Social Tech eDiscovery: Facebook Law Enforcement Policies Revisited
January 25, 2012
One of the very first posts we published on this blog, over 16 months ago, was a post regarding Facebook’s Subpoena Policy, describing and providing a link to Facebook’s Law Enforcement page to request information from Facebook. With numerous cases involving discovery of information on Facebook, (including this one, this one, this one, this one, this one and this one – all just in the past year), it seems appropriate to revisit this page to see if anything has changed.
The first thing that has changed is the link itself. The old link we published 16 months ago no longer takes you to that page – it defaults to the general Facebook help page. So, I had to “go hunting” for the new location for the law enforcement page. It took a few tries, but I did finally find it here. If you prefer your Facebook Law Enforcement information in downloadable document form, the link to the PDF is here.
The page has a lot more information than the old page. Sections include:
- US Legal Process Requirements: Notes that Facebook discloses account records solely in accordance with their terms of service and applicable law, including the federal Stored Communications Act (“SCA”), 18 U.S.C. Sections 2701-2712, which requires a valid subpoena, court order or search warrant to compel disclosure of Facebook content.
- International Legal Process Requirements: A Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty request or letter rogatory may be required to compel the disclosure of the contents of an account. More information found here.
- Account Preservation: Link to form to request preservation of account records for up to 90 days pending receipt of formal legal requests.
- Emergency Requests: Email address for a law enforcement official to obtain an emergency request form in cases “involving imminent harm”.
- Child Safety Matters: What to do when requests relate to child exploitation or safety concerns.
- Data Retention and Availability: Reiteration that Facebook does “not retain data for law enforcement purposes unless we receive a valid preservation request before a user has deleted that content from our service”, with links to 1) how a Facebook user can request their account to be permanently deleted (with no recovery), 2) Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and 3) Facebook’s Data Use Policy.
- Form of Requests: Information required with requests for information, including 1) name of the issuing authority, badge/ID number of responsible agent, email address from a law-enforcement domain, and direct contact phone number; 2) email address, user ID number or username of the Facebook profile.
- User Consent: Instructions for users who have consented to provide their own information to law enforcement officials using Facebook’s Download Your Information feature (previously featured on this blog here).
- Notification: What to do if officials believe that notification would jeopardize an investigation.
- Testimony: Facebook’s declaration that they do not provide expert testimony support, but if “a special form of certification is required”, the requestor should attach it to the records request.
- Cost Reimbursement: Facebook’s statement that they “may seek reimbursement for costs in responding to requests for information as provided by law”, without specifying what those costs might be (which is different than the specific costs stated in the previous page).
- Contact Information: To submit records requests via email, snail mail or fax – but only if you’re a law enforcement officer.
So, what do you think? Have you needed to request information from Facebook for litigation purposes? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.