April 14, 2017
Facebook is not exactly the champion of user privacy, but at least in one case, the company did go to bat for its users. Facebook took New York law enforcement to court over secret warrants that allowed authorities to collect user data.
Unfortunately, Facebook just lost their case in the New York courts. The court ruled that only users themselves, not facebook, can challenge law enforcement demands for their data.
The only problem is, the court orders usually come with a gag order as well. Facebook is not allowed to tell their users that law enforcement is taking their data. And Facebook is not allowed to challenge these orders on behalf of their users.
So in true kangaroo court fashion, the only people able to challenge the government are those forbidden from being told that the government is investigating them. Well isn’t that convenient for prosecutors.
How are gag orders even Constitutional? You would think things like free speech and the right to know your accuser might cover that. But again, the government plays by no rules.
While the Court of Appeals acknowledged that the case “undoubtedly implicates novel and important substantive issues regarding the constitutional rights of privacy and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure,” the majority found that they were constrained by the current law that bars appeals by third parties.
The court said the only remedy for Facebook users is to sue for invasion of privacy after the fact.
Once we are done with you, you can go ahead and sue us. That’s how justice works, right?