Why Your Mayor is more Dangerous to your Civil Liberties than the NSA
Could your town’s mayor spark a police investigation into your activities that ends with town cops rifling through your mobile phone, your laptop, and the full contents of your Gmail account—all over an alleged misdemeanor based on something you wrote on social media? Not in America, you say? But you’d be wrong. Here, based on e-mail records provided by the city of Peoria to Ars Technica, is what that sort of investigation looks like.
The name on the @peoriamayor account read simply “Jim Ardis”—the actual name of Peoria’s mayor—and it featured Ardis’ official city headshot. Its content was less than mayoral, however, most of it devoted to not particularly clever ways of suggesting that Ardis liked booze, drugs, and prostitutes and that he “woke up with pussy on my breath and blood shot eyes.”
@peoriamayor was never popular; when it first came to the attention of city staffers, the foul-mouthed account was tweeting out bile like “I’m bout to climb the civic center and do some lines on the roof who’s in?” to just 33 people and had been active for just two days. But it was public enough for someone to alert Patrick Urich, Peoria’s city manager, who runs the city’s day-to-day affairs and oversees its $169 million budget and 700 employees.