Friday, February 02, 2018

Privacy not allowed?

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Gov. Eric Greitens' attorneys say ordering the governor and his staff to stop using an app that erases text messages would violate free speech rights.

The Kansas City Star has reported that Greitens and some of his staff use a Confide app that deletes text messages and prevents them from being saved.

Two St. Louis County attorneys sued, contending use of the app violates Missouri's open records law by making it impossible to know if the governor and his staff use their personal phones for state business. They are seeking a temporary injunction to stop the governor and his staff from using the app.

Greitens' attorneys argue in a brief that an injunction would violate free speech rights by preventing Greitens and his staff from using Confide to send personal messages.



Stan B said...

This is a duel edged sword. We have already seen the use of "private servers" to conceal legitimate government work and the bleedover from private life. We have a myriad of examples of public figures who use "private" accounts to conduct government business - Hilary, Obama, Sheila Jackson to name a few.

The potential for abuse far outweighs the "rights" of public employees to keep "private" messages private.

Anonymous said...


This issue though is them using this app on their personal phones, they are being sued in order for someone to be able to see everything they do on their personal phones.

This suit steps over the bounds of openness into intrusion, even public servants deserve to be able to have privacy in their personal lives.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:30,

This issue though is them using this app on their personal phones, they are being sued in order for someone to be able to see everything they do on their personal phones.

Patently false.

If government workers use their personnel phones for work related issues, the calls are public record. Period.

Missouri statute allows for the withholding of records that may be private. The records custodian must state the record and the reason for withholding or redacting the record.

No one is suing to see all the records. It makes no sense that the workers are deleting everything as the private messages are already allowed to be withheld. The only reason to delete everything is to not allow the public access to messages that are in fact public record.

Paul Weber said...

Does government have the right to control a government employees personal property? If so, then the Federal government needs to secure all of Hillary's emails (personal or not) according to the Federal Records Act.

Bird of Paradise said...

Most all liberals /Socialists reject private property and want the goverment to control everything that's why their so opposed to Trump

Stan B said...

Anon 4:30 AM - you assume GOOD and HONEST people who never discuss work on their private phones are in office. We have a myriad of examples of DISHONEST people who use private communications methods (phones, e-mails, and letters) to CONCEAL work related communications.

The latest FBI scandal (Strzok and Page) actually has a text where the two state they should discuss a matter regarding Trump "offline" - that is, away from devices that capture their discussion.

Public figures already surrender privacy rights to some degree when they become public. The right to privacy in communications is NOT surrendered just because you aren't allowed to delete your texts.

Anonymous said...

Paul Weber,

Does government have the right to control a government employees personal property?

That may be the wrong question.

The messages and the communications belong to the government and by extension, the people.

Therefore, the question is "does an individual have the right to hide / steal / destroy the property of the people?

Anonymous said...

When you are ready to accept having your own private phone calls recorded, all your texts recorded and some strangers then listen to and read all of them at that point you can call for this, until then STFU because you are demanding something of someone else that you won't accept for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:29,

Boy did you miss the mark.

No one is asking that all of the conversations and texts be recorded and turned over. What is being asked is that the texts and emails that by law are public record be maintained and open to public inspection.

As an example, if you send a text or email to a government entity or official, that text or email is open to public review. It doesn't matter from what device the text / email originated. It is part of the public record (for the most part as there are exceptions.)

Why should government employees not be subject to the same laws that regular citizens are subject to?

Anonymous said...

No I did not miss the mark, this is a suit to see what is being done on PRIVATELY OWNED phones, not the public provided ones.

This is no different than your boss where you work saying you have to let your employer review all your text messages and calls from you private phone just in case you did some "work" using it.

Look at the article again. If this had been on the publicly provided phone they use for work, I wouldn't have had a bit of trouble with it but that is not the case here.

Stan B said...

Anon 8:15

The missing component here is that the APP they install erases ALL text messages on their private phones. As public employees, WORK RELATED TEXTS are part of the public record, and deleting them would be considered destruction of such records.

When you work for the Government, there are rules about such work product - and you agree to them when you take the job. If my boss said "Oh, by the way, we want access to your personal texts and e-mails," I'd say no - and leave the job. It is one of those things that is perfectly legal under "conditions of employment."

I keep hearing "personal," but the fact is that if I text my coworker about work - that's not personal anymore, even if done from my personal phone to her personal phone.

And the government already captures most of our texts - or haven't you been paying attention lately?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:15

And you shot and missed again.

I understand that the phones are the privately owned phones of people. But the messages and the emails concerning public and government business due to public record laws belong to the people - not the individual who owns the phone.

You are essentially trying to say that if you went in and stole a document or something else that doesn't belong to you, because it is on your private phone, there is no crime and the document / item is yours.

That's nuts and not the law.

The fact of the matter is that the Missouri State law demands the public messages and protects the private ones. A message from one public official to another public official concerning public business belongs to the public. A message to a spouse saying "get milk" does not belong to the public and is exempted.

This is no different than your boss where you work saying you have to let your employer review all your text messages and calls from you private phone just in case you did some "work" using it.

There is a bit of a difference in that if, for example, you signed an agreement not to discuss work on your private phone and did so, you would be in breach of that agreement. The same is true for the public workers who agreed to the law and are now saying "the law doesn't apply to us."

(And btw - if you are claiming messages and work on your private phone for the purposes of hourly pay, then yes, those messages are open to inspection as proof of the work done.)

Once again, please try and understand that public, governmental business being conducted on a private phone is still subject to sunshine laws. Period.

Those messages have to be disclosed.

Officials cannot get around public disclosure laws by doing public work on any device and saying "that phone doesn't belong to the people." The information as it pertains to government work does belong to the people and not the phone owner.

You doubled down on missing the mark.

Anonymous said...

I stand by my remarks, just because a person is a public employee doesn't give someone else the right to always look over their shoulder.

If someone wanted to conduct public business via texts and hide the activity they would only need to purchase a couple of "burner" phones to get hidden texts which could come from an unknown source and go to an unknown destination and never have to use their personal phone or their work phone.

There are so many easy ways to hide the kind of activity that would violate openness laws that you have to be able to trust the public servant enough to expect them to not be stepping outside the bounds, if you cannot trust them then they should not be in that position.

Those who trust nobody are in fact also the people who cannot be trusted so giving them the right to see someones personal messages merely creates someone who will leak that information.