Forbes: Could Facebook Sue The Police For Violating Privacy?

facebook-privacyFacebook suffered a major privacy setback last week when a New York court ruled last week that it could not protect its users from search warrants. The case is just the latest in a growing trend of law enforcement using (and sometimes abusing) social media to catch criminals.

Often times, law enforcement blatantly breaks the rules of Facebook to accomplish their work. Last year, the Drug Enforcement Agency was forced to settle with a woman out of court after they used her name and likeness to create a fake profile, and Facebook sent a letter to the agency asking them to stop the practice. Facebook actually requires government agencies to clearly identify themselves on their profiles and feature a prominent link to an official website. All of that led Forbes contributor Michael Thomsen to ask this week: why can’t Facebook sue law enforcement agencies? If your data is considered property, then aren’t these agencies grossly violating your rights and privacy?

“If the company really believes in the social—the idea that people are more valuable and complicated than the political and structural systems in which they live—Facebook has an obligation to defend its users from the anti-social forces that reduce people to identity categories—suspect, defendant, convict, inmate, felon—that violently reshape their lives,” he wrote.

Though there are instances when Facebook undoubtedly needs to work with the police to catch wrongdoers, Thomsen also has a point: they need to protect everyday users, too.