Facebook loses search warrant challenge in NY court

06 April, 2017, 02:25 | Author: Alicia Barber
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The executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Donna Leiberman on the ruling said that she is heartened as the announcement has been made only on the procedural grounds.

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. Facebook sought to quash the warrants, calling them too broad and objecting to a prohibition against informing its users about them.

New York's highest court punted Tuesday on a challenge by Facebook of bulk seizure of users' accounts by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.

"Even if those users could realistically seek relief for their own injuries through pretrial suppression hearings, Facebook will not be a party to those actions and the hypothetical resolution of their claims would not address or remedy Facebook's injuries", Wilson wrote.

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The warrants, issued under America's Stored Communications Act, were going after the Facebook "account information and communications" of those under investigation.

The ruling comes as a blow to Facebook and other tech companies including Microsoft, Google and Twitter-all of which issued support for Facebook and its efforts to push for the right to challenge the warrants.

Dissenting Judge Rowan Wilson wrote that a warrant under the SCA operates more like a subpoena than like traditional search warrants, as it compels third parties like Facebook, who are not the targets of the investigation, to put in resources for producing the documents. But the majority opinion was that the move to modify the order would have to be in the same court that issued the order without specifying an express right to appeal.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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