Don’t further divide police from the community

There is a certain amount of irony when a bill designed to protect individual privacy, preventing prospective employers from asking their applicants for social network user names or passwords, excludes law enforcement agencies from the mandate (The Maui News, March 7). Never mind that the right to privacy is derived from the Bill of Rights, a document written to protect citizens from intrusive government agents.

Consider that the people we hire to protect those rights will be told that their own privacy is a second-class right. How can we expect our police officers to respect our privacy when we fail to protect theirs? Is there a more effective tool to further divide police officers from the community they’re supposed to protect and serve?

Our government officials, especially those in law enforcement, can access enough information to determine who they’ll hire without demanding that their applicants open their letters, journals and emails for inspection. Why should social networks be any different? And, if they’re not, where will the government stop – there’s no principle to apply. The law enforcement exemption needs to be excised before this Legislature sanctions such a law.

Jim Tang