You may recall back in June that Facebook had been issued with a court order demanding that it hand over the data of some 381 users who were being investigated as part of a fraud trial. The social network lodged an ultimately unsuccessful appeal, and had to release the personal data – including photographs and private messages – to the authorities.
The story has now resurfaced after several large tech firms in the US have argued that the original search warrant was a breach of the US Constitution. In court documents filed in New York, companies including Google, Microsoft, Dropbox and Twitter have thrown their support behind Facebook, claiming that the original process violated the First Amendment, which protects against persons’ belongings falling subject to “unreasonable searches and seizures”.
The BBC has seen the documents submitted to a New York court, and reports that the following tech firms have declared their support for Facebook:
Google and Microsoft said that they had “a strong interest in the resolution of the issues in this case”, as they have had to deal with similar issues in the past. This also seems to be a case of the strong looking after the weak, with a lawyer representing some of the medium-sized companies saying that “smaller entities, such as start-ups and other developing companies, may not always have the resources to litigate”.
If the bigger firms are able to establish a precedent that may protect smaller businesses in the future, then that will be of benefit to the tech community as a whole.