NYPD Lied About National Security During An Attempt To Obtain A Journalist’s Records From Twitter

This is a lie. There’s no way around it. I’m sure the NYPD will come up with some excuse for this, but it will probably take a lawsuit to obtain the underlying documents, if not the NYPD’s internal justifications.

This all started with shooting in New York City. NY Post Police Bureau Chief Tina Moore obtained — and tweeted — graphic crime scene photos apparently leaked by an NYPD employee. Rather than limit itself to investigating the leak internally, the NYPD decided to drag the reporter into this.

The subpoena to turn over documents, provided to The Post by Twitter, directs the social media company to produce all device and contact information associated with the user handle @Tinamoorereport, as well as all the handle’s connection history between Oct. 9 and Oct. 14.

During that time, Moore obtained and tweeted a gory crime scene photos from a dice-game shooting in Brooklyn that left four dead and three injured. Those photos appear to be at the center of the NYPD subpoena.

This isn’t just sort of wrong. This is very wrong. The state’s shield law explicitly says this sort of thing isn’t allowed.

New York’s Shield Law codifies the privilege, arising under the First Amendment, that protects professional journalists from compulsory disclosure of confidential sources contacted or materials obtained in the course of gathering information for public dissemination.

Under New York law a professional journalist is defined as one who is engaged in “….gathering, preparing, collecting, writing, editing, filming, taping or photographing of news intended for a newspaper, magazine, news agency, press association or wire service or other professional medium or agency which has as one of its regular functions the processing and researching of news intended for dissemination to the public…”

Maybe the NYPD thought it wasn’t breaking the law because it sent the subpoena to Twitter, rather than to the journalist. Maybe the NYPD just didn’t care. Either way, the state’s law shields Moore from these demands for information. If the NYPD has a leak problem, it needs to handle it without threatening First Amendment-protected activities.

But it somehow gets worse. The NYPD cited two authorities in its subpoena [PDF]. The first is somewhat redundant: Section 14-137 of the New York City administrative code simply gives the NYPD the power to issue subpoenas. The second citation, however, makes no sense. And it’s this citation that makes it a lie.

See also USA Patriot Act, P.L. 107-56, Section 211 codified at 47 USCS Section 551(c)(2)(D).

This isn’t a terrorism case. This is a standard shooting case not tied to any suspected terrorist activity. But it appears the NYPD thought throwing that on the form would maybe allow it to gather all of the following with minimal protest from Twitter:

any/all detailed subscriber, profile, contact, billing and payment information; any/all associated email account(s)/ screen name(s)/ user name(s)/ domain name(s); any/all associated ISP/ESP provided or externally based storage account(s); any/all SERVER, CM, CPE, DHCP, GUID, FTP, IIS, Twitterpic address history and connection logs; any/all MAC or IP address history, length of service and connection logs related to this request for the account(s), subject(s), and any associated electronic device(s) using the following Twitter user name: @TinaMoorereport

It’s a fishing expedition designed to give the NYPD additional entities to throw subpoenas at, presumably with the same nonsensical reference to the Patriot Act attached. It’s unclear whether Twitter handed over this info. Whatever the case, it has actually made the pro-NYPD New York Post a bit less supportive of New York’s Finest. An op-ed from the paper’s editorial board says the NYPD should know better than to go after a journalist’s sources… and it definitely shouldn’t do this while pretending a normal shooting was somehow related to national security.

Unfortunately, the NY Post can’t bring itself all the way around on the issue, which results in the incongruity of a city paper seeing actual abuse of a law it loves but still refusing to criticize the abused law.

We’ve been firm supporters of the Patriot Act from the start, even as its critics have warned that law enforcement would seek to abuse such extraordinary powers by applying it to cases that have nothing to do with national security.

Now the NYPD — or its lawyers — has just given those critics some powerful fodder, undermining a law that helps keep this terror-target city safe.

Yes, people who abuse easily-abusable laws are bad. But bad laws that lend themselves to abuse are bad too, whether or not anyone gets around to abusing them. That’s the hard truth the Post will have to face at some point. But I guess the wholly-unjustified targeting of one of its reporters isn’t the “road to Damascus” moment it’s looking for.

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blacklistednews/hKxa/~3/x6qCws_GJ7k/nypd-lied-about-national-security-during-an-attempt-to-obtain-a-journalists-records-from.html

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