Islamic State Lawsuit Against Facebook, Twitter Dismissed


Legal attempt by victims of 2015 San Bernardino shooting to hold tech firms liable, thrown out of court

A federal judge in California has thrown out a lawsuit that attempted to hold tech firms liable for the December 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.

The lawsuit, filed by victims and relatives of victims of the terrorist shooting, alleged that tech firms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google were liable as they let Islamic State flourish on their social media platforms.

San Bernardino terrorists, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik murdered 14 people (and injured 22 others) in San Bernardino, California, on 2 December 2015, in a deadly terrorist attack that shocked America.

Case dismissed

But US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in San Francisco has thrown out the lawsuit when she ruled that the attack was not the direct result of the companies’ alleged providing of resources to Islamic State, Reuters reported.

“A contrary conclusion poses boundless litigation risk and is not tenable given how interconnected communication services are with modern economic and social life,” the judge reportedly wrote.

Beeler also found no liability for aiding and abetting terrorism under the 2016 Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), finding allegations only that the companies were “generally aware” that Islamic State used their services.

Beeler dismissed the lawsuits with prejudice, meaning they cannot be filed again.

Farook was a US-born son of Pakistani immigrants, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, was a native of Pakistan, and both were followers of Islamic State.

They attacked a government building but both were later shot dead by police.

Apple case

This is not the first time that the San Bernardino terrorist attack has involved big name tech firms.

Apple was launched into the centre of explosive data privacy battle in early 2016 with the US Government after it refused a FBI request to help unlock an iPhone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook

Apple argued that the FBI essentially wanted it to create a “backdoor” that could allow it to unlock any iPhone in the future.

After a tense standoff, the FBI eventually cracked Syed Farook’s iPhone after it was “independently unlocked” by an outside party in late 2016.

The bureau then dropped its legal action against Apple.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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