Twitter Opposes Court Order To Give Up User Information

Twitter has appealed a court order that wants the micro-blogging company to submit information on its communications.

The popular social network is calling for a court order passed in New York back in June that requires “detailed information” on the Twitter account and tweets of Malcolm Harris, who was tagged as an Occupy Wall Street dissident by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Twitter’s legal brief aims to defend its user (PDF) under the First and Fourth Amendments, with legal counsel Ben Lee saying the micro-blogging company will protect all its members.

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The ACLU will back Twitter and @destructuremal, Harris’ user account, calling the latter’s defense for Harris “bold”; however, the organization adds that the company did not need to go this far.

“We have the right to speak freely on the Internet, safe in the knowledge that the government cannot obtain information about our communications or our private information unless law enforcement first satisfies First Amendment scrutiny and obtains a warrant showing probable cause,” wrote Aden Fine, Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU in a blog post.

“The DA didn’t do that here. Instead, it has tried to avoid these constitutional hurdles by issuing a mere subpoena for Harris’s Twitter information. The courts shouldn’t permit this.”

US authorities needs information on Harris’ Twitter account, which includes direct messages, tweets, conversations, IP addresses used, dates of posts, time and duration of sessions.

This is not the first time Twitter showed opposition, with the first defense in violation of constitutional rights, according to the ACLU.

“According to the court, we give up our constitutional rights whenever we provide information to a third-party Internet service like Twitter,” added Fine.

“That holding is contrary to decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts around the country.”


Source: ACLU (PDF) | ACLU

Image: Andreas Eldh via Flickr (CC)

Author: Francis Rey Balolong

A coffee junkie who spends most of his time writing about the latest news on social media and mobile technology. I would definitely consider myself a nerd (in the coolest most hipster way possible). That being said, I love technology, music, writing, and all things mobile.

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