|Today's ppost was shared from http://online.wsj.com|
The Manhattan district attorney has won a legal battle against Facebook Inc. with a New York judge's ruling that the social network was required to turn over user information in a fraud investigation.
When workers who filed for federal disability money were seen on Facebook looking perfectly healthy, the Manhattan district attorney received a search warrant from a judge to look more closely at the accounts.
Facebook had attempted to quash the warrants for 381 user accounts on grounds that they were unconstitutional and in violation of Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
After reviewing the search-warrant application, the judge found "probable cause that evidence of criminality would be found within the subject Facebook accounts," and ordered Facebook to comply.
“Due to the fungible nature of digital information, the ability of a user to delete information instantly and other possible consequences of disclosure, the court ordered the search warrants sealed and Facebook not to disclose the search and seizure to its users.”—Melissa C. Jackson, New York State Supreme Court Justice
The district attorney's office said the case led to 134 indictments on more than $400 million in fraud, and that half the defendants have pleaded guilty.
"This was a massive scheme involving as many as 1,000 people who defrauded the federal government," said Joan Vollero, spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. "The defendants in this case repeatedly lied to the government about their mental, physical, and social capabilities. Their Facebook accounts told a different story," she said.
The judge in the case said Facebook had no right to get in the way of the investigation.
"Facebook could best be...
[Click here to VIEW the documents in this case (NYTime)]