The tech world has been in court fights with the government more than usual the past few months. The most notable case is that of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and the FBI, which was dubbed the FBIOS fight.
In another case brought up by giant tech firms, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is suing the Department of Justice over a federal which secretly allows the government to access secretly all documents held in the cloud which might be related to criminal investigations. Microsoft claims that the law imposes an unconstitutional gag order which stops the company from notifying customers if their data has been compromised by the government.
The court case that Microsoft submitted closely resembles a similar case that was waged by another tech giant, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), in New York. The complaints that Microsoft air out in their court case are just as similar with those that Facebook raised in their case. Facebook is suing the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Facebook on its part, is trying to challenge the court order search warrants, which require that the popular social media network secretly gives the New York City prosecutors information on hundreds of users they are investigating for Social Security fraud investigation.
Prosecutors managed to get the warrants, as part of fraudulent Social Security disability claims. The investigators of the case suspect that retired police officers and firefighters are faking mental illnesses which originated from the Sept 11 terrorist attacks.
The workers who claim to have been disabled were seen on Facebook looking healthy which prompted the Manhattan district attorney’s office to get the warrant ordering Facebook to hand over accounts linked to 400 users accounts.
Facebook, however, unlike other tech companies complied with the order but went to court to disagree with the gag order that did not allow them to notify the affected users. So in fact, Facebook was not challenging the constitutionality of the law but how the prosecutors had applied the law.
Facebook has drawn support from some of its tech rivals including Twitter, Microsoft, and Google. They have also drawn support from the American Civil Liberties.
Facebook lawyers wrote the following to the New York Court of Appeals, “The question before this Court is whether it will safeguard the constitutional rights of New York citizens from the 21st-century version of the general warrant— broad and secret data sweeps in which the Government seizes, studies, and keeps indefinitely every aspect of a person’s digital life.”
Arguments have not yet been scheduled.