Ashley Madison’s scandal-hit website has been embroiled in a legal battle over whether it can keep its customers’ personal data.
Ashley Madison was hit with a lawsuit from the National Security Agency (NSA) earlier this year alleging that the dating site stole information about users from their names and email addresses.
A federal judge ruled last month that Ashley Madison could keep customer data on its servers.
Now the company has filed for bankruptcy protection and has asked a judge to order the court to force the NSA to delete data it holds on its customers.
The FBI has said it will review the request and decide whether to file criminal charges against the company.
The court order filed Wednesday by Ashley Madison said that the company could still have access to customer data for three years, provided that it could prove that it was doing so for legitimate business purposes.
The company also argued that the NSA’s request violated its “free speech” by forcing it to keep users’ information private.
A judge has not yet issued a ruling.
In its filing, the company said it had no evidence that its customers had breached their privacy, but the court has asked the FBI to review whether to prosecute.
A hearing is set for Friday at 1 p.m.
ET in Manhattan federal court.
The judge said in the filing that she had not yet made a final decision on whether to issue a preliminary injunction, or temporary restraining order, to prevent the FBI from removing data.
A similar case was recently decided by a lower court in California, where the NSA filed an appeal of the judge’s ruling.
The NSA said in a statement that it disagrees with the court’s order.
“It’s unfortunate that a judge in another jurisdiction is considering a different interpretation of the law than the court in New York,” the agency said in an emailed statement.
“The American people are entitled to know what the NSA is doing and how it’s doing it.
That is why the government has repeatedly asked the court for an emergency stay to prevent our customers from seeing the data it has on them.”
The judge’s order also said that Ashley’s request should be dismissed.
The government’s request for an injunction to prevent access to user data was filed on June 6, according to court documents.
The order said that any information that the government could use to prosecute against Ashley Madison is already stored in its databases and that the court must order the company to provide the information to the FBI “immediately” or “as soon as practicable.”
The court also said the FBI must “immediate” turn over any data it collected on Ashley Madison customers.
In a statement, the government said the request “does not resolve any underlying legal issues.
The issue of whether the government should retain any information from a user is beyond the scope of this application.
We continue to evaluate the scope and legal basis for this application.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.