Feb 12, 2013

Posted in Omniveillance

“The sheriff has asked all members of the press to stop tweeting immediately. It is hindering officer safety. #Dorner”

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The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department tweeted this message, and later deleted it. No, it’s not prior restraint, because it is merely asking, not instructing the press to do anything. But I can’t remember if I have ever seen such a brazen, and public request, to shut down the press by the state.

Update: I have previously blogged about the inappropriateness (and perhaps illegality) of the government destroying government records in the forms fo tweets.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1344654797 Christopher Baker

    Deleting government documents. Tisk – tisk.

  • Griff

    It’s not totally clear from your post — do you think this is an inappropriate request to make? If so, can you expand on why? As you note, it’s merely a request and therefore perfectly legal; and I don’t have any difficulty imagining that Twitter coverage could potentially make law enforcement’s job more difficult and dangerous in the particular circumstances of this case. So… why not ask them to knock it off with the Twitter?

    • http://joshblackman.com/ Josh Blackman

      In truth, I’m mixed. I don’t care for the precedent it sets. I also find it interesting that the police made the very request to stop tweeting on Twitter. I suppose in the past some sheriff had called the tv station privately, and we never knew about it. Though I do appreciate the need to keep officer’s safe. Broadcasting details of the movement of police forces is not particularly newsworthy. Anyway, I’m mixed.

      • Griff

        FYI, over at Forbes Kash Hill speculates that this may have been related to certain doofuses livetweeting the police scanner. Which I have to admit colors my view of the situation somewhat.

        • http://joshblackman.com/ Josh Blackman

          Is a police scanner signal protected? Or can anyone who buys a police scanner listen to it?