Tuesday, 25 July, 2017

New York's top court rejects Facebook search warrant challenge

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi N.Y. high court sides with Manhattan DA after Facebook challenge
Cecilia Poole | 06 April, 2017, 02:00

The warrants, issued under America's Stored Communications Act, were going after the Facebook "account information and communications" of those under investigation. Facebook called the warrants too broad and objected to a prohibition against informing its users about them.

A number of technology companies including Google, Twitter and Microsoft, and civil rights groups like the New York Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union have backed Facebook in this long-drawn dispute.

Prosecutors had in July 2013 obtained the warrants ordering Facebook to turn over account information belonging to people suspected of criminal fraud.

NY state's highest court has rejected Facebook's challenge to bulk search warrants ordering the social media giant to turn over information from hundreds of user accounts in connection with a fraud investigation.

"The information, which included photos and conversations, was used by the Manhattan District Attorney to obtain indictments for disability fraud against more than 130 people", the report said.

The new ruling is yet another challenge for social media networks who hope to enhance the privacy protections for its users.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) today took a loss in New York's highest court - but in a manner that suggests the underlying question in the case has yet to be decided.

The Court of Appeals found Facebook would not be able to challenge those warrants, even if it believes the searches would violate the constitutional rights of its users. The Appellate Division order was on Tuesday upheld by the Court of Appeals. In a statement, a spokesperson said the company was disappointed by the ruling and is continuing to evaluate its legal options.

The case is In re: 381 Search Warrants Directed to Facebook Inc, New York State Court of Appeals, No. 16.

Two of the justices agreed Facebook and other companies should have the right to appeal search warrants.

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