Thursday, March 09, 2017

Police win warrant to search Dakota Access Pipeline protest Facebook page

Local Washington state police have obtained a court warrant to search the Facebook page of a group dedicated to protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. The warrant from the Whatcom County Sheriff's Department seeks data surrounding the Bellingham #NoDAPL Coalition's Facebook page. The page, with more than 1,000 followers, provides information about pipeline environmental issues and is used to organize political protests and connect political activists. In addition to demanding account information about those who have interacted with the group's page, the warrant seeks "messages, photos, videos, wall posts, and location information" dating from February 4 to February 15. The search time period surrounds a February 11 protest in downtown Bellingham against the Trump administration's decision to follow through with the pipeline. Protesters had blocked Interstate 5 for more than an hour, snarling traffic for miles. Bellingham resident Neah Monteiro, the page's top admin, received an e-mail from Facebook after the protest. It said the social networking site had received a warrant for the data. The American Civil Liberties Union intervened and filed a motion (PDF) Thursday to quash the warrant. The ACLU said the data is constitutionally protected speech...more

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