ACLU warns WA Gov. Inslee about ‘customer logging’ requirement


Gov. Jay Inslee has been cautioned by the ACLU of Washington that a requirement for customers to log in when they visit a restaurant or other stores could cause problems. (YouTube, KIRO News screen snip)

The ACLU of Washington has warned Evergreen State Gov. Jay Inslee in a five-page letter that the new “customer logging” requirement now imposed on certain businesses, such as stores and restaurants, could be a “chilling” privacy invasion and disproportionately affect people of color.

The Friday letter, which may be read here, ACLU Washington Executive Director Michele Storms warns, “While we respect that the recently issued customer logging requirements aim to improve the process of manual contact tracing, the mandatory collection of contact information from customers is an invasion of privacy. Tracking which businesses a person enters, and when and where individuals congregate together, will also have a substantial chilling effect on people’s freedom of association and freedom of expression.”

Storms also advised Inslee, one of several Democrat governors around the country taking heat for what critics are calling vast overreaches of their authority, “Additionally, compulsory customer logging without strict policies to protect privacy and civil liberties may lead to law enforcement becoming involved in implementation of these requirements. This is of concern because public health experts have cautioned that a punitive approach to combating disease is less effective than relying on voluntary measures.”

The ACLU chief put it bluntly, “People should not be punished or otherwise disadvantaged for refusing to provide their contact information. Access to public accommodations, such as stores and restaurants, should not be conditioned on providing personal information or carrying identification. Punitive policies also raise racial equity concerns. Experience has shown that sanctions are almost invariably imposed disproportionately on people of color.”

Inslee is scheduled to speak at the “virtual” fund raising luncheon for Washington State’s billionaire-backed gun prohibition lobbying group, the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility. That group is trying to raise $1 million by May 31 to fund its gun control activities in Washington. Inslee has been a perennial gun control supporter dating back to his days in Congress.

In an email fund raising blast, the Alliance reported that it has already raised $491,000 toward its big money goal.

Meanwhile, Evergreen State gun owners do not appear to have such a fund raising mechanism in place, nor anywhere near that amount of cash.

Earlier this week, the Wisconsin state Supreme Court nullified Gov. Tony Evers’ “stay-at-home” orders, immediately allowing businesses to open up. Evers is also a Democrat.

In Michigan, demonstrators have gone to the capitol in Lansing at least twice. Some people have been visibly armed. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has threatened arrests, which many see as a violation of First Amendment rights. She has also suggested these demonstrations will only force her to extend the shutdown.

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