, and you still failed miserably. Keeping snd bearing arms is a natural right protected against any government infringement by the constitution. Working as an LEO is not such a right, nor does it afford such constitutional protection.

      Just curious: what other constitutionally protected, natural rights should require such invasive government background checks prior to their exercise?

  27. As long as radical leftist democrats are in power their right to own arms will be in jeopardy. Gun owners need to get active in removing democrats from power and not just because of guns, they have destroyed the economy our our State. We must not let liberal elites in NYC decide the future for all of New York.

    • He’s going ask you “Do you have, or have you ever had, a FB account?”.

      And he’s going to have the investigators that check your references ask all your friends/relatives the same question, probably in a far more sneaky fashion. And if any of them say “yes”, he’ll make a note on your application that you (apparently) lied to investigators, to conceal something or prevent something in your background from becoming known, and then he’ll send that to the judge for review.

      And your permit will be denied.
      Same old story; it’s not the so-called “crime”, it’s the coverup that will get you.

  28. Who would agree to that? As soon as the cops wants to give me there personal information including FB access so I can ask there friends if they should or should not be allowed to be a cops then I might consider it. Until then.. tell the cops to Fu_k Off and die.

  29. This is the point I say screw it and just ignore the law. I’ll carry without permission from those who have no authority to mandate permission. This was covered under the 2A a long time ago.

  30. Why does the title say “or not” when the article you wrote obviously says they do! This is blatant abuse of the second amendment and is completely against the constitution and they should be held accountable for it. Thank you for reporting on this! This is very important for New Yorkers to be aware of.

  31. what human being is fool enough to belong to facecrap?? what parent is fool enough to let their children play video games?? what parent is dumb enough to let their child on a computer unattended?? what parent is stupid enough to give any child of theirs at any age a cell phone?? ameriKan parents, that’s who. the same ones that vote for dems and repubs and who are the true enemy of ameriKa! it’s just that plain and simple.

  32. This is the point at which you no longer comply with their requests. I don’t have FB, I think it’s stupid, do I fail their test because of that?

    How is this legal or even enforceable? “No sir, I don’t have Facebook, now give me my permit to exercise my 2nd Amendment right, please. ”

    Seriously, New York may be number one on my list of states I will NEVER LIVE IN, based on their treatment of the 2nd Amendment, as though it’s more of a privilege that they can dole out to a select few while the rest of the masses are SOL. New York’s ELECTED, the key word is ELECTED officials, by the people, are afforded private sector security on the taxpayer dollar, armed contract security professionals donning full-auto MP5’s and H&K pistols, body armor and the seasons freshest pair of Oakley’s, while law-abiding citizens have to beg for the right to even buy a pistol or ammo. It should make us all sick!

    I would demand that all county officials including the Sheriff submit their own FB passwords and logins so the people can inquire with their FB friends to see if they possess the character and moral fortitude to hold public office.

    New York should change its name to “New Yemen”, to more accurately reflect it’s views on freedom.

    What we need is Unrestricted, Constitutional Carry or at the least Nation Wide CCW reciprocity. If I’m permitted in my home state of Colorado, then I’m good to carry concealed in every state in the Union.

  33. is this for real? and are you people for real?? First, do you really think the police chief gives two shits about what you’re doing on Facebook? Really?! They use it to make sure they’re not hiring some a**hole when it’s time to recruit I’m sure, Not to make sure you’re not doing something offensive or perverse. Nobody in that city would have a gun if they looked at people’s Facebook page…

    • Face palm. This is a pistol permit application (not a recruit application) and what they are asking for is irrelevant and unlawful/unconstitutional. What’s next?? If you don’t have a problem with it…then IMO you seriously need to have your head examined. Try living somewhere like CA or NY, then you’ll understand.

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