Facebook Calls Out Search Warrants

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Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spencereholtaway/

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) claims that the social media giant is looking out for its users when it receives search warrants and other legal requests from law enforcement. In a blog post, a member of Facebook’s legal representation wrote that the company tries to fight back against overly large or vague requests.

“Our goal is to protect people’s information on Facebook, so when a government requests data, it’s a big deal to us. We have strict policies in place for law enforcement requests and have published these procedures publicly for anyone to review,” wrote Chris Sonderby, Facebook Deputy General Counsel.

Much of the blog post focuses on a case that started in July 2013 to illustrate its point. Facebook initially fought a series of search warrants in a case in New York State. The court issued search warrants requested access to more than 380 individuals’ profiles including photos and private messages on the request of a district attorney. Facebook denied the search warrants, filing an appeal asking for a more specific set of search warrants. The higher court upheld the previous search warrants, forcing Facebook to provide the information or get into legal trouble.

“Of the 381 people whose accounts were the subject of these warrants, 62 were later charged in a disability fraud case. This means that no charges will be brought against more than 300 people whose data was sought by the government without prior notice to the people affected. The government also obtained gag orders that prohibited us from discussing this case and notifying any of the affected people until now.”

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