NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook's fight against prosecutors over nearly 400 search warrants for users' postings and other data is drawing support from other social media companies and civil libertarians.
Lawyers for Foursquare, Kickstarter, Meetup, and Tumblr said Monday they were seeking to join the clash on Facebook's side. The New York Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union also have recently said they were backing Facebook.
They see the warrants — for data including friend lists, photos, and private messages, many of them from users who have yet to be charged and may never be — as a troubling message for digital-age privacy. Facebook has said it had previously never received so many search warrants.
"With the burgeoning tech industry in New York, the need to protect the privacy of users has never been greater," said Richard Holwell, a former federal judge who's now in private practice and representing the four tech companies, all New York-based.
A judge has said the search warrants were justified. So do Manhattan prosecutors, who sought the data for a sweeping disabilities-benefit fraud investigation. Some 134 people have been charged so far, more than half have pleaded guilty, and prosecutors have said more could be implicated.
"Prosecutors have a right and a responsibility to collect evidence in criminal cases, wherever that information is stored," Joan Vollero, spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney's office, said Monday.
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