Thursday, 10 May 2012 15:55

Twitter Says Users Own Thier Tweets, Files a Motion to Fight Request for Occupy Tweets

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twitter_bird_logoWe missed this one on the 8th, but it is an important step for privacy right and the ability of the government to ask for everything they want. We had told you not that long ago how prosecutors were demanding information from Blogs, Twitter and other Social Media about people involved in the Occupy movement. This demand raised quite a storm as most felt it was an outlandish request (well actually prosecuting people for protesting is ridiculous as well) considering what they were after.

In some of the subpoenas issued the Manhattan Prosecutors want to be given all tweets, present and deleted, any IPs that the users logged in from, and all other account information. The defendant Malcolm Harris filed a motion to have this quashed but lost his bid when the judge in the case ruled that Twitter actually owned all the Tweets so they were not protected.

However, Twitter stepped in and has filed their own motion on the Harris’ behalf. They state quite clearly that Twitter does not own any content posted on their service. This means that ALL tweets remain the property of the person that posted them. They have the final say over their disposition.

According to a tweet from Benjamin Lee, Twitter’s Legal Counsel: "Yesterday we filed a motion in NYC to defend a user's voice," This is an interesting change for Twitter who had come under fire for some of their actions outside the US where they pledged to work with governments to remove or block tweets that were offensive, but failed to define what that meant.

This one will have interesting consequences moving forward. If Twitter stands behind their assertion that the users own their information then it cannot maintain the data after it is deleted and should not be able to be forced to hand over any data (that do not own). However, the law has a funny way around things like that. I can remember being involved (as a technical consultant and data recovery technician) on a raid of a third party distribution center. During the raid the entire company (which dealt with more than what we were looking for) was shut down and ALL storage areas were searched under the warrant issued by the court. It just goes to show that in the push for “justice” there are times when the law forgets about who their decisions may impact and what the collateral effects might be.

We will be following this one fairly closely to see how it all plays out and if Twitter’s stance holds up


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Read 2155 times Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:05

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