Supreme Court rules Backpage must turn over sex trafficking records

Supreme Court rules Backpage must turn over sex trafficking records

Yesterday, the Supreme Court refused to block a Senate subpoena that had requested Backpage turn over its internal records regarding its alleged role in online prostitution and sex trafficking. In case you haven’t been following the story, back in August, a federal judge gave Backpage ten days to turn over its records to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The subcommittee has been investigating Backpage for some time and has been attempting to get these records for almost a year. Backpage was given a stay after that ruling, but soon afterwards the stay was lifted. This prompted Backpage to appeal to the Supreme Court, which as was just mentioned refused to block the subpoena. The Supreme Court’s ruling makes Backpage’s deadline to turn over records effective immediately.

Backpage claims that they are being cooperative withe the Senate’s request but would like to receive more time to gather all the records requested.

Backpage lawyers said Tuesday night they were turning over more than 38,000 pages immediately, but they also filed a request with the judge asking for a delay in the deadline.

The lawyers said complying with Congress’ request that personally identifying data be deleted will take longer. They said they’ve already spent nearly 3,000 hours of work, involving 34 lawyers, to try to process information.

“The volume of documents and data required to be processed, reviewed, redacted and logged renders production of every last responsive document and complete privilege logs by September 13, 2016 impossible regardless of best efforts,” the company’s lawyers said, adding that they hoped the tens of thousands of pages they were producing would be evidence of good faith.

Congressional lawyers have said they would oppose any such request.

Whether this will be an eventual legal victory for the victims of Backapage’s alleged role in US sex trafficking remains to be seen as Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer has already shown to be sort of a slippery eel by previously fleeing the country when subpoenaed to appear before the Senate. However, it does appear, for now, that the victims are one step closer to finally receiving the justice they deserve.