Court Opens WikiLeaks Supporters' Twitter Accounts

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Published 15 Mar 2011
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BY CHRISTINE SLUSSER
 
You're watching multisource tech news analysis from Newsy
 
The U.S. Department of J...
BY CHRISTINE SLUSSER
 
You're watching multisource tech news analysis from Newsy
 
The U.S. Department of Justice has a new, 21st century-style command: Put your hands up, and hand over your Twitter account!

First, the U.S. Department of Justice subpoenaed Twitter and asked for the information of three WikiLeaks supporters. Then, Twitter refused. The site gave the three in pursuit a heads-up a court-order had been issued. (Vid Source: YouTube)

Now, a judge has ruled--the government wins. ...and while Fox News reports the Twitter users’ lawyers say they plan to appeal the decision, it looks like a long, uphill battle.

“The Twitter users claim releasing their information, name and all the rest would violate their free speech rights. But the judge says the constitution does not protect them from cooperating with a legitimate government investigation.”

A Wired blogger further explains, and says the feds don’t actually want to hack INto the accounts...

“The government is looking for data about the Twitter users’ accounts and how they are used, not the content of tweets or direct messages. It’s the Twitter equivalent of a list of incoming and outgoing phone numbers.”

The Sydney Morning Herald quoted the person who made the ruling, Judge Theresa Buchanan, who says the online site isn’t a private institution where rights are protected.

“’Petitioners in this case voluntarily conveyed their IP addresses to the Twitter website, thus exposing the information to a third party administrator, and thereby relinquishing any reasonable expectation of privacy...’”

One Twitter account the U.S. gov. wanted to get its hands on is that of an Icelandic Parliament member who helped with Wikileaks release of U.S. military video. She took to the website in question itself to protest.

“Time to apply pressure on social media to move their servers out of the USA if this ruling holds, your info is not save (sic).”

But what do you think? Violation of privacy -- or legitimate criminal investigation? For more on this story and others, download the latest Newsy iPad app to stream our videos through your Apple TV – it’s available free from the iTunes Store. SOC
 
 
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