In a big blow to Facebook, the New York court on Tuesday ordered that the social media giant had no right to ask a court to quash search warrants thereby ordering Facebook to hand over information from hundreds of accounts in a disability fraud case.
The ruling is also a disappointment for civil libertarians and social media companies as they were expecting that court will come up with new legal guidelines for search warrants.
In the year 2013, prosecutors in Manhattan had asked for search warrants for the accounts of as many as 381 people in a case related with a disability benefits fraud case against New York City police and fire retirees. Not only this, it had asked to provide private photos as well as conversations.
Menlo Park, California-based Facebook challenged the warrants but the court ordered that the individuals have the right to challenge the warrant which asks for their information.
Upset with the ruling, Jay Nancarrow a spokesperson of social media giant said that company will explore other legal options. According to The New York Times, he said: “We’re disappointed by the court’s ruling. But we are encouraged to see the thorough dissent that supports Facebook’s position arguing for people’s online privacy.”
In a report published in CBS New York, Mariko Hirose, of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said, “Neither of the federal nor the state constitutions permit the district attorney to rummage around in people’s Facebook accounts like they did in this case.”
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.