Investigators Violating Rights. Seek Social Media Warrant For Pipeline Protestors


Investigators in Washington state have requested a warrant that targets private Facebook accounts of critics of the Dakota Access Pipeline. On February 11, 2017 100 protestors blocked highway I-5 and caused a 4-mile backup. The backup caused a five-car pileup during the protest. The protesters were there to show opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline and to stand in solidarity with Standing Rock.

The Huffington Post reports that Whatcom County officials want private messages, log-in history, and other account information for members of the Bellingham #NoDAPL Coalition.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington is trying to quash the warrant on behalf of the Facebook users. The warrant is “an overbroad and unconstitutional request for private data,” according to an ACLU motion filed this week in Washington state Superior Court. Providing authorities with the requested data violates First Amendment freedoms of speech and association, and Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search, the ACLU motion said.

If upheld after a hearing on Tuesday, the search warrant would affect a wide range of people who posted to the #NoDAPL coalition page from Feb. 4-15 or simply interacted on Facebook with people who “liked” the group during that period. The number of users potentially affected is easily in the hundreds.

The way things look county investigators are attempting to get login information from thousands of people. All that information would be collected and entered into a database. That database would be shared with multiple law enforcement agencies including federal agencies. Police often obtain social media history during criminal investigations but this warrant appears to be directed at political activism, not a crime. Do you think this is police state tactics?

Source: Huffington Post