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July 17, 2017

Facebook Fighting Court Order That Forces Its Silence on U.S.’s Demands for User Data

Flickr photo by Maria Elena

Facebook is fighting the U.S. government over the ability of federal agencies to secretly access data of the social network’s users.

Facebook is not fighting alone, however. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the American Civil Liberties Union, the coalition of technology companies and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press are siding with the social network against the government, according to the Washington Post.

The latest court battle relates to the search warrants issued over demonstrations during President Donald Trump’s inauguration. More than 200 people were detained for rioting and it is thought federal law enforcement has requested access to the social data of those charged.

A court order prevents Facebook from informing affected users. According to the report, law enforcement want to access the political affiliations listed on Facebook for those involved. They also want to look through their communications for politically-charged comments.

Facebook is fighting the court-issued request, saying it violates First Amendment protections of both the company and its members.

Facebook, in a court filing, said it should have permission to contact users in advance of the search because the public is already aware of the investigation. “Neither the government’s investigation nor its interest in Facebook user information was secret,” the company said.

Facebook, in the latter half of 2016, reported receiving more than 41,000 requests for information from the U.S. government.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.