first_img The California Supreme Court today will decide whether social media services must turn over user content to criminal defendants.Lee Sullivan and Derrick Hunter—charged with murder in an alleged gang-related drive-by shooting in 2013—have requested access to information posted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by the victim and a witness.The defendants, as reported by the Associated Press, claim their constitutional right to a fair trial entitles them to social media records in preparation for their case.Records they tried obtaining via subpoena, according to a document filed in 2015 by Sullivan’s lawyers. The summons, however, were suppressed “on the grounds that disclosure is prohibited under the Stored Communications Act,” the petition said.For Facebook’s attorney’s, the answer is simple: Ask the witness—Sullivan’s former girlfriend—for her social media content, and get the victim’s information from the prosecutors, who obtained his data via a search warrant.But life just isn’t that easy.With the eyewitness in the wind, there was no one to serve a subpoena. And the defendants contended that access only to records supporting the prosecution’s theory does little to help their case.The 2015 appeals court ruling ultimately sided with Silicon Valley, rejecting Sullivan and Hunter’s requests for information.“Criminal defendants are looking for a one-stop-shop, a fast lane to get the materials that social media sites might have,” Eric Goldman, co-director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School of Law, told the AP.A decision by the state Supreme Court to overturn the three-year-old ruling “could substantially change companies’ practices,” Goldman said.Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter did not immediately respond to Geek’s request for comment.Google, however, warned that loosening the rules that govern user information would undermine customer confidence and “greatly increase” the company’s strain from requests to disclose data.San Francisco’s public defender’s office hit back, asserting that social media records “are increasingly offered by the prosecution as evidence,” and “defendants have a parallel need for these records to defend against charges.”Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. ‘Storm Loch Ness’ Joke Facebook Event Aims to Spot Folklore ‘Monster’Nearly 300K Alien Fans Sign Up to ‘Raid Area 51’ for Joke Facebook Event Stay on targetlast_img read more