John Timmer writes in ars technica:
[This week] the Electronic Frontier Foundation and UC Berkeley’s Samuelson Center filed suit in California’s Northern District, asking the court to force a number of government agencies to hand over any documents they have concerning the use of social networking sites as part of investigative procedures. The duo had sent a number of Freedom of Information Act requests to branches of a half-dozen federal agencies starting in early October. For the most part, all they’ve received is an acknowledgement that the requests were received. Since the FOIA requires that a response be made within 20 days, the suit requests that a legal order be issued for the information’s release.
The suit is refreshingly succinct, coming in at only seven pages. A large portion of that is spent simply defining that various agencies that received FOIA requests, which went out to everyone from the Navy to the IRS (the suit consolidates matters by simply naming the parent agencies, like the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security).
The issues at stake start on the bottom of page two, where the EFF and Samuelson Center note that news reports in sources such as the Associated Press, Wired, and The New York Times have all run stories indicating that federal authorities have used social sites, including YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, to pursue investigations. In at least one case, investigators virtually staked out Facebook, and pounced as soon as a fugitive set up an account.
Read More: ars technica