from the damned-if-you-do--damned-if-you-don't dept.
A dispute between Facebook and Manhattan's district attorney ( http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/27/technology/facebook-battles-manhattan-da-over-warrants-for-user-data.html ) demonstrates the company's inability to protect its customers from government requests for outrageous amounts of data and the legal ramifications it would suffer if it were to reveal those requests to its customers. The conflict is rooted in the district attorney's request for complete profile information, from Likes and messages to photos and videos, of more than 300 accounts. In a blog post ( http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2014/06/fighting-bulk-search-warrants-in-court/ ), Facebook says this "unprecedented request is by far the largest we've ever received by a magnitude of more than ten and we have argued that it was unconstitutional from the start." The district attorney's office threatened to have company officials held in contempt of court if they didn't offer complete access to both the profiles and archived information of the indicated accounts.
Melissa Jackson, an acting Supreme Court justice, then argued that Facebook is nothing more ( http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/26/technology/facebook-search-warrants-case-documents.html ) than a "digital storage facility of its subscribers' digital information" and that it cannot fight the warrant on its users' behalf. She then told the company that it could not inform its users of the warrant because of the "fungible nature of digital information" and the possibility of some users attempting to delete their information before the district attorney's office could get it. (Never mind the difficulty of permanently deleting anything uploaded to Facebook's servers.)
Additional reporting can be found at: http://pando.com/2014/06/27/facebooks-inability-to-protect-its-users-privacy-from-manhattans-district-attorney-shows-the-governments-strength/