Appeals Court Rules that Law Enforcement can Order Tech Companies to Hand Over Data on Hundreds of Users in One Swoop

An appeals court on Tuesday ruled that law enforcement can order tech companies to hand over data on hundreds of users in one swoop – and the companies can’t challenge the warrant or even warn users about the search.

Instead of applying for individual search warrants, New York prosecutors instead use a single affidavit as the basis for demanding Facebook root through the accounts of 381 users. And to avoid tipping off the suspects, the prosecutors also asked for a gag order to prevent Facebook from telling those users about the search. The ACLU, alongside other tech companies like Google and Microsoft, joined Facebook in asking a judge to declare the bulk warrants were an unconstitutional search and seizure.

The challenge didn’t get far, as a judge last year rebuffed Facebook, and forced the company to hand over the information.

Details may be found at http://fortune.com/2015/07/22/facebook-warrants/.

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