Friday, October 22, 2010

Beware, El Paso Sheriff's Office Uses Social Media To Track You Down

We just went through the whole Sheriff's Department budget cut fiasco and then this happens.

The El Paso Sheriff's Department seems to maintain a Twitter and FaceBook account that are supposed to keep people posted on what is going on on El Paso streets but are being used to track people down.

In a message posted via Twitter on both accounts, the department reminds people that there are only four days left for the Traffic Warrant Round Up. It goes a step further and states:
A gentleman by the name of Jose E. Saavedra posted somewhat of a sarcastic  remark on the Facebook page only to get this response at about 10:30 at night:
‎"@Jose - Thank you for alerting us to your 3 outstanding traffic warrants that you still haven't paid. Have a nice day."
What? A comment on a social website constitutes a background check? damn, I better stop blogging. What am I talking about? Richard and his goons follow every single one of my moves. Don't get me started on that issue.

The Twitter account profile tells people that they can get short and timely messages from the EPCSO Public Affairs Office by signing up for the service. Now we all know that Facebook and Twitter are free social websites. So that is not the issue. But there are some things that need to be answered.

The first set of questions that come to mind are:

How much are we paying this person from the Public Affairs Office to maintain these sites? Why is he or she posting on these sites at about 10:30 at night? Do we pay him or her overtime for posting that late at night?

But what should concern people more is:

Why the heck is the person at the Public Affairs Office running peoples names who post on their 10:30 at night? Mr. Saavedra made one sarcastic comment and within a few hours a Sheriff's employee is thanking him for notifying the department of his three outstanding warrants and sarcastically tells him to have a nice day.

There is definitely something wrong with that. What makes us think that the Sheriff's Department doesn't run all of our names when we post on their profile? I know most of you are going to say "If you didn't do anything wrong then you shouldn't be worried about it" and you are right about that. But the problem is that. It takes man hours to run names. It takes employees to perform those man hours and most importantly it takes money to pay for those man hours.

Is the County of El Paso paying people to watch over what we do on the Internet? Is it a mandated program? Could cutting this practice save the county money?

Not only is this an unmandated program, it is uncalled for and I think there are certain privacy issues that need to be addressed with the County and the Sheriff's Department.

Someone needs to sit down with Jesse Tovar and tell him that he just opened up another can of worms because he had nothing better to do than to harass people on Facebook late at night.

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