Law Do's and Don'ts
Find a good-standing attorney
"This website is about real attorneys who can help." - Bill Handel.     Welcome to HandelontheLaw.com, a premier attorney listing service from Radio & Records News/Talk Personality of the Year, Bill Handel.
handelonthelaw.com
Attorney Log In

Facebook Accounts and Search Warrants

HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer

Tuesday, July 28, 2015



Facebook Accounts and Search Warrants
Court House

A New York State Appeals Court has ruled in late July 2015 that Facebook cannot challenge search warrants seeking private account information about the company’s users. The ruling came as a significant defeat for Facebook, Google, Pinterest, and privacy advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union.

The underlying case involved 381 Facebook users suspected of Social Security fraud. In 2013, the Manhattan District Attorney served search warrants for Facebook’s information on those users, including photographs, “likes,” and private messages. Criminal warrants such as those served on Facebook can be challenged only after law enforcement has gathered evidence. In that case, 62 Facebook users, including policemen and firemen falsely claiming disabilities after the 9/11 attacks, were indicted for Social Security fraud.

Facebook, supported by Google, Pinterest and the American Civil Liberties Union, challenged the warrants, alleging that the Facebook should be allowed to contest the warrants as it contests civil subpoenas, challenging them in behalf of its users and before the information is gathered.

The 5 Appellate Court justices heartily disagreed with Facebook, stating there is no law allowing defendant to challenge criminal warrants before they’re enforced and “We see no basis for providing Facebook a greater right than its customers are afforded.”

Facebook has not indicated whether it intends to appeal the decision but did state that “overly broad search warrants -- granting the government the ability to keep hundreds of people’s account information indefinitely -- are unconstitutional and raise important concerns about the privacy of people’s online information.”

The case presents important privacy issues for Facebook’s 1.4 billion active users. Consequently, Facebook’s Help page allows users to download their account information to a zip file to see what might be released pursuant to a search warrant. Facebook’s “take” on the case and access to the Help center can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/safety/groups/law/guidelines/


By Kathy Catanzarite


Source: Kathy Catanzarite - Handelonthelaw.com Staff Writer

Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.





FIND A LAWYER
LOCATION Zipcode Map

e.g. 91324 or Los Angeles, CA
AREA OF LAW Law Category Help
Please select one of the following...


Center for Surrogate Parenting 2