Facebook fights gag order on grounds of Free Speech

By Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Government law agencies place gag orders on technology companies in general and social media companies in particular.

Facebook is fighting a gag order right now over search warrants on Facebook users.

Reuters reports Facebook fights U.S. Gag Order that it says Chills Free Speech.

Facebook Inc is challenging a gag order from a U.S. court that is preventing the company from talking about three government search warrants that it said pose a threat to freedom of speech, according to court documents.

Facebook said it wants to notify three users about the search warrants seeking their communications and information and also give those users an opportunity to object to the warrants, according to a filing in a Washington, D.C., appeals court seen by Reuters.

“We believe there are important First Amendment concerns with this case, including the government’s refusal to let us notify three people of broad requests for their account information in connection with public events,” Facebook said in a statement on Monday.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees certain rights including freedom of speech.

William Miller, a spokesman for U.S. prosecutors, declined to comment.

Facebook decided to challenge the gag order around the three warrants because free speech was at stake and because the events underlying the government’s investigation were generally known to the public already, Facebook said in the undated court document.

The precise nature of the government’s investigation is not known. One document in the case said the timing of proceedings coincides with charges against people who protested President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January.

Freedom of Speech vs Gag Orders

The NSA also places gag orders over when it demands backdoor entries into routers and phones. Companies are not allowed to even mention the demands.

I side with Facebook, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, so much so that I wish one of these companies would simply defy these incessant gag orders and speak up rather than challenge the orders in court.

 

 

Mike “Mish” Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. He also writes a column at Townhall.com/finance. Article appeared at his blog.

 

 

 

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