Facebook Claims NY Court Violated the Constitution with Sweeping Search Warrants

01 July 2014 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

Facebook filed a brief that states that the “Fourth Amendment does not permit the Government to seize, examine, and keep indefinitely the private messages, photographs, videos, and other communications of nearly 400 people—the vast majority of whom will never know that the Government has obtained and continues to possess their personal information.”  Computerworld reported that Facebook has been fighting July 2013:

…a set of sweeping search warrants issued by the Supreme Court for New York County that demanded that it turn over to law enforcement nearly all data from the accounts of the 381 people, including photos, private messages and other information.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation supports Facebook and commented about the New York District Attorney’s search warrants which were supported by a 93 page “affidavit about a long-term investigation into a massive scheme to defraud and other related crimes”:

…the vast majority of the target, the information was not relevant to any crime.  Only 62 people were ultimately charged

On June 20, 2014 Facebook filed its brief under seal in the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division in the case of IN RE 381 SEARCH WARRANTS DIRECTED TO FACEBOOK, INC. AND DATED JULY 23, 2013 asking the court:

…for the return or destruction of the data as well as a ruling on whether the bulk warrants violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and other laws.

The Facebook brief also claims that the First Amendment does not “permit the Government to forbid Facebook from ever disclosing what it has been compelled to do—even after the Government has concluded its investigation.”

This case could eventually get to the Supreme Court, and impact all Social Media content.

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