From the Huffington Post:
Four speakers recounted the ways that their lives have been negatively impacted by the FBI’s designation of Juggalos as a gang.
New Mexico resident Crystal Guerrero said that she lost custody of two children because she went to one Insane Clown Posse show. Laura King of Fredericksburg, Virginia, recounted how she was permanently placed on a gang registry while she was on probation for a DUI offense because she had a tattoo of the hatchet man symbol. Jessica Bonometti was fired from her job as a probation officer in Woodbridge, Virginia, because she liked some Insane Clown Posse-related photographs on Facebook.
Fans of the Insane Clown Posse have been identified as gang members since the FBI designated them as a loosely organized hybrid gang. That designation means that routine things that fans do, such as like images of the band or wear band-related clothes, can lead to profound life consequences. It also raises questions about what kinds of information entertainment providers, like Spotify, Apple Music, and Google’s Play Store can disclose to government agencies upon request. Where those companies have information that a subscriber ‘likes’ an ICP track, would disclosing it lead to serious life impediments as individuals try to cross a border, get a government job, or work with children? What policies are in place to prevent governments from fishing for ICP fans, based on likes?
Though it might seem absurd that liking a particular song could harm your life prospects, the possibility that this could happen reveals how metadata — in this case, information of a persons preferences linked to audio or video content — can be more important than the content itself. Viewing a music video or listening to an album may not be sufficient to reveal a person’s ‘affiliations’ but the positive act of liking the video or album is enough to classify someone as a ‘member’ of the ICP ‘organization’.
What happens when someone liked a video or song or album years ago? How can an agency confirm that the person who owns the account was the person who indicated support for the content? And what recourse do people have when the actions of the far past rise up to detrimentally affect them?
While the former head of the NSA bluntly said that his agency used metadata as part of the equation to kill people abroad, less is said about how law enforcement organizations might use metadata to detrimentally impact the lives of persons living within the continental United States. It’s high time that more attention is paid to domestic authorities’ use of metadata and the domestic consequences of its analysis given how it can be used to ruin people’s life chances.