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The MLB-Biogenesis lawsuit sends a pretty chilling message

Aug 7, 2013, 12:45 PM EDT

Bud Selig

Set aside the fact that it worked. Set aside the fact that the players who were punished got (or will be getting) what they deserved. Just ask yourself if you feel good about the fact that the lawsuit between Major League Baseball and the Biogenesis defendants enabled them to get all kinds of telecom data that people would not, in the ordinary course, be able to get:

Facebook friends. Transcripts of BlackBerry instant messages. Records of texts. Major League Baseball investigators used an arsenal of high-tech tools to collect the evidence that persuaded a dozen players to accept 50-game suspensions this week for their ties to the Biogenesis clinic … Records from Florida’s Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County that were examined by The Associated Press showed subpoenas were issued to Federal Express, AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA, UPS and MetroPCS. At least some of those companies complied and turned over data to the probe, one of the people said.

That’s well and good until you remember that from the moment Bosch agreed to side with Major League Baseball the lawsuit was essentially playacting. A gamed suit with both adversaries on the same side, working toward the same end, not in an actual adversarial posture to one another. They were nonetheless allowed to use the court system as a means to get at private citizens’ telecom records.

This isn’t necessarily on MLB — they had a plan and carried it out with all of the tools at their disposal — but it’s a disgrace for the court system and the telecom companies who complied with these subpoenas without a fight. The courts should be far more wary of these kinds of scams. Telecom companies should be far more protective of their customers’ records. Once they are subpoenaed they have a right to march into that court and say why they shouldn’t comply. It seems like they had ample reason to do so here but it appears as though they did not.

You may like the ends of the Biogenesis investigation, but there’s no escaping that the means were pretty damn slimy.

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