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Twitter stands behind its users

by on28 August 2012 1815 times

After a New York court decided to request account information and tweets from Occupy Wall Street protester, Malcom Harris, Twitter responded with filling an appeal. Unlike Facebook, who has been accused of giving up their users’ data to legal institutions like it was something meaningless, Twitter has decided to stand their ground and defend their users’ privacy. Harris is being prosecuted for allegations of disorderly conduct during protests on Wall Street and information on his two accounts @destructuremal and @getsworse is being asked for by the court.  For @getsworse they requested all public tweets and “[t]he following subscriber information: name; address; records of session times and durations; length of service (including creation date); types of service utilized; telephone or instrument number or any other subscriber number or identity, including any temporarily assigned network address.”

Similar information was asked for from his second account, but it looks like they will not get them without a fight. In their appeal Twitter says that tweets belong to the users and that they are protected under the Fourth Amendment so they cannot give them up. Twitter also stated that subpoenas were not “sufficiently circumscribed” under New York law. Twitter attorney Benjamin Lee tweeted “Twitter users own their Tweets. They have a right to fight invalid government requests, and we continue to stand with them in that fight.“

It is nice to see that at least some of the social networking services care about their users and not just making profit. If you sign up on Twitter or any type of social networking service, your data should be private. If you decide to hide behind nickname it is your decision. This is unfortunately just one in a long list of cases where the government appears to be willing to do anything to put those who are against them in prison. However, Twitter does not stand alone in this fight the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is just one of many groups that support their cause and all users around the world. Hopefully this will turn out in Twitter/Harris favor because people must have the right to speak/tweet whatever they want.

[Ed – This issue has been one of great concern for many advocates of free speech. They feel that the measures the government is willing to take to get at individuals that show opposition to their aims and goals is a very slippery slope to censoring all dissent. Opponents of this feel that allowing for continued anonymity creates a very subversive environment and offers potentially violent people something to hide behind. There is a balance to be found here, but sadly both sides seem to want all or nothing. Still we do applaud Twitter in their stance on this as they are showing that they will protect their users inside the frameworks of the laws.]

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Last modified on 28 August 2012
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