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Information for Those of Us Blocked By Various TSA Social Media Accounts

Information for Those of Us Blocked By Various TSA Social Media Accounts

Old Apr 14, 2017, 8:15 am
  #1  
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Loudoun County (VA) 1st Amendment Case -- TSA Implications??

I figure this is headed to Bad OMNI before sundown, but I figured I would start it out here because some of us have been banned from Propaganda Village and various TSA-related social media sites by government employees in a similar manner to this court case. Sorry for the length, but there are a lot of moving parts.

Federal Judge Sides with Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney in First Amendment Suit. The title is somewhat misleading because the judge didn't entirely throw the Constitution in the shredder. Also, the Commonwealth's Attorney (Elected DA most everywhere else) backed off in a couple of key areas. There was also a cheap shot thrown at the plaintiff by the CA worthy of any TSA "blame the victim" tactic.

Let's start right in... I've bolded what I consider to be key points relevant to how the TSA has treated some FTers:

Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman (R) did not violate the First Amendment by deleting the Facebook comment of Lansdowne resident Brian Davison, U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris ruled in late March.

Cacheris's decision brings to a close a contentious civil rights suit against Plowman, who deleted Davison's critical comment and later blocked the local resident from his official Facebook page.

Over the course of the last year, as the lawsuit unfolded, Plowman eventually restored Davison’s ability to comment. Plowman and county officials have updated a Loudoun County social media policy that used to say public officials have the right to delete comments they deemed “clearly off topic.” The revised county policy states public officials are no longer allowed to delete “off-topic” comments.

<snip>

Davison also believes that, had he not taken Loudoun’s top prosecutor to court, Plowman would have never restored his right to post on his official Facebook page.
Apparently, a lot of the litigation in this case had to do with whether or not the plaintiff's comment was "off topic" or not. This was ultimately never tested again because the County changed their policy on "off topic" comments.

Almost forgot the cheap shot:

The commonwealth's attorney also noted that Davison's suit cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars.

“It’s unfortunate because as fiscally conscious as [Davison] seems to be with government spending, he wasted tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money, which is a bit of an irony in this whole thing,” Plowman added.
Are you listening, Blogdad Bob? Lisa Farbstein? AskTSA? Although this case stopped short of a ban on deleting public comments because Loudoun County changed their policy, it demonstrates that at least one level of government backed off when pressed.

For further reading:

DHS Social Media Comment Policy

Loudoun County Social Media Comment Policy (Post-lawsuit)

Interestingly, Loudoun County's policy is that the moderator of a county site cannot delete a comment or ban a person by themselves. Also, Loudoun has a stated appeal process. As yu might expect, none of this internal oversight exists in the DHS and component units.
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Old Sep 1, 2017, 2:01 pm
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Information for Those of Us Blocked By Various TSA Social Media Accounts

Basically, a federal judge ruled that it was illegal: Davison vs. Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.

Defendant’s offense at Plaintiff’s views was therefore an illegitimate basis for her actions—particularly given that Plaintiff earned Defendant’s ire by criticizing the County government. Indeed, the suppression of critical commentary regarding elected officials is the quintessential form of viewpoint discrimination against which the First Amendment guards. By prohibiting Plaintiff from participating in her online forum because she took offense at his claim that her colleagues in the County government had acted unethically, Defendant committed a cardinal sin under the First Amendment.
There's plenty more in the court document. So, I am filing a complaint to the DHS IG -- more of a "class action" thing but citing the situations in which a couple of my noms-de-plume were blocked from various TSA social media sites. The federal judge clearly stated that this action was a violation of the plaintiff's First Amendment rights.

If you have had a similar First Amendment violation, go for it and file your own complaint.
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Old Sep 1, 2017, 4:29 pm
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Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much
Basically, a federal judge ruled that it was illegal: Davison vs. Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.



There's plenty more in the court document. So, I am filing a complaint to the DHS IG -- more of a "class action" thing but citing the situations in which a couple of my noms-de-plume were blocked from various TSA social media sites. The federal judge clearly stated that this action was a violation of the plaintiff's First Amendment rights.

If you have had a similar First Amendment violation, go for it and file your own complaint.
Is TSA going to appeal?
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Old Sep 1, 2017, 4:38 pm
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Originally Posted by chollie
Is TSA going to appeal?
Wouldn't put it past them to appeal a decision for a case in which they weren't a litigant.
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Old Sep 1, 2017, 4:50 pm
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Could you please explain the thread title?
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Old Sep 1, 2017, 6:23 pm
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Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much
Basically, a federal judge ruled that it was illegal: Davison vs. Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.



There's plenty more in the court document. So, I am filing a complaint to the DHS IG -- more of a "class action" thing but citing the situations in which a couple of my noms-de-plume were blocked from various TSA social media sites. The federal judge clearly stated that this action was a violation of the plaintiff's First Amendment rights.

If you have had a similar First Amendment violation, go for it and file your own complaint.
Similar complaint filed with DHS OIG claiming civil rights violation by specific TSA employees.

Deaf ears, uncaring, bigger fish. Besides TSA blocks DHS OIG from TSA documents. If TSA doesn't care about its OIG why expect them to give a rats behind about mere citizens?
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Old Sep 2, 2017, 7:52 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite
Could you please explain the thread title?
There are several of us who have been blocked on various TSA twitter accounts for posting things that TSA doesn't want known.

For instance, one TSA spokeswoman blocked me when I called her out multiple times for posting PII on a passenger from whom a weapon was confiscated. TSA is a government agency and as such cannot block individuals from posting to their accounts. If TSA doesn't like what is posted, then TSA should not have social media accounts.
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Old Sep 2, 2017, 9:08 am
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Originally Posted by petaluma1
There are several of us who have been blocked on various TSA twitter accounts for posting things that TSA doesn't want known.

For instance, one TSA spokeswoman blocked me when I called her out multiple times for posting PII on a passenger from whom a weapon was confiscated. TSA is a government agency and as such cannot block individuals from posting to their accounts. If TSA doesn't like what is posted, then TSA should not have social media accounts.
TSA seems to think they can, are doing so, and nothing is stopping them from continuing.

So much for that dusty old Constitution.
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Old May 7, 2018, 3:05 am
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Have you been blocked by TSA? (E.g. Twitter @TSA, @AskTSA, …)

This isn't about my own litigation; I'm just coordinating this as a public service.

FTers have contacted me saying that they were blocked by TSA.

IANAL, but I can get FOIA/PA records for you. It's much easier if I do it for several people at once.

Perhaps more importantly, I'm quite sure that this is unconstitutional — especially in the context of Twitter AskTSA, which TSA has explicitly put forward as a public forum for people to ask questions about its policies (and therefore to discuss them), and uses as such on an ongoing basis.

I've talked with lawyers who are currently litigating a closely related issue. They are potentially interested in taking this, and (unlike me) can represent you in court. I can help get you connected, and set it up to make it easier for them.

If you know anyone else who's been blocked, please point them to this post and encourage them to contact me.

If you've been blocked by any TSA account in any form, please email me at [email protected], or contact me privately, with the following details:
  1. for each block:
    1. the blocked account
    2. confirmation that you own it
    3. the TSA account(s) from which it was blocked
    4. approx. time of block(s)
    5. any info about why it was blocked (eg messages sent before the block that you believe triggered it)
  2. your full legal name
  3. your state & date of birth
  4. whether you are a U.S. citizen
  5. whether you give me permission to use FOIA / Privacy Act to request records about it on your behalf, and to receive Privacy Act protected information about you (you'll need to sign my Privacy Act waiver form, but this is the basic info)
  6. whether you give me permission to forward your information to (very qualified) lawyers interested in litigating the issue
I promise not to disclose any private information about you without your consent.

If you have any substantive questions or feedback about the above, or any specific case of blocking, please contact me privately.

If you have any comments about the whole issue of TSA blocking people because they don't like being criticized, etc., the reply box is below.

PS FWIW, I am a US citizen, and my full legal name is Sai. (Yes, just Sai. I'm for-real mononymic.) I keep the other info private though.

Last edited by saizai; May 7, 2018 at 3:31 am
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Old May 23, 2018, 3:53 pm
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In related news: KFAI v Trump won case against @ realDonaldTrump blocking people on Twitter

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...?noredirect=on
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs.../05/Ruling.pdf

Declaratory relief granted; injunctive relief declared available, but not granted for now, based on the assumption that the government will of course obey the law once they know what it is. (How touchingly optimistic.)
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Old May 23, 2018, 6:56 pm
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Originally Posted by saizai
In related news: KFAI v Trump won case against @ realDonaldTrump blocking people on Twitter

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...?noredirect=on
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs.../05/Ruling.pdf

Declaratory relief granted; injunctive relief declared available, but not granted for now, based on the assumption that the government will of course obey the law once they know what it is. (How touchingly optimistic.)
Do you suppose that @TSA and @ASKTSA as well as individual TSA spokespeople will take note?
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Old May 23, 2018, 10:07 pm
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Originally Posted by petaluma1
Do you suppose that @TSA and @ASKTSA as well as individual TSA spokespeople will take note?
Not voluntarily.
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Old May 24, 2018, 4:31 am
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Old May 24, 2018, 8:41 am
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This ruling is from a different federal judge than the one who made a similar ruling in Davison v Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. In both cases, the public official was using a personal social media account as a communication tool for their official elected duties. The fact that Trump used Twitter directly relates to the TSA's use of Twitter for AskTSA and TSAMedia_LisaF.
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Old May 24, 2018, 8:43 am
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Originally Posted by petaluma1
Do you suppose that @TSA and @ASKTSA as well as individual TSA spokespeople will take note?
In a perfect world, or even in a competent world, the OMB director would send out a letter to all agencies directing them to comply with the federal judge's ruling. I also believe in unicorns.
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