Justia Internet Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of New Jersey
The issue this case presented for the New Jersey Supreme Court's review centered on whether Facebook could be compelled to provide the contents of two users’ accounts every 15 minutes for 30 days into the future based only on probable cause, the ordinary standard for a search warrant, or whether the State must instead satisfy certain requirements and apply for a wiretap order, which required an enhanced showing -- one beyond probable cause -- because gaining access to private communications in real time is considerably more intrusive than a typical search. In the two matters under review, trial courts quashed the State’s request for prospective information based on a Communications Data Warrant (CDW), which was the equivalent of a search warrant and can be issued on a showing of probable cause. The Appellate Division consolidated the cases and held that the State could obtain prospective electronic communications with a CDW, reasoning that the wiretap statute applied to the contemporaneous interception of electronic communications, not efforts to access communications in storage. The Supreme Court concluded that based on the language and structure of the relevant statutes, the State’s request for information from users’ accounts invokes heightened privacy protections. "The nearly contemporaneous acquisition of electronic communications here is the functional equivalent of wiretap surveillance and is therefore entitled to greater constitutional protection. New Jersey’s wiretap act applies in this case to safeguard individual privacy rights under the relevant statutes and the State Constitution." View "Facebook, Inc. v. State of New Jersey" on Justia Law