HARRISBURG – The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the law firm of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP have won a six-year battle to review an unredacted copy of the Pennsylvania State Police’s policy regarding how it monitors Pennsylvanians’ social media accounts.
In March of 2017, the ACLU of Pennsylvania sent a request to review the policy to Pennsylvania State Police under the state’s Right-To-Know Law. The state police’s open records officer responded by sending a heavily redacted nine-page document. The redactions made the document all but unreadable.
After a series of court decisions, including two appeals to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the state Supreme Court ordered today that the state police provide an unredacted copy of its full social media policy to the ACLU of Pennsylvania.
“Today’s ruling is a win for transparency and the public’s right to hold government accountable through the use of the state’s open records law,” said Andrew Christy, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “It is dangerous for a powerful government entity like the state police to operate in darkness, especially when they are monitoring protected free speech by everyday Pennsylvanians without the public knowing how and why it engages in that surveillance. We applaud the state Supreme Court for shining a light on this policy.”
Alicia Hickok, a Partner at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP said that “we are very grateful to this Supreme Court for its careful consideration of the issues presented here—twice.”
You can read more about this victory at aclupa.org/PSPsocialmedia