Facebook Takes Search Warrant Challenge to New York's Top Court

Facebook and Manhattan prosecutors went to New York state’s highest court Tuesday to settle a legal dispute over search warrants for users’ accounts, a closely watched case with big implications for on-line privacy.

A lawyer for Facebook told the judges that it should be allowed to object once law social control seeks search warrants for its users’ info. Manhattan District Attorney prince R. Vance Jr. argued it is up to personal Facebook users to fight any effort to get personal information for criminal investigations.

Prosecutors sought search warrants in 2013 for the accounts of 381 folks in affiliation with an incapacity edges fraud case against New York town police and hearth retirees.

The Menlo Park, California-based social media company challenged the warrants, but lower courts sided with prosecutors, ruling that Facebook didn’t have legal standing to object since the target was info regarding potential suspects – not Facebook. Facebook turned over the data however has continued to contest the actions of prosecutors.

Facebook attorney Thomas Dupree same the search warrants were new in their scope. Facebook regularly works with law social control however should be allowed to object once it feels a research call for is to a fault broad, he said.

“This case involves the DA’s seizure of the most personal and intimate information conceivable,” Dupree said. “These are people’s personal thoughts and communications, on their lives, their identities, their families, their politics, their religion, their sexuality, all captured in the DA’s dragnet.”

Vance said anyone whose Facebook info is taken over has the right to sue prosecutors for damages or challenge the acceptableness of the proof in court. He also noted that prosecutors should go before a choose before getting search warrants.

“Law enforcement is continuously reaching to be bumping up against people’s privacy,” he said. The search warrants for social media posts, he added, are “really no totally different from if we tend to issued a search warrant into someone’s house and took books and records or an automobile or a secure safe-deposit.”

In the alleged disabilities fraud case against police and fire retirees, prosecutors sought the social media content in associate try to show the retirees were leading active lives and lying regarding disabilities.

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Manorama Singh

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