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Friday, June 27, 2014
Facebook Is Trying To Recover Bulk User Data Sized by Court

Facebook has been ighting against a set of sweeping search warrants issued by a court in New York that demanded the social network to turn over nearly all data from the accounts of 381 people who use our service, including photos, private messages and other information.

The social networking giant is asking the court for the return or destruction of the data as well as a ruling on whether the bulk warrants violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and other laws. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures of property.

Last Friday, Facebook filed an appellate brief in support of its efforts to invalidate these sweeping warrants and to force the U.S. government to return the data it has seized and retained. Immediately after the appeal, the government moved to unseal the warrants and all court filings, which has allowed Facebook to notify the people whose accounts were affected about the warrants and its ongoing legal efforts.

Of the 381 people whose accounts were covered under the warrants, 62 were later charged in a disability fraud case, Facebook?s deputy general counsel Chris Sonderby wrote in a post on Thursday.

Facebook will continue the legal fight to retrieve data that has been seized and retained by the government.

"We recognize that law enforcement needs to investigate potential crimes, but we believe all government data requests must be narrowly tailored, proportionate to the case, and subject to strict judicial oversight. Moreover, we believe search warrants for digital information should be specific and narrow in scope, just like warrants for physical evidence. These restrictions are critical to preventing overreaching legal requests and protecting people?s information," said Sonderby.

"Sometimes 'come back with a warrant' is not enough," wrote digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation in a blog post. "The warrant must also conform to constitutional limitations, narrowly seeking evidence of a crime with particularity, based on probable cause."

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