B.C. Facebook password spat resolved
B.C. MLA Nicholas Simons says he has come to a successful resolution with the provincial NDP over the demand he give up his social media passwords in order to run for the party's leadership.
The party's rules for would-be leadership candidates call for them to hand over passwords to social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter.
Simons said Wednesday he submitted his leadership documents without the passwords, saying he was protecting not only his own privacy but that of everyone on his Facebook friends list or anyone who has ever sent him a private message on the service.
On Monday, Simons announced that he and the party had come to an agreement that meant he could run for the leadership without revealing the passwords.
"I'm proud of my party for recognizing the importance of a good vetting process for candidates and the importance of protecting privacy," he said in a release. "This is an example of creating good policy that works for our province and our party."
Simons said that instead of passwords, he is providing evidence to the B.C. NDP showing that all aspects of his social networking sites are public.
Privacy commissioner investigating
The party's stated intention is to uncover any potentially embarrassing posts that could damage the reputation of the NDP or the candidate.
But that explanation didn't wash with a provincial watchdog.
B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said Friday she had launched a formal investigation to determine if the B.C. NDP was breaking the law by making the password demand on candidates.
"At first blush, I think the idea of a political candidate having their full social media profiles examined and vetted appears to be problematic from a privacy perspective," Denham said.
The party is in the midst of a campaign to replace leader Carole James, who resigned in December under pressure from a faction of her caucus.
In addition to Simons, MLAs Adrian Dix, Mike Farnworth and John Horgan are seeking the leadership, along with marijuana advocate Dana Larsen.
With files from the CBC's Jeff Davies