Facebook questions US court order asking user data access

Facebook is lobbying its First Amendment rights in line with the US government's gag order.

Facebook has spoken about the court order the US government issued, asking the internet firm not to publicize when law enforcement investigators request to look into their presence in the social media, specifically their comments and political associations.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that Facebook lobbied at the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals as the court order is a clear violation of the social media platform and its users' rights afforded to them by the First Amendment. According to the court order in the contest, the First Amendment can only safeguard targets of an investigation if they know their security is in danger.

While most of the details have been kept under wraps, the investigations and reference in public court documents related to the gag order suggest "the search warrants relate to demonstrations during US President Donald Trump's inauguration." Prosecutors are reportedly barring Facebook from informing users subject to an investigation into possible felony charges.

Facebook is just one of the many technology companies struggling against gag orders released by the US government. In April, a DC Superior Court judge denied Facebook's plea to drop the gag order and ordered the firm to release records covered by the search warrants to the law enforcement.

In Facebook's appeal, the court granted the firm to share some details of the sealed case "to seek legal support for its cause" from other establishments and organisations. The said sealed case is slated for argument in September.

"Neither the government's investigation nor its interest in Facebook user information was secret," says Facebook in a brief in its public court filing.

Civil rights organisations and liberties unions in the US commented that Facebook users subject to investigations should have the privilege to challenge warrants in court when their political freedom is being questioned.

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