Thursday, May 21, 2015
I am a father, husband, neighbor, county resident, Californian, American and Chief of Police. I am you and I work for you. All races, beliefs, social statuses...everyone. I think about that, each and everyday as I slip my boots on and head to work.
I am sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States and our own Constitution of California. This is an important concept and really the starting point for my thoughts today.
In October 2013, State Senator Anthony Cannella's revenge porn bill (SB 255) was signed into law by Governor Brown. I applaud Senator Cannella's efforts in protecting Californians with this legislation (more on this later). Also in October 2013, Assemblymember Luis Alejo's Safe and Responsible Driver Act (AB 60) was also signed into law by Governor Brown. AB 60 allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a California Driver's license. Congressman Sam Farr sponsored the bill that made Pinnacles National Park in the State of California as a unit of the National Park System (H.R. 3641). A great addition to our National Park System and the pride of our own San Benito County.
My point being is that these three men, have done a lot for us, you may or may not agree with all of there philosophies but we can agree they are working for us and representing us here locally. I obviously didn't mention their combined list of successful legislation, but it is long for all three. This however, isn't a political ad, statement or endorsement. I'm a cop, therefore I am apolitical.
My job is to protect people and property. It is what all law enforcement officers are sworn to do, daily.
In the last several years, there has been a growing problem within the ranks of our youth and sometimes our adults. The problem permeates almost every facet of our lives.
The problem: Social media needs legislated regulation both in our state and nationally.
I'm not talking about First Amendment regulation. That must be preserved and protected at all costs. I am talking about basic common sense logical legislation that would easily pass the reasonable person standard.
This is about protecting our nations kids, period.
Most social media firms have fairly good tools available to assist law enforcement. I say fairly good, because for the most part they are cooperative AFTER law enforcement obtains a search warrant or a preservation order. Obtaining these documents can take time and serving them electronically can also take time. Time is one of the problems. A lot of damage can be done socially, psychologically and financially when there's extended time in these investigations / inquiries. When an officer serves a preservation or search warrant on social media, they have ten days to respond. Yes I said ten days. Ten days is WAY to long to wait for this information or action by the firm.
We must reduce the time it takes for these incidents to stabilize, significantly.
Here are a few examples of social media / law enforcement related incidents and problems:
Hollister girl posts nude photos and fights on Instagram to gain popularity
5 Capitola students suspended after threat found on Instagram
Nude Snapchat selfie spurs discussion about minors' use of social media
Police investigating 'inappropriate' photos uploaded by students
These are but a few examples in a sea of thousands of social media incidents.
California law is specific - California Penal Code section 647 (4) (A) Any person who intentionally distributes the image of the intimate body part or parts of another identifiable person (Thank you Senator Cannella). There's a few things I think that could be added (ie: acts occurring on school grounds or within 1000 feet of a school, etc), but it's generally a very good addition to California law.
What I would propose to our elected officials is that they help provide the necessary tools for law enforcement to be able to act in a more timely manner and obtain evidence quicker in these types of incidents in social media. What I'm saying is, we need a Social Media Responsibility Act.
What I am asking is:
1) Require the social media firm to take action within 48 hrs upon receipt of a search warrant, preservation warrant or Order to Suspend* account or page.
2) Since social media is 24/7 have an available public safety liaison 24/7 for verifiable emergencies.
3) Have civil penalties to those Social Media firms that do not comply.
* Order to Suspend is a new concept I would be proposing
I am not trying to demonize social media. There have been many positive things that have occurred with the advent of social media. Our department has solved many cases with the help and cooperation of social media firms. Like many things that are new, we need to provide those things to help them be successful. After all, I'm sure folks that work in social media have kids too.