Federal investigators delivered three warrants to Facebook. The United States Department of Justice wants access to the profiles and names of Facebook users who gave a thumbs-up or commented on content posted on the DisruptJ20 account belonging to Emmelia Talarico. The account principally criticized President Trump, U.S. News & World Report noted.

The two additional warrants issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) apply to personal accounts – ones belonging to Legba Caeerfour and, likewise, Lacy MacAuley. The FBI seeks to examine the personal accounts.

The warrants specify the timeframe of November 1, 2016, which was days prior to the presidential election, and February 9, 2017, which was three weeks following the President’s inauguration.

Facebook accounts tied to protests opposing President Trump inauguration

The accounts that federal investigators have their eyes on examining correlate with protests held in opposition to President Trump on January 20, Inauguration Day. The scope of the warrants would grant investigators a 90-day window to search personal messages relating to Facebook users’ political activity, their associations, and Friends lists. Additionally, investigators would have the ability to scour everything that users on the lists searched during the days surrounding the President’s swearing-in ceremony.

Talarico estimated that 6,000 Facebook account users approved the DisruptJ20 page. The account centered on organizing and discussing protests on January 20, 2016, U.S. News reported. The breadth of the warrant covers all users who liked or planned on attending protest-related events. That information might have to be given to the DOJ.

ACLU says no-go, files motion to suppress invasive government search

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing Talarico, Caeerfour, and MacAuley. The ACLU filed a motion on Thursday, seeking to narrow, if not suppress, the DOJ’s efforts. The ACLU contends that the DOJ’s request is reminiscent of general warrants of an unjustified invasion, the type that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution was enacted to prohibit.

In a court filing, Talarico stated that investigators would have her personal information, as well as the information covered under the warrants if the government is granted access. Not only would federal investigators have the list of people who were invited and attended any one of several political events her page sponsors, but the government would also have her passwords, credit card information, and security questions and answers.

ACLU calls warrants ‘fishing expedition,’ scope too broad concerning information

The ACLU likened the warrants to a “fishing expedition,” the Spokesman-Review reported. The ACLU’s Scott Michelman is a senior staff attorney for the organization in Washington, D.C.

Michelman stated that the warrants are too broad.

A specific concern is that, if enabled, the government’s search would reveal “anti-administration dissident activities,” Michelman pointed out. With that information, he said, the activities would, then, be investigated by the President’s administration, which is precisely what the account users and others are protesting.

Demonstrations surrounding the President’s inauguration resulted in damaged property in downtown Washington, D.C., and police having been injured, the Spokesman-Review relayed. Following crimes associated with the Inauguration Day, over 200 people were accused of rioting and were arrested. Talarico, Caeerfour, and MacAuley were not included in the ranks of those arrested, and the ACLU pointed out.

The three individuals also have not been charged by the United States attorney with crimes committed on January 20.

Facebook fought feds, account holders notified of warrants

Facebook challenged federal authorities requesting the information. The social media network fought to notify account holders Talarico, Caeerfour, and MacAuley about the DOJ’s warrants for their information, the New York posted stated.

The ACLU is asking, in the motion filed, for the court to suppress the warrants altogether or to appoint an independent special master to review and turning over data specifically relevant to the government’s criminal investigation.