When we were at LegalTech today, the buzz was all about the talk given by Facebook Deputy General Counsel Mark Howitson.
Howitson’s basic message: it’s legally unclear what user information they have to turn over at the request of law enforcement officials and their strong desire is to turn over nothing. Amy Miller of Corporate Counsel has a full wrap-up of the keynote speech.
This legal quagmire will likely not be solved until a federal court has the opportunity to address The Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Drafted in 1986, it is a little outdated to control the world the 350,000,000 Facebook users live in. “We’re itching for that fight,” Howitson said.
Facebook will not turn any information over without a subpoena, and even with one it will provide only basic subscriber information without the user’s consent.
A subpoena will not always get the authorities what they want, though. Facebook once paid a $200 per day fine for refusing to comply with a subpoena from an airline looking for information about a former flight attendant, Corporate Counsel said.
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