The Right to Private Snapchats?

Recently, Google employee James Damore was fired for quite rationally and politely expressing his analysis, on a company-sponsored forum, of perceived biological differences between men and women. It seems that his comments did not comport with the politically correct views of Google’s management, so he was punished.

Now a similar issue has arisen in an private school in MO, where a group of students are under investigation by school administration for alleged “racist, profane and sexual” comments made in a private conversation on Snapchat.

Another student who, according to news stories, was not a member of the private Snapchat group and therefore not supposed to be privy to the other students’ conversations, took screenshots of their comments, posted the images on Twitter, and then forwarded the images to school administrators with this “charge”:

Handle this.

The school says it will indeed discipline the students, based upon the belief that this alleged “hate speech,” once made public, damaged the “school community.” An administrator also said that parents should teach their children that “digital media is public and permanent.”

The NAACP weighed in, arguing for the expulsion of the offending students, who are only about 14 years old, being freshman. Zero tolerance. One misstep and offenders must be destroyed (depending, of course, upon who they are).

The thing about Snapchat is that it is not “public and permanent.” The conversation was a private chat. Private.

Snapchat, by design, is ephemeral and “self-deleting.”  By design, the application makes it difficult to take screenshots, if only because one must catch the image before it self-deletes. Also by design, the application notifies the originator if someone takes a screenshot of his or her posts. It’s difficult, not impossible, to screenshot a Snapchat without notification; but one must jump through hoops to do it.

This entire situation raises questions not only about the bounds of political correctness, censorship, free speech, and privacy rights, but also about when and how the legal system will catch up with new technologies.

Various laws protect private conversations when it comes to recording them, whether in person or over wired telephones. Some laws also speak about “electronic communications,” which would seem to include cell phones or other wireless devices, but seeming doesn’t always make it so.  Do Snapchats qualify for privacy protection? Hard for a non-lawyer to determine. If not, when, if ever, will specific laws be enacted to protect “online” conversations that are intended to be private?

Does imaging a Snapchat from someone else’s device violate the Electronic Communications Privacy Act? Again, hard to determine.

At the very least, it seems like an invasion of privacy–akin to eavesdropping or wire-tapping–to capture a private chat that by design is supposed to be ephemeral and self-deleting, preserve the content, and publicize it, holding participants up to ridicule (at best), mainstream media publicity, public condemnation, and eventual punishment. These are children, after all.

Suppose someone planted a bug in another person’s home or car and recorded something politically incorrect that, if publicized, triggered distress and offense in a work or school community. Who, then, caused the distress, which would not have occurred but for publication of the private conversation?

Can words be considered “hate speech” if they’re spoken or written in private, with no intention whatsoever to target any individual?

Suppose students privately discuss and repeat racist and sexist lyrics from popular songs over Snapchat. If another student is offended, will the participants of that conversation be punished?

Suppose students simply listen to music that contains offensive sexist or racist epithets in the privacy of their own homes. Is this allowed or will it, too, be punished if publicized?

The problem with this trend is easy to see.

We’ve been told that students, no matter how young, have constitutional rights. It’s harder to punish students in public schools for their speech than in private schools, just as it’s easier for a private company to fire someone because of his or her speech than for a government agency to do so.

This post isn’t intended to condone the language used by the students in question, nor to dismiss the difficulty of the conundrum now faced by school administrators, once placed in this minefield of a situation.

The issues of concern for this post are the capture, publication, and dissemination of private speech, with punishment soon to be meted out to those who made the comments (or jokes) in private.

Where will this trend end?

What’s next? Thought crime?

If the trend continues, whatever you or your children say in private may some day cause you or your children to be treated like modern-day Hester Prynnes.

Are you ready to have your private speech policed by a contemporary version of Javert, perhaps to some day be forced to, if only figuratively, wear a Scarlet Letter so that you, too, can be publicly shamed and punished for ill-advised speech?




120 responses to “The Right to Private Snapchats?


    Malkin says it all and speaks for many, many, many of us with regard to DACA.

    “Nancy Pelosi called on House Republicans to help her “safeguard our young DREAMers from the senseless cruelty of deportation and shield families from separation and heartbreak.”

    Never has this Bay Area elitist called on House Republicans to join her in shielding native-born and law-abiding immigrant families from the senseless and preventable violence committed by criminals in this country illegally who’ve caused immeasurable heartbreak for decades in her overrun California sanctuary.

    Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose son was mercilessly shot to death by a sanctuary-protected gang member living in outlaw-coddling Los Angeles illegally, administered a bracing reality check:

    “You want to talk about families being separated? Try spending your holidays talking to a grave!” …”

    Wow. Tell it like it is, Michelle.

  2. We need more!!

  3. I love Lou! 😀


    The students (5 freshman girls) have been separated from the school “community.” Whether this means they were expelled (as lamestream media are reporting) or whether they chose to leave (and who wouldn’t, after the shame game?) is unknown and probably will stay unknown, unless the parents decide to take some kind of steps. On the other hand, it may not be enough for some and it’s entirely possible that someone will eventually identify the girls in order to shame them further, so that their shame continues throughout their lifetimes.

  5. Miami Beach Mayor Says Residents Must Leave: ‘This Is A Nuclear Hurricane’…
    ‘No Buildings We Can Guarantee To Keep People Safe’…
    Storm tightens aim on Florida…
    Could impact EVERY major city…
    FEMA Chief: Will be ‘devastating’…
    Thousands of troops deployed…
    Supplies cleaned out…
    Gas Stations Run Dry…
    Military and State Police Escort Fuel Trucks…
    Airlines scramble, roads fill in rush to get out…
    Cruise passengers fear finding escape plan…
    Flight that raced the hurricane…

    WHERE WILL SHE TURN? … life in the fast lane? WOW!

    • I don’t agree with all of his manifesto, but he should never have been fired for writing it. Why have a private, in-house forum if people can’t speak freely?

      • He’s spot on when he talks about how shaming is the antithesis of psychological safety. Just imagine what those five girls, barely into their teens, in what’s probably their first few weeks of high school, went through these past few days. Again, I’m not excusing their speech, but they’re kids. Who wasn’t stupid at that age? By rights, we shouldn’t even know what they said (although maybe their parents are happy to have learned about it).

        Why is a senior boy hanging out with female freshman, anyway? I suppose it doesn’t matter. I need a translator to explain the entire thread of their conversation. It makes little sense but did seem like kidding, joking, or even teasing. In any case, it was a private conversation, like text messages but not saved anywhere (except in the quickly created screen shots, apparently).

        Did this school have any concern for the psychological effect of the VERY public shaming these girls went through? What about the betrayal they must have felt when a supposed friend outed them that way?

        Does the punishment fit the crime? I don’t think so. It’s life changing in the short term, obviously, and potentially long lasting, if the record of this incident (labeled forever with a scarlet R?) follows them throughout their lives. Is THIS fair? In proportion?

        Imagine if someone took all your emails and published them online. Or got hold of your phone, copied all your saved messages, and published them, even sending copies to your boss. Big Brother IS watching us all now. Is anybody safe? Can anybody speak freely anymore?

        Self-appointed big brothers are out there. How long before someone records a conversation overheard in a public place and decides to “out” the speaker, if the words spoken “offend” the eavesdropper? With today’s technology, nobody is truly anonymous. With everybody equipped with a camera cell phone and the ability to record and then upload it instantly to the Internet, it’s only a matter of time. And the media are complicit in this, provided the victims are people who are conservative, or religious, or simply politically incorrect, or the “wrong” color.

        It’s not beyond the realm of possibility these days. I became aware, through social media, of a situation where an acquaintance took it upon himself to accost someone in a restaurant, who was wearing a shirt with what HE considered to be an inappropriate, offensive, “triggering” logo on it. The perp proudly virtue signaled to his entire group of followers, who on cue applauded him for interrupting this other person’s meal to chastise and berate him over the shirt he was wearing! This is the mentality of the young these days. Is this a hopeful trend? I think not.


      The Great Google Exodus? Where have these people been? I’ve not used Google for years. Sadly, though, the other search engines don’t seem to be up to snuff. Every one of them has its pluses and minuses.

    • I had read that somewhere before but didn’t know that her own mother said this! I hadn’t investigated it. That woman doesn’t look at all like the photo they’re putting out there, as seen above at the start of the video. So was she the large woman who was lying on the ground, being worked on? Why do they use this other photo, which looks suspiciously like another person by the same name (who is still alive)? There are cases where if someone has a heart attack as a result of a criminal act, the perp is still charged with murder (maybe just second degree or involuntary manslaughter). IF there’s ever a trial (as with Awan), we may find out; but I suspect there will be no trial.

        • That’s amazing, isn’t it?

            • This is really bugging me. Story after story says she was “killed” or “murdered” when a car crashed into a group of protesters. Some stories say specifically that she was “crossing the street” when she was “hit” by a car. I KNOW I read somewhere in a lamestream story that she was sandwiched between two cars. I tried over and over to FIND anybody that remotely looks like her in that accident and NO LUCK. So now it’s a heart attack. Now it’s the large woman lying on the ground minus her pants, being worked on. A heart attack. Some stories just say she was “killed” when the cars crashed, but of course, Clintonesquely, they don’t SPECIFICALLY SAY she was hit by the car. He was charged with SECOND-DEGREE murder. But they’ve told us it was INTENTIONAL, so why not first-degree murder? We know the answer. This entire thing is a sham. In the same way they try to blame Fields and white nationalists for the deaths of those cops in a HELICOPTER ACCIDENT miles away, they’re trying to blame her death on the “alt-right,” too. We have been SO DUPED. Now check out the photo gallery at this link: There are 24 photos. The first 4 are of Heather, some “glamour” shots, but not looking at all like the woman on the ground. She certainly put on a lot of weight in the interim, which may be the cause of her death. Does a prosecutor REALLY think they’re going to be able to blame her heart attack on the accident because, presumably, witnessing it caused her to have it? Do you think there will REALLY be a trial?

              I wonder how most people in this country will feel when they learn, if they EVER do, that she was NOT killed in the accident by the car, as we’ve all been led to believe? Why wasn’t the video of her mother saying she had a heart attack played on the lamestream news? The media are such LIARS.

            • Look how dishonest this story is. The implication is that she was hit by the cars. Isn’t it interesting that the black guy who went flying was ALSO her friend? I thought I remembered reading another friend’s account that also left the impression that she was hit by the car(s). Where is she if she was with him when he was struck?

              Look at this one:

              “The crash left Heyer lying on the pavement alongside another victim, the Daily News reports. …”

              That story says:

              “The father of the woman mowed down by a crazed white supremacist said his daughter truly believed in fighting for justice. … Heyer was among 20 who were injured in the attack during a counter-protest. …”

              Look at this photo:

              FR people say that’s her, black shirt, strap across her back, hair in a bun–she’s next to the black flag on the left. There are at least five people between her and the cars. If that’s her, she was NOT struck by the car(s). Obviously. I do see a couple other heavy-set women in black to her left. One has the red neckerchief that indicates a ring-leader of the protest. I believe Heather WAS a ringleader. One story says she was active in the election and outraged by the results. She’s an activist. Without seeing the faces, we can’t be sure. There are enough videos out there that may show that scene from another angle. The thing is it’s totally disingenuous at best to say she was KILLED by the CAR plowing into protesters. She died of a heart attack. It would surely be interesting to see the secondary causes of death. One has to wonder what sort of pressure may be put on the ME to classify it as a homicide. It cannot be done.

              It is INFURIATING how the lying media distort things and play upon people’s emotions for political ends. Frightening, too.

              • IF that isn’t her, there’s commentary at FR where they have a screenshot of the video that shows a large woman in black, already on the ground when the car hits the other cars. The implication is that she was trampled and knocked down by others in the crowd.

    • Gosh. That almost sounds like fake news. What’s going on with McLame? Not like him to actually support something the people want.

  6. This is incredible. So remind me why Trump is president and what happened to MAGA?

    LOIS LERNER OFF THE HOOK. Sessions says no point in reopening the case–they’re NOT going to charge her with ANYTHING.

  7. ^^^^ SORRY won’t allow the video … please remove the last 2..OK

  8. yesterday’s paper ….GOT FISH?!

  9. You don’t stop Laughing because you grow old. ^^^^^^

    You grow OLD because you stop Laughing! …so just may-b …?

  10. hear it was ALL …set up ^^^ the meeting with Bill & Lynch..everything
    was PRE-PLANNED …that’s WHAT G O T him 2 spill the BEANS …
    Comey the CHEATER made it HIS…RED LINE ^^^ got it ALL ROLLING
    O’ SO SORRY …the PLAN ….BLEW UP in them ULGY FACES !!!! O’

    No Justice,….. no Peace — of Birthday cake.
    A Birthday celebration for Rev. Al Sharpton’s daughter ended in HandCuffs early Saturday after she Punched a cabbie in Midtown & snatched his keys, police sources said.
    Ashley Sharpton was in a yellow taxi just before 1 a.m. with 3 of her friends near the intersection of W. 48th St. & Ninth Ave. Each of the passengers gave the driver a different destination. The cabbie Georges Coly — annoyed & confused — stopped the car & refused to move until Sharpton’s group could figure out where they wanted to go.
    That’s when Sharpton, who was sitting in the Front passenger seat, Grabbed the Keys from the Ignition, according to cops. She jumped out of the car & Threw the Keys — which the driver didn’t see.
    Thousands rally for justice on anniversary of MLK ‘Dream’ speech
    When Coly, 44, approached her demanding his keys back Sharpton began shoving him, the cabbie told police.

    Sharpton R A N….off but cops Caught up with her about 2 hours later on
    W. 46th St. & took her into custody. Cops gave her a desk appearance ticket & sent her home. A police source said she wasn’t charged with assault because the cabbie wasn’t injured. WTF ???? NOT INJURED…O’ I see

  12. & …… “The Wind Cries Mary” ~ ~ ~ JIMI Hendrix ~ ~ ~

    After all the jacks are in their boxes
    And the clowns have all gone to bed
    You can hear happiness staggering on down the street footprints dressed in red

    And the wind whispers Mary

    A broom is drearily sweeping up the broken pieces of yesterdays life
    Somewhere a queen is weeping
    Somewhere a king has no wife

    And the wind, it cries Mary

    The traffic lights, they turn, uh, blue tomorrow
    And shine their emptiness down on my bed
    The tiny island sags down stream
    Cause the life that lived is, is dead

    And the wind screams Mary

    Uh-will the wind ever remember the names it has blow in the past?
    And with this crutch, its old age
    And its wisdom it whispers, “No, this will be the last”

    And the wind cries Mary

  13. LIKE an ANIMAL ?.. BUTT’-U could have done a quick “FLOOR~ROLL”?

  14. EGO $$$ MONEY ..2 BURN?.. SHARE some …JUST ASK HOW?
    …… OR …LOOK …AROUND …. GIVE IT UP !!!!

  15. GOP been dead for a long time.
    This is the funeral.

    • That is SO true. They haven’t been an opposition party for years. They’re just the complicit-with-DemoncRATS party. They don’t have the guts to stick together, the way the DemoncRATS do. RINOs and GOPe people need to be VOTED OUT. What concerns me, though, is that like McLame, all the positive attention coming from the media and the DemoncRATS for Trump, for “cooperating” with the DemoncRATS, will go to his head and in effect we’ll just have another DemoncRAT POTUS. The Republicans need to get their act together. They’re trumpeting that Trump’s approval is up to 46% now. So the rigged polls are going to give him credit and make it APPEAR as if saving the “Dreamers” is what people want. I hope he doesn’t fall for it. It’s as likely his poll numbers are up (if they are or if they were ALWAYS UP and they lied about them being down) because of the hurricane response.

  16. Birds seeking shelter.

    • Awww. Seriously? They showed on TV that zoo flamingos were being sheltered in the men’s room, but what’s up with the parrots? Are these wild birds? So sad to see. I hope somebody let them in.


      • ~ Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America ….. ‘book’
        Beloved, the deed has been done. We have—since that ‘we’ must contain, by virtue of our system of government, if not the will, then at least the implied consent, of even the people who opposed with all their souls the choice you made—elected Donald J. Trump as president of the United States of America. Please take measure of every phrase in that sentence.

        Whether he wishes to be or not, Donald Trump is the epitome, not only of white innocence and white privilege, but of white power, white rage, and yes, even of white supremacy.

        The greatly stepped-up harassment of people of color, and Muslims, and immigrants in the wake of Trump’s election points to the sea change in our naked tolerance for such assaults, in the permission granted to diabolical forces that rob us even more of comity and support of the commonweal.

        Donald Trump harms our nation’s positive racial future.

        Yet, beloved, there remains, after all, the blackness that is prophecy, the blackness that is inexplicable hope in the face of savage hopelessness.

        Beloved, if the enslaved could nurture, on the vine of their desperate deficiency of democracy, the spiritual and moral fruit that fed our civilization, then surely we can name and resist demagoguery; we can protest, and somehow defeat, the forces that threaten the soul of our nation. To not try, to give up on the possibility that we can make a difference, can make the difference, is to give up on our past, on our complicated, difficult, but victorious past. Donald Trump is not our final, or ultimate, problem. The problem is, instead, allowing hopelessness to steal our joyful triumph before we work hard enough to achieve it.

        —Michael Eric Dyson. … ~ December 2016.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s