updated 09:55 am EDT, Sat August 9, 2014
Amicus briefs filed with NY Supreme Court decry overly broad warrants
Facebook is battling the New York courts over what it says are overly-broad warrants to examine user profiles and data. Supporting the social media giant, Dropbox, Foursquare, Google, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Meetup, Microsoft, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, and Yelp have all filed amicus curae ("friend of the court") briefs with courts in support of the Facebook effort, complaining that services like Facebook are multi-faceted and require more granular warrants, rather than a sweeping motion to collect all data about a targeted user.
The case was launched after personal data was requested from Facebook regarding fraud of the Social Security disability system. The warrant was properly served, and Facebook turned over data as required, but Facebook believes the scope of the warrants were far too general, and that it gave the company no room to alert the users to the data disclosure. The amicus briefs were filed in an appeal of the initial denial of Facebook's argument before the New York Supreme Court.
One of the filings from Google and Microsoft, among others, claims that "unless Facebook is able to assert its subscribers' constitutional rights -- and any of its own rights -- the legality of the government's actions with respect to those subscribers will escape review altogether. And had the government chosen to indict no one, no one would have been the wiser."