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Astechnica: Facebook blocked from challenging search warrants targeting its users

Posted by Soledad Vega on Fri, 07/24/2015 - 10:03

Another reason to think Facebook can't protect our personal online privacy. 

Article by David Kravets for Astechnica

Facebook does not have legal standing to challenge search warrants on behalf of its users, a New York appeals court has ruled in what was the biggest batch of warrants the social-media site said it ever received at one time.

Facebook was served with 381 warrants in 2013 from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. The warrants sought photos, private messages, and other information as part of a wide-ranging disability fraud investigation. As many as 134 people have been accused of disability fraud as part of the ongoing probe.

Facebook objected to handing over the data and challenged it. The site was even threatened with contempt of court over the fight, so it reluctantly coughed up the data. Facebook was allowed to continue the challenge on appeal in a failed bid to set legal precedent for its users.

The company said in a statement it was exploring its legal options:

"We continue to believe 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 appeals court realized that New York prosecutors were given a treasure trove of data.

- Read more at Arstechnica